Friday, October 2, 2015

Roman numerals and the Detroit Lions

Though it took a half century, finally the NFL has dropped the Roman numerals from their Super Bowls. Super Bowl 50 will be just that. And then 51, instead of LI, etc. It's about time. What has been the fascination in America with Roman numerals anyway? Grandfather clocks typically have them. Due south is VI instead of 6. Due west is IX instead of 9. We've even named global conflicts with Roman numerals. World Wars 1 and 2 were WWI and WWII. Do you remember reading about any Roman legions of gladiators fighting in either? Not me.

Good grief, Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch is of Macedonian descent, but got his billions from a pizza empire he dubbed Little Caesar's. Hey, pizza was invented in the USA, not by ancient Italians named Tiberius, Claudius, or Gluteous Maximus. No ifs, ands and big butts about it.

And then there's the Detroit Lions. They haven't won a championship since MCMLVII , a full X years before Super Bowls even began. Ironically enough, this was the same year the Ford family and their auto company would introduce the Edsel. Though William Clay wouldn't take ownership of the Lions for another VI years, and they have floundered in the ensuing LII years since, it should be noted that William Clay Ford finally sealed the deal on the exact same day John F. Kennedy was shot in Dallas. Tragic irony indeed, and perhaps a very bad omen for the future of the franchise.

Alas, even though WCF was mostly an absentee NFL owner, and thought to be incompetent by many all along, he recently passed on to the magical kingdom of Model A's, T's, Thunderbirds, and those pesky Pintos in the sky.

The person who now holds the reins to the Detroit Lions franchise is one Martha Firestone Ford, his widow. She checks in at the rather mature age of XC. Few would consider her a potential Cougar, but let's get real. Martha grew up in a tire family dynasty and married into a car family dynasty. What the hell did she ever know about professional football? While her son Mustang Billy is busy running the car company, MFF is left to depend on the likes of Martin Mayhew to oversee the franchise? Isn't this the same guy that has botched so many draft picks, hired a parade of clown coaches, then fired them while still owing them millions of dollars -- only to hire another loser? THAT guy? The same one that continually brings in free agent cast-offs from other teams, and paints the franchise into a salary cap corner by giving them ridiculous contracts? There's a reason these guys were kicked to the curb by their former teams, but MM has never seemed to comprehend that principle. He still thinks coming to Detroit is a magic potion that will make them superstars. Given their sorry losing culture for so long, how ridiculous a notion is that? But this is who is in charge of personnel. Martha makes an appearance once in a while. I'll bet that revs up the players in the locker room. Right.

So the Lions are currently 0-III, will likely be 0-IV after they visit Seattle next Monday night (they're a X point underdog) and then the Arizona Cardinals come a-calling for Game V. Don't look now, but the Cards are quietly one of the best teams in the entire lineup of all XXXII in the league. The Lions will likely be underdogs against Arizona even at home. 0-V is definitely a possibility for the Detroit puddy tats.

Then they get a break. A home game against the even more woeful Chicago Bears. If they can't win that game, old Martha should strongly consider selling the franchise. Better yet, to a new owner that will move it out of Detroit entirely. All the Lions have done is spout hype for the last LII years under Ford ownership, won exactly one playoff game during that entire time, never sniffed a Super Bowl, much less won it, and ripped off their gullible fans.

Want more evidence of incompetence? When the head coaching carousel was going around a couple years ago, nobody else wanted Jim Caldwell. Always slow to act, Caldwell was the only coach left by the time the Lions got around to making another decision. He has a proven record of being a good offensive coordinator under other head coaches, but has been a failure when handed the reins himself. He takes over a team somebody else built, is successful for the first year with the leftovers, then institutes his own system -- and quickly crashes and burns in his second year. Caldwell is proving the Peter Principle still rules in his second year with the Lions. The man is obviously over his head, and the Lions will likely fire him in a year or two, only to owe him millions. It's the way they roll.

But as their faithful maintain, there is always hope. Indeed there is. Perhaps in the next XXX or XL years the Lions will get to a Super Bowl. But it ain't gonna be this year.

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