Week 2 of the new season..wow how I missed football. No offense to the other sports but they dont call me NFL Girl for nothing. I have become quite the fanatic over the years..but enough about me let’s get on with the business…
The Detroit Lions…sigh. Wow..what can you say about them? Umm…well let’s start with how they ended up in this tragic mess. In 2000 William Clay Ford Sr., the owner of the Lions, decided to hire Matt Millen as his CEO and general manager. Now what Bill Ford saw in Matt Millen no one to this day is quite sure. He had ZERO front office experience or player development knowledge. While he was a decent player and a pretty good commentator, the thought of him being able to make executive and even staffing decisions for a NFL franchise seemed unfathomable.
Fast forward to the next several drafts. Millen made extremely poor draft choices including drafting 4 receivers in 4 straight years which completely baffled most forecasters. The need for players on the defense (which was being scored on at will) or a good quality QB (which they had lacked for years) seemed more pressing. His choices were not only confusing but many were extremely overrated and under talented. The Lions began a downward spiral that only seemed to get progressively worse each season. Lions fans became increasingly angry and frustrated with Millen, begging for his removal. However, despite their pathetic record (31-97 by the end of his 8 years there), ownership stuck by him and even signed him to a contract extension in 2005. Now even I cant explain this..I mean seriously..when do you realize someone is dragging your team to the abyss? During his time there the Lions had a losing season every single year. Despite repeated head coaching changes and player changes, the team continued to lose. Finally at the beginning of the 2008/2009 season ownership had enough and fired Millen. Unfortunately because of the previous bad draft picks, poor trades and free agent losses, the team was a wreck. Millen had left a mess behind and the Lions would suffer greatly because of it.
2008 season…a train wreck for the Lions. The Lions became the only team in the modern era (70s and beyond) other than the 76 Bucaneers to lose every game in a single season and the only one since the NFL switched to a 16 game season. So far they have started this season 0-2 with a pretty tough schedule (they must face the AFC North & NFC West this season as well as their tough divison rivals the Packers, Bears & Vikings) ahead of them. Their 0-19 record going back to the 2007 season is tied for the 2nd worst all time behind the 76 Bucaneers (who went 0-26 in their first 2 seasons in the league).
Now on a bright note (if we can find one in the darkness that is the Lions), Lions have made some personnel shift that may help them to improve dramatically. First they hired Jim Schwartz (Titans former defensive coordinator) and brought him on as head coach. They hired Scott Linehan as their offensive coordinator and Gunther Cunningham as their defensive coordinator. While many of the Lions former draft picks have jumped ship or left the NFL, one good receiver, Calvin Johnson, remains. He is a tall, strong, fast receiver with amazing leaping and catching ability. With the addition of Matthew Stafford at quarterback, the hopes of the Lions rebuilding and becoming a competitive team again seems a little more likely. Despite not winning their 2nd game, they played competively and even jumped out to an early lead over the Vikings. Stafford and Johnson hooked up on several occasions making it clear that they will be a good combination. Will the Lions be able to build on these bright spots? Can they shift from a decade of losing to becoming a competive team again? This is the part that remains to be seen. At this point I think Lions fans would be happy just to get a win or 2. Can they do it and keep from tying or breaking the Bucaneers record of losses? We can always hold out hope.