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For the Good of the Team, the Detroit Lions Need to Go Down in Flames
Date 9/21/2008    Tags Rant, Sports    (0)

I've been a livelong Detroit Lions fan and I can honestly say I've never been more disenchanted, disappointed, and downright embarrassed of the team we put on the field than I am right now. The season begun with high hopes after a 4-0 preseason but by the end of the first quarter of the first game of the regular season, it became obvious that you can't read much into preseason.

Going into the season, we all knew the defense wasn't going to be shutting out anyone. They ranked 32nd in the league in 2007 (that's dead last) but there was hope that more experience in the Tampa Two, a couple free-agent additions, and the unsaddling of some malcontent players would make us at least respectable. Any notion of respectability went out the window when the lowly Atlanta Falcons (one of our easiest games on the schedule) put the Lions in a 21 point hole at the hands of shoddy tackling, poor pass protection, and a complete lack of any rush on the quarterback. Game two against the Packers, a quality team, started out just as badly. Game three at least saw the Lions only go down 21-3.

Conversely to our defense, Detroit's offense was supposed to be one of the highest scoring in football. Last year we ranked 19th in offense (though 9th in passing) and indications were that a health Calvin Johnson along with a renewed commitment to the run and a simplification of an unnecessarily complex offense would lead us to bigger and better things. Unfortunately the offense has started off just as poorly as the defense. While the final offensive numbers may hide just how bad things are (we did almost pull out a win in Green Bay before a complete meltdown), you're not going to win many games when you continually have to dig out of 18 point holes. Nor are you when passes are off target or dropped, something that has plagued this team for the entire Millen era.

Ah yes, Matt Millen. So many pieces have changed with this team since Millen took over in 2001. Three head coaches, numerous offensive and defensive coordinators, and multiple first round draft picks that aren't even in the league today. The one constant through all the failure is Matt Millen. In 2001, Millen blew up a team that went 9-7 and was one gut wrenching field goal away from the playoffs. Since then, he's amassed a record of 31-84 (.270 win percentage). ESPN's Stephen A. Smith wrote of Millen:
"This team is atrocious and Matt Millen is a walking football atrocity. He is the worst executive, in my opinion, in the history of team sports.

He is flat out garbage. The fact that he is allowed to have a job, the fact that he is allowed to walk through the streets of Detroit to enter Ford Field is an abomination in and of itself.

There should be barricades keeping this man out of the city limits. He should not be allowed to be employed by the Detroit Lions. He is a disgrace of the highest order."
Normally I don't agree with anything Stephen A. Smith writes, but it's hard to argue with any of that. Can any of you name a GM that is worse than Matt Millen? I can't think of one that was even close. The Wall Street Journal even reported that NFL executives admit in private that Millen "has made more bad draft decisions than anyone else in two centuries." When so many of the teams in the NFL that are experiencing success building through the draft, you're pretty much screwed when the man picking your players is that bad.

How in the world Millen has kept his job this long is mindboggling. After amassing the worst record of any GM during his tenure, Millen received a contract extension for five more years in 2005 and is made the second highest paid GM in the league. To think of that another way, imagine you are a chef and twenty people died of food poisoning eating your food over four year period. Not only does the restaurant not fire you on the spot, they promote you to


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