Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Rightful Detroit Lions' captains

It seems defensive tackle Ndahmukong Suh is making a push to be a captain of the Detroit Lions. In the NFL, captains are typically voted in by their teammates. But this is far from an exact science, at least in quantity. One would think an offensive captain, a defensive captain, and a captain of special teams would suffice, but that's not always necessarily so. Some teams have up to 5-6 captains. You can see them all when they come out to midfield for the "coin toss" before a game. Why so many captains would seem to be a good question. It's certainly not like that in the military. Can you imagine a half dozen captains for every 53 soldiers? Throw in several lieutenants and a bunch of sergeants, and nobody would be left to take orders to do the REAL fighting. Too many chiefs and not enough indians.

It's not that way in other pro sports. In the NHL, every team has only one captain. He is easily recognized by the prominent "C" stitched on his uniform. Yes, they may have a couple "assistant" captains denoted by an "A" on their own jersies, but there is only one true team leader, and everybody knows who that is.

Though a guy like Derek Jeter is often referred to as the captain of the NY Yankees, Major League baseball teams don't have captains. In Jeter's case, it's just a word of mouth thing -- not an official title -- and he certainly doesn't boast a "C" on his uniform.

Considering the NBA, obvious team leaders like Kobe Bryant and Lebron James aren't officially captains either. There is a very good reason for this. The measly rank of captain would hardly befit the ego of someone like Kobe Bryant. If anything, he would prefer to be a 5-star general, but alas, throw in the "fruit salad" on the front of his uniform, and all that hardware would surely slow him down. And we mustn't have anything covering up the collage of tattoos such players usually boast. That just wouldn't do.

Which brings me back to Ndamukong Suh. Is he worthy of being a captain for the Detroit Lions? Let's see. He hasn't stomped on anybody lately, wrung a quarterback's neck, wrecked a car, been arrested, and appears to have finally discovered an IQ. Can a bit of maturity be far behind?

Alas, Suh, along with any of his Lion teammates should NOT be captains. NONE of them. They haven't earned it. Who then has, you ask?

Simple. The Lions should go through the list of their long-time season ticket holders. From Tiger Stadium, through the Silverdome years, to the current Ford Field, some of these folks might go back 50 years. They have suffered through decades of ineptitude, but have kept ponying up the bigger and bigger bucks to hang on to and upgrade their season tickets every year.

If anybody deserves to be team captains, it's THOSE folks. Start with the highest seniority man/woman and offer them a team captainship. If unwilling, go to the next in line, and the next, and so on, until 4-5 captains have been designated. Give them free replicas of Bobby Layne jersies with a "C" sewn on them, and THESE people get to go out on the field for the coin flip -- not some yahoo player millionaires who would jump ship in a heartbeat to another team given the chance and even MORE millions.

Of course, there could be a problem with that. It would be totally understandable if anybody that's held Lions' season tickets for that long now has the brains of a turnip. A half century of team/media hype and high expectations -- only to see them crash and burn every year can do that do a person. Poor devils.

But for those that are still somewhat cognizant -- I think they should get the first crack at being captains.

It only seems fair.

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