On The Clock: How The Detroit Lions Have Made Losing An Art Form…


You Would Think That We Would Be Used To This…

“You must never be satisfied with losing. You must get angry, terribly angry, about losing.”

—Richard Nixon

DETROIT — The Detroit Lions are the one team in Detroit and the state of Michigan that can galvanize the entire state. For the last 10 years, that has been akin to organizing a lynch mob. The Lions have not always been this horrible. I mean, they have been bad, but this decade (save for 2000) has been legendarily bad. It looks even worse coming out of arguably their most successful decade since the NFL-AFL merger, the 1990s, which saw the Lions post five winning seasons (1991,’93-’95, ’97) and make the playoffs six times (’91,’93-’95, ’97, ’99). That 1991 team went 12-4 behind the likes of Rodney Peete, Erik Kramer, Chris Spielman, Ray Crockett, rookie reciever Herman Moore, and some 3rd-year running back named Barry Sanders. They fell one win short of the Super Bowl, losing to the Washington Redskins in the NFC Title Game. Their worst seasons were three 5-11 years (’92, ’96, ’98) that were quickly turned around the next year. While the ’90s Lions won no championships (and just one playoff game), they were actually pretty fun to watch. Horribly Frustrating, but fun nonetheless. Now however…not so much.

The Detroit Lions have not won an NFL game that counted since December 23, 2007, stretching out over 19 regular season games. On that cold December day, they defeated the Kansas City Chiefs, and ended what had been a brutal six game losing streak that took the Lions from a 6-2 NFL comeback story, to a 7-8 washout who narrowly missed the playoffs. The Lions would lose their final game of the season the following week in Green Bay and finish the 2007 season 7-9, their best season since 2000 (9-7). After the 2007 season, things looked like they were FINALLY heading in the right direction for the Lions. Then 2008 happened!

As you all know, the Lions crashed face first into the toxic wasteland of 0-16, making them the first team to go winless since the NFL went to a 16-game schedule in 1979. Tack on the six straight losses that preceded the win over KC, and the Lions have lost 25 of their last 26 games! That’s Criminal! They did so with the most impotent offense in recent memory, the worst defense known to mankind, and the most inept head coach in the history of sports. Now you would’ve figured that when you look at the scorched Earth left behind after the first winless NFL season since 1976, and the subsequent ridicule and conjecture that would come with it, you would think that everything that was done wrong would’ve been righted. Well, you must not know the Detroit Lions.

As I said in a blog back in January about the team’s owner William Clay Ford Jr. in explicably giving Matt Millen a Contract Extension after his third season of 13 or more losses:

No other owner who cared about winning would’ve kept Matt Millen in charge past 2004…Think about that for a second! You are the worst person at your job. You’re always forgetting to add pickle. You’re always putting the Big Macs on buns with no seeds! You consistently keep coming up grossly short on money. And your boss sees this, ignores all calls to fire your slacker ass, and seemingly, out of spite, promotes you instead! That’s the type of logic we have to deal with from the Detroit Lions.”

The Detroit Lions have operated under the notion that in spite of their numerous gross failures over the last decade, that they are the smartest person in the room. When common sense and general consensus says fire someone or say…DRAFT AN OFFENSIVE LINEMAN OR DEFENSIVE PLAYER (D-Line or Safety)….they use that special Spider-sense that tells them that the fans, media, and so-called “experts” in places like New England, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and New York have no idea what they are talking about. Then they go out and draft a QUARTERBACK! Then follow that up by wasting a second first-round pick, one that was basically gift wrapped to them by the Dallas Cowboys, on a useless TIGHT END! Their “rationale” was that they were drafting for “talent” and not “need” as if the two are mutually exclusive. By the way, the quarterback that they drafted, Matthew Stafford, may be showing himself to be just as useless as the tight end.

This dude has all the makings of being Joey Harrington, v. 2.0. The only difference between the two is Stafford has a stronger arm and throws more interceptions. Stafford developed a legendary following by the suckers here in Detroit because of a combination of the ridiculous amount of hype he has received by being drafted 1st overall, and being signed to the single most ridiculous contract in NFL History: $78 Million, with an absurd $42 Million GUARANTEED. Remember, there are no guaranteed contracts in the NFL, and some of the league’s best players aren’t getting a third of that kind of money. Players that Stafford is making more money than include: Tom Brady, Ray Lewis, Peyton Manning (for now), Phillip Rivers, and Ben Roethlisberger. Stafford got that before he ever threw a pass in the NFL.

