Saturday, December 12, 2015

Detroit Lions. End the suffering.

Most everyone in the civilized world is at least dimly aware of the Detroit Lions. After all, they're an NFL franchise and there are only 32 of them. And the NFL is a very big deal indeed -- a multi-billion dollar industry. The proverbial gorilla in the room of sports from late August until early February every year.

Sure, there's lots of other sports action going on. College football, the NHL and NBA have fired up again, NASCAR is winding down to their "Chase", and even the baseball playoffs and World Series happens in this window. True, there's always soccer games, and somewhere a golf or tennis tournament is going on, but when the mighty NFL showcases its wares they take center stage in the American world of sports. Anyone who would doubt that need only ask sports bar owners, bookies, and the Nielsen TV ratings people who's who when it comes to the numbers in the fall and early winter.

There are a few teams that always seem to be contenders. The New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers come to mind. Can you remember the last time either was just terrible? Me neither. The Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers are perennially in the hunt.

Lots of them have had their ups and downs over the years. Like Dallas, the NY Giants, Redskins, San Fran, and several others. Those franchises are cyclical. They've all won multiple Super Bowls, but also been bottom feeders over the decades.

And then there's the Detroit Lions. They are the flat-liners of NFL history. The last time the Lions won anything of note was way back in 1957 -- fittingly enough the same year the Ford Motor company was about to debut it's ill-fated Edsel. This was 10 years before the first Super Bowl would even be played. Another bit of dark irony is William Clay Ford, the late but long-time owner of the Lions, purchased a controlling interest in the team on the exact same day John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. November 22, 1963. A day that shall live in infamy indeed.

Forty nine Super Bowls have been played. The first was in 1967. To put that in historical perspective, the Tet offensive of the Viet Nam war hadn't happened yet. A guy named Lyndon Johnson was the President. Woodstock was two years in the future. Firebirds and Camaros were brand new. The Beatles were still churning out hit songs. The original Star Trek TV series was in the works, but wouldn't debut for several more months. If it seems like a very long time ago, that's because it was.

Since then, the USA has cycled through a lot of Presidents. After Johnson came Nixon. Then Ford, Carter, Reagan, Daddy Bush, Bill Clinton, W Bush, and Barack Obama is winding up his second term. A whole lot of stuff has happened over those decades. Vast strides have been made in the world of medicine and technology to say the least.

But what has not is the Detroit Lions ever making it to a Super Bowl, let alone winning it. The fiftieth one will be played in February and the Lions won't be there -- again.

The Honolulu blue and silver franchise has always been unique in a comical sort of way. They've long had incompetent ownership, even more incompetent front office personnel and, oh my, the list of clown coaches is long. Throw in botched drafts and Keystone Koppish play on the field. If there's a way to screw something up -- they'll eventually find it. The poster children in the world of sports for Murphy's Law. Yes, they'll catch a break now and again, but it's fool's gold. Always has been.

The Lions have long been the ultimate tease to their fans and ever-faithful media. They'll do just enough for their Pollyannish press to hype them -- and the dutiful lemming fans will continue to believe -- year, after year, after year, after decade.

But this team isn't going anywhere this year, let alone the Super Bowl. And they won't next year either, or the year after that, or the years following. If William Clay Ford wasn't a clueless enough owner, now his widow Martha and her daughters are in charge. They recently hired someone who had been handling their "estate" to run the franchise. The man, one Rod Wood, knows absolutely nothing about professional football. He himself admitted as much. Wood said the only NFL team he could possibly fit in with were the Lions. Is that pitiful? Comical? Just another typical Lions hire?

Current head coach Jim Caldwell's former record when being in charge of a team on the field speaks for itself. He's a loser and over his head again -- especially with the sad sack Lions. It may take a couple more years to play itself out, but Caldwell will be hitting the road eventually and the always lovable Fords will conduct another "nationwide" search for the best candidate available to replace him. Kind of like they did with their Prez, Mr. Wood. It's comical.

Calvin Johnson may or may not be a Hall of Fame candidate in the future, but he's never going to sniff a Super Bowl with the Lions. Here's hoping he can still walk when he's 40. The beatings he has taken over the years while trying to haul in passes in double and triple coverage have taken their toll.

Matthew Stafford in the Hall? Not a chance. He might rack up a lot of passing yards every year, but that's only because the Lions have never put together a decent running game. Stafford HAS to throw. And at that, he's always been prone to making boneheaded decisions. Besides, when's the last time you heard of an NFL QB getting a plaque in the Hall when he lost far more games than he won? It ain't gonna happen. Stafford isn't all that, never has been, but he's the best QB the Lions have had in a long time. Not exactly a ringing endorsement in the whole scheme of things.

Nevertheless, the suckers will always maintain there is hope when it comes to the Lions. They will faithfully either buy their tickets or root, root, root for their heroes while watching them on TV.

Though famed circus showman Phineas Taylor (PT) Barnum took his last breath way back in 1891 -- some 124 years ago -- it seems a shame PT wasn't around to buy the Lions. He was fabulously rich too and nobody knew how to play on suckers better than Mr. Barnum. As he once said, there's one born every minute. Lions fans and their media would be fertile ground indeed for PT. But alas, Willy had his decades, now Martha is in charge, and when she goes on to where PT resides, her girls will take over. And then likely THEIR kids. Good luck with that. How's another half century of bumbling sound?

The solution? Easy. Right now the St. Louis Rams, San Diego Chargers, and Oakland Raiders are all considering a move to Los Angeles or a nearby suburb in the very near future. At least one, and possibly two, will make the move, perhaps to share a brand new stadium.

The Lions should throw their hats in that ring. It's long become obvious they'll never accomplish anything in the otherwise woeful city of Detroit. So why not move and get a fresh start?

First, they'd have to send out a few feelers as to whether the folks in LA would even want such a sad sack franchise in their midst, but if the Angelenos grudgingly approved it could benefit a lot of people in the long run.

Sure, the run of the mill Lions lemmings would be outraged, but they never had any sense anyway. Besides, it would save them a lot of money and heartbreak in future years. Every year those dopes get their hopes up, and every year they wind up disappointed. This is not going to change in Detroit. Call it tough love or whatever, but it's for their own good. They'd figure it out eventually -- maybe.

And the sports writers that continue to hype and sell the Lions year after year? It's hard to say whether the koolaid warped their minds over the years or whether they've known better all along but continued as carnival barkers to prey on the suckers. If the Lions move to LA, they'd have to get another job. And that job might well require them to be -- gasp! -- open, objective and truthful. Heavy on the objective. No namby pamby catering to the moronic faithful or BS allowed. Imagine that.

So for the sake of the already suffering city in many ways, for the sake of integrity in journalism, and mostly for the sake of the generations of idiots that didn't/don't know any better -- never have and never will -- I hereby propose the Fords mercifully and quickly sell the Detroit Lions franchise and let the new owner move them out of town. Forever. If not to LA, then whatever other city will have them. Good riddance, and it would finally end the suffering.

Whether they realize it or not, the suckers are long overdue for a break.

1 comment:

  1. It's very unlikely that the team will relocate. If they do, it's not going to be LA.