Bob Quinn isn't making a pick for the winner of Super Bowl LI between the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots – his team he worked for for 16 seasons before being hired as general manger of the Detroit Lions a year ago -- but he wants the Lions to play for a championship as soon as possible.
"I'm going to take a pass on picking the game," Quinn said Wednesday on the Frank Beckmann show on WJR-760, citing close friends in the front offices of both teams. "I don't want to make anybody mad. I'm rooting for a really close game.
"The second part of the question, hopefully sooner rather than later. We're working hard day and night here in Allen Park, trying to get ready for next season – the draft and free agency.
View photos of Detroit Lions defense and special teams touchdowns during the 2016 season.
"I never put timelines on anything. We're working hard. I know our players are excited to get back here in a couple months to get into training for next year."
The Lions were 9-7 and made the NFC playoff field as a wild card in Quinn's first season as GM. However, they lost the last three games of the regular season and were eliminated in the wild card round with a 26-6 loss at Seattle.
There were no specific questions or comments about any Lions players in the interview on WJR, but Quinn did talk about scouting in reference to a question about the "Patriot way" of building a roster.
Football character is a key trait in the evaluation process, Quinn said.
"It's a huge component," Quinn said. "I ask our scouts here in Detroit all the time, 'Does this guy love football?' If they hesitate a little bit, they say, 'Well, yeah, he likes it ... ' I make a note that we need to do a little more work on that player.
"At the end of the day, the NFL is a hard game. It's a hard business. It's a long season. If you have guys in your locker room who don't love the game, they don't love the grind of it, they don't love getting in here early watching extra film, doing extra stuff in the weight room – over the course of the season it gets long for them.
"When the games matter most in late November, December, January, February, those guys aren't going to perform up to what their athletic ability is. I think that's something I put a lot of emphasis on here."
Quinn stressed the value of a commitment from ownership that the Patriots and Falcons have in Robert Kraft and Arthur Blank respectively, saying he also has it in Detroit with Martha Firestone Ford.
"It starts off with the leadership of the teams," Quinn said. "We're obviously lucky here in Detroit to have Mrs. Ford in that category as well."