Sunday, October 11, 2015

Detroit Lions. Again a laughingstock

Just when you think things couldn't possibly get any worse for the sad-sack Lions, leave it to the hapless puddy-tats to find a way. Their home game performance against the Arizona Cardinals was a combination of Murphy's Law and the Keystone Kops. After a while, it got downright comical.

Of their first seven possessions -- five of them resulted in turnovers? Really? Matthew Stafford was throwing interceptions like a wide-eyed rookie quarterback while receivers and backs were coughing up the ball on routine tackles. These guys are getting paid millions as professionals, and this is what they have to offer? Really?

Their, ahem, so-called vaunted offense can't seem to score. The defense is routinely torched for big plays. The special teams units appear to be almost as clueless as the folks that have assembled this rag-tag bunch -- the coaching staff. It's pitiful.

The Lions remain the only NFL team without a single victory. Forget the playoffs. Despite the annual (and predictable) local hype, that was never going to happen anyway. They'll be lucky if they don't wind up with the worst record in the NFL when the regular season is done. These guys are just.... that... bad. And they're not only terrible, but stupid as well.

In the fourth quarter, trailing by four -- count em -- FOUR touchdowns, Jim Caldwell calls for his team to kick a field goal? Really? By that point, it was already a blowout. Why not go for a touchdown? If they don't make it -- who cares? They were going to lose anyway. A meager three points was yuk-worthy. What are these clowns doing?

It could be argued the Cardinals could have taken a knee on every offensive snap after the second half started. Run a few minutes off the clock and don't risk any injuries. After all, with the Lions already trailing 28-7 at the break, and their offense in mega-bumbling mode, there was no way they posed a threat to mount a comeback.

Here's a few things Lions fans need to get used to. Matthew Stafford is not all that. He's never BEEN all that. And he'll never BE all that. Sure, he's thrown for a bunch of yardage -- mostly heaving the ball in the general direction of Calvin Johnson, but after 7 years in the league, he isn't any better than when he started. The Georgia peach still makes incredibly dumb decisions in the heat of battle. It doesn't matter how strong his arm is. If the ball isn't thrown to the right place at the right time, bad things can happen, and Matthew Stafford is a poster boy for trying to force things that aren't there.

Some say Calvin Johnson will eventually land in the Hall of Fame. Yours truly disagrees. Yes, he's big, tall, fast, and has made some amazing catches. But he's also taken a beating over the years, because the other defenses know full well Stafford's tendency to target him, regardless of double or triple teams. The poor guy has hobbled through the last couple seasons barely able to practice. And he's no longer considered amongst the Top 5 receivers in the game. Throw in the fact that the Megatron has never even won a single playoff game, much less sniffed a Super Bowl, pile on all the losses the Lions have suffered while he's been there, give objective Hall voters five years to think about it after he retires -- and CJ is far from a lock to wind up with a bust in Canton. And BTW, he played for the Lions, arguably the sorriest franchise in all of professional sports over the last half century.

Jim Caldwell is not the answer to what ails the Lions either. It is well known JC has enjoyed success under other head coaches as an offensive coordinator, but has crashed and burned when given the head job himself, typically in his second year. Look at the Lions. They're now 0-5 and quite the laughingstock in Caldwell's sophomore year at the helm. If Lions fans think Caldwell is going to lead them to the promised land, they are sadly mistaken. His Peter Principle is once again rearing its ugly head. Caldwell may be a nice guy, a good man, and a worthy lieutenant. But he's not cut out to be a general. Some people have it in them and some people don't. Caldwell decidedly does not. It's just a matter of time before he is sent packing like so many of his failed predecessors.

Like business, changing the long-losing culture of a sports franchise has to start at the top. The late William Clay Ford was often blamed for the Lions losing ways over the years. After all, he had owned them since 1963 until his recent death. Countless coaches and generations of players had come and gone, but still the Lions were losers.

What's sad is who is in charge of the Lions now. That would be William Clay's widow Martha. His son Mustang Billy is busy running the Ford Motor Co. Martha was born into the Harvey Firestone tire empire family, and married into the Fords. A true high-falootin blueblood. But given her lineage, just what, pray tell, can this 90 year old woman be expected to know about owning an NFL team, especially one with the sorry storied history of the Lions?  Does anybody really think Martha can or will change the culture?

Best thing she could do is sell the team. It's not like she needs the money, but give it up to a future owner that will take an active interest in the Lions. Hopefully one that will blow it all up and clean house. The entire front office has to go. So does Caldwell. Trade off the players with any value for future draft picks and start over from scratch.

Sure, the Lions would bottom out for a few years, but what's so different about that? They already have again this year, and maybe "no hope" for a couple years would be a good thing. Could it be any worse than the "false hope" the Lions have given to their fans year after year, and decade after decade?

Better yet, maybe the new owner would move the Lions out of Detroit entirely. A few teams are considering a move to the Los Angeles area, namely the St. Louis Rams, San Diego Chargers, and Oakland Raiders. Why not the Lions? And if not LA, move into one of the towns that was vacated by one of the above mentioned three teams. They might begrudgingly take them.

Long time Lions fans would go berserk and scream bloody murder, you say? Probably, but it might just be beneficial to them in the long run. No more blowing house payments to go see games played by a team that has NO shot at ever being a champion.

And if the Honolulu blue and silver maniacs just HAVE to root for somebody, try Cleveland. It's only a few hours drive away and the Browns will offer up much the same as what the Lions have over the decades. Despite having to change team colors, Lions fans could experience a familiar feeling on the shores of Lake Erie.

It's just trading in one loser for another. What's the big deal?


  1. The Lions fans won't be the only ones screaming bloody murder if a new owner relocates the franchise. Some angry Detroit politician who bleeds Honolulu Blue and Silver will lobby the government to strip the NFL of its antitrust exemption if Detroit doesn't get a new team. This will either force the league to expand or strip another city of its team.

    Besides, didn't you tell me once that the owners wouldn't allow it to happen?

    1. No offense, Anon, but Detroit politicians aren't exactly the most respected bunch in government circles these days. I doubt the league would worry much about its antitrust exemption being challenged by an angry Motown politico. Even the other owners would laugh that off. Yes, I did once think they wouldn't allow it to happen, but that was just a guess, and anymore who knows? The Lions moving out of Detroit would hardly be Armageddon in the billionaire world. If say, St. Louis went to LA, and the Lions went to St. Louis, no stripping or expanding would be necessary. Maybe a divisional realignment, but St. Louis already plays in the NFC Western conference, and the Cowboys in the East. Go figure. Shuffling the deck again wouldn't be that big a deal.

    2. Upon further review, the St.Louis/Detroit swap actually makes a lot of sense. The Rams could return to LA, where they were for decades, and stay in the same division. Less travel. The Lions could move to St. Louis and retain the name Lions while remaining in the NFC Central division. No realignments necessary. LA Rams and St. Louis Lions, and the beat goes on. Ya think?

    3. If the Lions move, they won't be the Lions anymore. Does any new owner want to carry the 0-16 legacy with them? That's quite the baggage.

    4. Don't be so sure, Anon. After moving, the Rams stayed the Rams and the Colts stayed the Colts. The 0-16 thing was way back in 2008. Ancient history in the sports world. A new owner would care less about that. BTW, if you wish to chat in an easier mode, I'm open to it. I'm usually online in the wee hours. Give me an IM-able address and I'll look you up. Up to you.