Rank the Lions' losing coaches in recent history

We’ve had so many bad coaches in recent history that I’m curious where people rank them. Record obviously plays a role, but there are also other aspects to this ranking, so take everything you saw into account.

For this thread, I’m only going back to 2001. No part-timers (Jauron, Bevell) are included.

Here’s the list I’m interested in:

Matt Patricia (13-28-1)
Rod Marinelli (10-38)
Marty Morninwheg (5-27)
Steve Mariucci (15-28)
Jim Schwartz (29-51)

My rankings (from “best” to worst):

  1. Jim Schwartz–Turning this team around after Marinelli’s disastrous winless season doesn’t get enough credit. The players were motivated, and we actually had a decent defense under him.

  2. Steve Mariucci–There was a professionalism about Mariucci that I always liked, and the team was at least somewhat competitive.

  3. Matt Patricia–He was stubborn and had terrible ideas for what schemes would work in today’s NFL. But he still wasn’t as bad as…

  4. Marty Morninwheg–Awful record, awful decisions. Had a bad roster that didn’t help, but you’ve got to pull off more than 5 wins in 2 years.

  5. Rod Marinelli–First 16-game losing season in NFL history, and there were times where the guy was clearly in over his head on the sidelines. Great coordinator but had zero business being a head coach.


Schwartz, Mooch, Marinelli, Patricia, Morninwheg

Marinelli made mistakes, but he really was given an awful roster in 2008. Yes, some of those roster decisions can be hung on him, but still, those were terrible teams.

Patricia helped to fashion the roster they currently have. He was part of cutting, trading, signing and drafting what they ended up with. This was a fully Patriot-type roster in 2020, formed specifically for him. What they’ve gotten out of it is awful.

Marty stands on his own as an embarrassment greater even than Marinelli’s 0-16.

What the hell happened to Caldwell?

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I’ll always give props to Schwartz for taking an 0-16 team to the playoffs.

That New Orleans game was much closer than the final score. Who knows what could of been if not for yet another hose job from the refs in calling us offside on the blocked FGA.

Marinelli, I’ll always have a ton of respect for. He never threw anyone under the bus. A “man’s man” all the way. Plus he wrestled a bear once :joy:.

Mariucci was an incredible disappointment.

Mr Motorcycle aka Mariucci-Lite was literally lost in the wind. How he was not canned inside Soldier Field is beyond me.

Patricia, well he’s Patricia. Glad he’s gone.

Schwartz is definitely first; Patricia is definitely last.

He had a winning record.


If one sees Stafford as a top QB
And QB as most important position

And Patricia taking over with him
In prime

Seems like Patricia did less with more

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Agree with the OP’s ranking.

Schwartz - 1 Caldwell - 2

The rest of those listed above were all disasters.

Patricia last? Even worse than 0-16 Marinelli? Is it possible to be worse than 0-16, haha.

I think Mooch was the worst. He was a previous coach the rest were first timers.
All these guys had terrible GMs but I think Schwartz was given the most talent or gotten the most out of his players but not enough time. I don’t think I can separate most of these coaches.
Mooch had some decent guys but couldn’t make them work.

Worst to Best

  1. Mooch
  2. Marinelli/Mornhinweg/Patricia/Bevell
  3. Schwartz


I guess reading the thread title a little closer would have helped there. Thanks!

There is some recency bias of course. But I think the general idea for some is that Patricia did less with more than anyone else on the list. The 0-16 mark is what it is, but that was also a team void of talent and void of a franchise QB. Patricia had an NFL caliber roster and a franchise QB and still struggled to win games. And it would be reasonable to say that if he had to go 16 games without Stafford (like Rod, Mooch and Marty had to do) he could quite possible pull off 0-16 with a better roster than Rod’s 0-16 bunch. Patricia never won a game without Stafford, even while facing some of the worst teams in the entire league.


Yeah, I think the Patricia thing has a ton to do with having a franchise QB. All of the others on that list had nowhere close to that at that position.

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The fact that he took over a playoff team, that had SOME talent, and drove them into the ground makes him the worst… I don’t even think he’s a good coordinator, which Marinelli is/was.

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Caldwell is clearly the best.

After that Schwartz is the next best.
Then Mooch.
After that it is almost a tie. As in which shit sandwich tastes best.

In 2000 the Lions went 9-7 before Millen was brought in. Bobby Ross quit and Gary Moeller took over and went 4-3. Charlie Batch was the QB. The defense of that 2000 team was 11th in points allowed.
That is really good. Millen comes in and ties himself to the 49ers way. The 2001 team? Marty goes 2-14. The defense ranks 31st in points allowed. Marty lost 12 games in a row.

In week 2 of 2001 Lion’s QB Ty Detmer throws 7 INTs and he start over Charlie Batch. Against the Tim Couch Browns. Yea, great times. By 2002 we have Joey Harrington. And Marty starts Mike McMahon over Joey to start the season. Awful. The defense is again 31st in points allowed. Broken.

We all know Rod M’s story.

Patricia and Bob Quinn should feel awful for what they did here. They took a talented roster and ran it into the ground. But Patricia has pieces the other teams WISH they had starting with Stafford. Golladay. Hell…Patricia was very, very slow in turning to Swift and the team also seemed determined to NOT give the football to Kerryon Johnson who is also a great receiver.

To me Patricia is last as he did less with more.

Patricia and Marty were handed teams with winning records before they came on board so they are 4 and 5. Rod was given crap and he made it worse do he is third.

So Caldwell, Schwartz, Mooch, Rod (as his team was terrible), Marty and then Patricia as Matt Patricia had the best team but got the worst results. Damn that stinks.

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Patricia was beyond terrible, agreed.

Rod Marinelli however was never a good d cord, he was a d-line coach from Tampa famous for coaching Warren Sapp and Rice. Before taking over the Lions, he never once co-ordinated a defense before we hired him, it worked out great, haha.

I’d put Marinelli above Patricia. At least he didn’t take over a playoff team and dismantle it because his ego couldn’t handle players as leaders


Patricia is the worst.

Maybe this is recency bias, but I think it’s “he’s a giant prolapsed anus on top of being bad” bias.

One thing is for sure, we sure know great coaches when we see them. This is a depressing thread to read, lol. Not easy being a lions fan.