Never mind that in college, Stafford had the reputation of never quite living up to his full potential, never won any big games, and had a penchant for throwing bad interceptions at inopportune times. In that aspect, he’s a perfect fit in Detroit. But all the Lions want people to hear is how great of an arm he has and how he’s made some incredible throws in Practice (yes, we’re talking about Practice, not a game!). Considering, I heard Rod Marinelli and the rest of last year’s team talk about how great they looked in practice, I wasn’t exactly sold. Then Stafford was placed against veteran Daunte Culpepper where he had to “compete” for the starting job. Culpepper, who started 5 of the 16 Ls from last year, is back in shape and looks like the dude who used to drop bombs on the Lions back in the early parts of this decade when he was with the Minnesota Vikings.

While Culpepper handled the offense in the Preseason, including committing no turnovers and moving the ball with precision, Stafford was the “gunslinger” that all the suckers wanted to see. He was also the inconsistent rookie that I thought he was. He threw one touchdown and four interceptions in four games. Culpepper threw one touchdown, no interceptions in three games. Yet when it was all said and done, and anyone who wasn’t drinking Stafford’s bathwater could see, the rookie wasn’t ready. That didn’t stop new coach Jim Schwartz (aka WCF) from naming the rookie the starter, defying all logic once again. After the Stafford Stans and Lions slaps thought that Stafford was gonna go all Matt Ryan on the New Orleans Saints last week, he looked, well, terrible. He passes for a mere 152 yards, and threw three brutal interceptions. One must remember, Ryan’s first start came against the…DETROIT LIONS!

Then came yesterday’s debacle against the Vikings. One of the many ridiculous comparisons made about Stafford is that he’s a “young Brett Favre”, and that they are willing to accept his throwing countless interceptions because Stafford is a “gunslinger” with “swagger” (BTW, can that word, and whoever invented it, die on New Year’s Eve!?). Well, the old Brett Favre was on display yesterday with a new age Jim Brown in the backfield named Adrian Peterson. After the Lions defense actually showed up in first half, and the Lions somehow gathered a 10-0 lead (after Stafford threw one brutal pick as the Lions were driving for an early TD), and lead 10-7 at halftime…then second half happened! Things went to hell quickly as the Vikings, in all, scored 27 straight points, highlighted by Stafford throwing two more horrible picks that turned into Game, Set, Match. Vikings 27, Lions 13.

The only thing worse than the Lions, is this loser mentality the fans have developed, including some of the Stafford Stans insisting that Stafford is better than Culpepper, and “would rather win two games with Stafford, than six or seven games with Daunte.” If this were ever said in front of me, that might be a reason to go. That’s what we’ve come to in Detroit. We’re so messed up in the head that we would rather lose with an over-hyped/rated rookie than win with a competent vet for a year (or perhaps just 6-10 games) then send the rook out there after that. But what do I know!? To the Stans, Stafford is Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Brett Favre all in one. You know, minus the accuracy, heart, touch, experience, patience and wins. Speaking of Wins, if the Lions don’t get one next Sunday against the Redskins, it might be a minute before we see another one.

And truthfully, that’s what this is all about. It’s not about “prepping for the future” like the candy-asses and the Stans like to say, it’s about getting a “W” ASAF’nP! The all-time NFL record for consecutive losses is 26 games, belonging to the 1976-1977 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Those Bucs, the last team prior to the ’08 Lions to go winless, had a bit of an excuse being that they were an expansion team. Still, that team lost all 14 games in 1976, then followed that up by losing their first 12 games in 1977! The Lions tragic number sits at 8 from breaking that dubious record. Don’t think it couldn’t happen. We thought 0-16 couldn’t happen, but the Lions proved that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLLLLLLLLEEEEEEE!!!!

I love the Detroit Lions. I seriously do. But just like I’m fed up with the coonery and buffoonery in the Detroit city government, I’m fed up with the know-it-all arrogant incompetence of the Fords and the Lions. However, unlike you fakes and phonies who claim to be “Lions-Free”, I openly watch the Lions, knowing that I will likely end up pissed off by 4:15pm as I have been every NFL Sunday since 12/23/2007. However, just because I support them, doesn’t mean I’m happy with them. That’s why from now until the day they win another game, my blogs will now reflect how long we in Detroit have been held hostage by this team’s losing.

So Until Next Time, That’s The Way It Is, Today, Monday September 21, 2009.

The 639th day since the Detroit Lions’ Last Victory.

Take Care, God Bless, Always Dare To Be Different, and G.O.M.A.B.! Σ

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