Senior Bowl Director Compares Lions Situation With 49ers

Matt Patricia

Getty Matt Patricia shakes hands with Kyle Shanahan.

The Detroit Lions struggled on the field in 2019 to the tune of a 3-12-1 record, and as a result, they were able to crack the Senior Bowl as a coaching staff to get a head start on analyzing players.

That status could help them have a much better team in 2020 moving forward as some recent history shows. In fact, as Senior Bowl director Jim Nagy explained, there are plenty of parallels between the Lions and the San Francisco 49ers, who coached in the game last year.

Like the Lions, the 49ers had a miserable 2018 season in which they went 4-12 and had plenty of injuries complicating matters for their team. That’s similar to the Lions in 2019. Also similar was how they used the Senior Bowl as a scouting springboard for the team.

The Lions and their fans have to hope that Detroit can pull off such a turnaround for 2020 and go from worst to first, but many believe already that this could be in the works moving forward.

Advantages of Lions Coaching Senior Bowl

As the team fell apart late in the year, perhaps stunningly, the Lions’ staff led by Matt Patricia worked themselves into a potential role for the 2020 Senior Bowl. As the Lions keep climbing the ladder of some of the worst teams in the NFL, their chances of coaching the game managed to keep increasing.

At the time, Nagy pointed out that the Lions could be closing in on the potential to coach the Senior Bowl with some of the teams in front of them coming on and starting to win games.

In order to work themselves into the mix, the Lions managed to keep losing while others around them crumble, and it was mission accomplished by the time the season ended.

As has been explained before, if the Lions did manage to crack the game as coaches, it could provide them with a huge advantage in terms of scouting players and coming up with a game plan for an important 2020 draft.

It’s a draft that the Lions have plenty of high picks in, which means the team could only stand to benefit from this.

Parallels Between 49ers and Lions

Though many Detroit fans likely won’t let bygones be bygones with several of the players, executives and coaches they used to have, it’s probably a good time to do just that in time for the Super Bowl. San Francisco offers Detroit hope that one day, the Lions could be in their shoes. Just a year ago, the 49ers were coming off a dreadful 4-12 season, picking high in the draft and looking like they were in trouble from the front office down. Now, they are being celebrated as one of the better up and coming franchises in football. It merely goes to show how quickly things can and do change in football with health, good drafting and savvy executive work.

The Lions have a long way to go before qualifying as such a team, but if San Francisco can put the pieces together and go worst to first, there’s no reason teams in a similar boat can’t put it together to do it too.

That’s something that even the Senior Bowl director sees.

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