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0-16
Date 1/28/2009    Tags Sports    (0)

It's been a strange season to be a Detroit Lions fan. The hopes for the season were high (especially coming off of a 4-0 preseason) but were quickly demolished in the first game as Detroit defenders were either woefully out of place or painfully bad at tackling. It was clear after half a game that this was a very bad team en-route to a very bad record, though 0-16 was still unthinkable.

After game three (yet another crushing defeat where the Lions were never in the game), the dream of many a Lions fan was finally realized, Matt Millen was fired! While this was great news, eight years of damage had already been done. And with nothing left to root for, the rest of the season was pretty much a wash. I absolutely love the NFL and this was far and away the least interested I've been in my life. It's hard to be interested when you're five games in and your team is for sure going to get a top three draft choice.

The Lions had a lot of bad luck on their way to 0-16... In reality, we should have beaten the division winning Minnesota Vikings (which says a lot for the state of the entire NFC North that the division winning team is the one team the Lions legitimately should have beaten, maybe twice). A no-call on a helmet to helmet hit lead not only to a fumble (in field goal range) but also to losing our best receiver for much of the second half of the game. A phantom pass-interference call took the Vikings out of a 3-20 situation and allowed them to run out the clock before kicking the winning field goal. All season long the Lions were victims of bad calls or no calls, mostly in the case of Calvin Johnson who routinely had cornerbacks all over him.

I feel bad for now former coach Rod Marrinelli. Rod was saddled with an impossible situation, win with vastly inferior talent (both on the field and on the sidelines). Many of these players would not start on any other NFL roster. Yet throughout his three seasons in Detroit, Rod never blamed the talent or Matt Millen for assembling the talent and he never complained of unfairness. The players respected him and worked hard for him, every single losing game. Rod was not a great coach and you could debate if he was even a good coach, but you cannot dispute that he was a class act through and through. I wish him success at his new home in Chicago, but not too much success (he is in our division after all).

As bad as Millen was, William Clay Ford Senior needs to take the majority of the blame for the mess in Detroit. Ford is a hands-off owner... he puts people in place and lets them do there thing for years to come. It's a stark contrast to many other owners who are quick to fire when success is not quick to follow or who are often meddling in the day to day football affairs of the team. While this could be an asset, it is clearly a bad thing when Ford is so inept that not only does he not fire the worst GM in the history of the league but that he extends his contract by five more years! There is a reason that the Lions have won only one playoff game in 50 plus years, it's good old WCF.

While some Lions fans openly rooted for an 0-16 campaign, I was not among them. To really change an organization, something really bad has to happen that kicks things off. 0-16 should not have been necessary to do that and in my mind was no more demeaning than simply flirting with the record of 0-16. Whatever changes that were going to be made were going to be made if we finished 0-16 or 3-13. /tds/g


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