Over the holiday break I have been too busy with overflow work, parenting, and general life stuff to get to do anything remotely associated with PC work, until now. The Detroit Lions have made NFL history, achieving the imperfect season and boldly going where Miami flirted with last year when they went 1-15 (and now are in the playoffs thanks to Bill Parcels help in the front office). William Clay Ford can now rightfully go into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame. He owns and oversees the worst professional, heck any ever sports franchise in the world of sports. His devotion to Matt Millen lead to the 8 years of miss management that has now resulted in the inability of a professional team to come close to winning, even once.
Let us discuss this for a moment because the ramifications go far deeper then you may think. Detroit is a heavy blue collar town. The hard working people of the city need distractions and entertainment to bring some joy and satisfaction to their lives outside of work. Something to bond with others, talk about with neighbors, and something to get passionate about that does not directly affect them. It is not like Detroit is a town incapable of hosting a winning professional sports team. The NHL Detroit Red Wings are the most winning hockey team ever. The NBA Pistons have won a few championships, recently, and have been playoff contenders for the past 10 years and longer. Even the Tigers have launched themselves into a World Series caliber team and have the potential of returning next year. The reason I bring this up is because the Lions used to be a solid championship caliber team. Granted that was in the 1950’s, but the Lions have won championships, records, and used to be feared and respected in the NFC North and NFC in general. Since Ford got sole ownership of the team, it has resulted in the worst win-loss record and now resulted in the worst record in pro sports history.
The season began promising with a 4-0 record in pre-season. Of course pre-season means nothing and most teams use it to evaluate rookies, chemistry in line-ups, and veteran performance with new coaches or systems developed in the off season. Yet the Lions went undefeated in the pre-season, getting all our hopes up we had a good squad, coaching staff, and mix together that could result in at least a winning season. That all evaporated a little more each Sunday afternoon week after week after week. Millen had wasted and squandered so many years of draft picks that the team pieced together was unable to have veteran leadership of a franchise player who could capture and inspire the spirit of the team. The coaching staff was too disconnected and detached to serve the franchise or the city well. From front office blunders to the people telling the players what to do the whole lot is deserving of the 0-16 stigma.
I feel for the players. All they do is execute the plans of the coaching staff. Now their picture will go up on the Hall of Fame next to the 76 expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers who went 0-14, back before free agency and the parity the NFL now prides itself on. Remember folks, any given Sunday was a bad Disney movie about football, not what the NFL is actually trying to do with the salary caps, free agents, and trade policies enacted over the past 20 years. For all of us Lions fans its been a really long bad season. We have the #1 draft pick and with Millen gone we won’t be getting another QB or WR, I hope. Ford is leaving much of the front office intact, with the stigma of the 0-16 season tainting everyone’s resume I am sure people will be motivated to put together a team that can at least win 1 game next year. Drastic changes are needed, I hope they can happen so the Lions can get back to the place they were 50 years ago, the place where they were when the curse of Bobby Lane began.
Sports are important to many peoples lives as an escape and way to build friendships and feel belonging. Many Detroit people have been proud of their Red Wings, Pistons, and even Tigers, why oh why can’t we say the same for the Lions? Please Mr. Ford, you got rid of Millen, now can we get a defense put together that can allow us to build up a decent offensive, Kevin Johnson is already proven and locked in for a couple of years, don’t let him go to waste like Barry Sanders did.