Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn and team president Rod Wood crisscrossed the country following the end of Detroit's season with a list of thorough questions to ask each candidate in their search for a new head coach.
The pair met with six candidates total – two of whom ended up earning head-coaching gigs with other clubs – but it was the final interview with then Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, and the follow-up interview a couple weeks later, that wowed both Quinn and Wood.
"He was the last person we interviewed, so you also had the basis of some comparison," Wood said. "It was very clear to me Matt was not only prepared because of his coaching background, but he was really prepared to lead a team.
"He had a thought process about building culture and organization and then the comradery between he and Bob was obviously there too. It felt like when we sat down we'd been talking and been friends and comrades for a long time, even though I'd never met him before."
Quinn and Patricia spent 12 years together in New England -- Quinn working his way up the personnel department ranks and Patricia through the coaching staff.
"The 12 years that we worked together, those are a lot of long hours," Quinn said Wednesday at Patricia's introductory press conference as Detroit's new head coach.
"Those are long drives to look at players. Long conversations in your office late at night about players. How would you do this? How do you think this guy played? Can this guy fit in this scheme?
"There were hours upon hours that were built up over those 12 years that really made the interview process the two times that we met it was really seamless."
Quinn even made the comment that throughout the interview process with Patricia, he sometimes felt like the two were back in Patricia's office in New England.
After asking every candidate the list of questions Quinn worked up for the interview process, it was clear when meeting with Patricia that his answers most aligned with what Quinn believes in, and what he believes will take the Lions to the next level.
Quinn said after the season that the general manager-head coach relationship is the most important one in the building when it comes to football operations.
"Bob's right," Wood said. "It's the most important relationship. They are together all the time during the offseason and during the season. There's a trust factor that you can't really repeat right out of the gate with a brand-new person."
In Patricia, Quinn's found a coach that can be tied to the hip with him in terms of how they see the game and player acquisition.
"We're going to get together, we're going to draft the players that we both want," Quinn said. "We're going to sign the players that we both want. We're going to develop the players we both want.
"And you know, those decisions are never going to be one-sided. We're going to make the best decisions for the Detroit Lions and that's going to be both of us together."
As for Patricia, he clearly outlined both his coaching strengths and the team he wants to build in Detroit. A lot of those details have been expressed by Quinn over the last two years since he's taken over as general manager.
"I believe that I am a leader," Patricia said. "I believe I'm a problem solver. I want to represent the toughness of this city. We'll be organized. We'll be detailed. We will teach and develop our players and our coaches.
"We will be passionate. We will love and respect the game and we'll be committed to winning. We'll be competitive in all that we do. We will have a smart, tough, fundamentally sound football team that will play, perform and execute under pressure. We will be a hard-working and competitive in all aspects of our planning and preparation and our performance."