Sunday, May 11, 2008


When I was kid, my mom would toss a bunch of leftovers together and tell us we were having "slumgolli", and 98% of the time it would taste awesome and be impossible to duplicate -- so we had to enjoy it while it lasted. I think that when a team is on a playoff or superbowl run, ala the Giants last season, as fans you need to enjoy it knowing it may well never happen again.

In the NFL there are 4 different groups of teams. Over time, as GM's, Coaches, and Luck changes, the teams will slowly migrate from group to group. Sometimes, the overall migration seems swift -- but in actuality is either fleeting luck, or has really been building for some time, but was subtle enough not to be noticed until it finally broke through. This can happen to teams both on teh way up -- and the way down:

  1. Teams that are pereniall playoff contenders -- year after, they are in the postseason, but may or may not rack up many wins, but at least they are there. Typicall 10+ win teams.

  2. Following that, are a group of teams that make the playoffs every other year or so -- they'll make it two in a row, then miss one, etc. These are 9-10 win teams.

  3. Then there is that group of teams that will only rarely sneak into the playoffs as a wildcard in a good season, and often get booted in the first round, but are solid 7-9 win teams.

  4. Last is the group of teams that never even get within shouting distance of the playoffs and are playing for pride by the end of October. 7 wins is rare, and they continually pick in the top half of round one after years of 2-5 wins, with a possbiel 6 or 7 win season thrown in when lucky.

In the 90's, despite the negative reputation the Lions get, they hovered between the top two groups. They only won one game (after a first round bye) and lost in the Divisional Championship round. Sadly, during the Ross years they migrated down into hovering between the 2nd and third group. Then after Millen took over, the years of dissipation caught up with them and they dropped like a rock into the bottom category - with Millen making mistake after mistake, along with his coaches, that kept them there.

Right now, it appears to me that Marinelli once again has them into the 3rd group, and this year will tell whether 7-9 was a fluke, or whether they will solidly be in group 3, and building toward group 2. they may show that 7-9 was a peak, and that they have a lot of work to do still. I think they will be 7-9 again at worst, and possbily do better (based on the now, which could change a lot before the season.) That would put them in group 3 moving up towards 2 if they can keep building on the foundation that is being built before our eyes.

As for me and this building project of the Lions, with all of the promise I am seeing and potential to move into the top tier of the NFL, I'm going to treat it like a great big pot of slumgolli: Enjoy it while it lasts - and hope that Marinelli is writing down the recipe as he goes.


DetroitSims said...

Thats a great post. Really gives you an insight into the way teams look. It definitely has been a miserable amount of years to watch our team go through so many coaches and offensive schemes its enough to make ya sick. You have said many times how you think that Marenelli is the right guy to take us to the next step and I agree with you 100%. He is bringing us up with the right mentality to win now. Last year was definitley an eye opener the first 8 games. I am so glad to see the team starting to go in the right direction only to see the reality of the last 8 games. Its gonna a whole different outlook this year IMO. We definitley have made some good improvement on our D AND O-Lines. Like you said though, This will be the year that we find out whats gonna happen, if there gonna take that next step up or step back. For all of our fans sake, I HOPE ITS A MOVE FORWARD THAT WE ALL CAN APPERICATE!!!! I have been waiting a long time to see this team start winning games and making a run at the playoffs. I am tired of watching our team be one of the laughing stocks of NFL. Give us Lions fans something to cheer about!!!! GO LIONS IN 2008, WE ARE GOING TO PLAYOFFS I CAN FEEL IT!

steamroller78 said...

Great post. You have some serious writing skills. Down in Texas we don't call it slumgolli, but we call it goo-losh. As far as the Lions go, I think you guys back a team that is going the right direction, and as a Cowboys fan, I understand the frustration. The Cowboys haven't won a playoff game in over 11 years. Anyway, this was a great post and I really enjoyed reading it. Keep em' comin!

Anonymous said...

Great post.Remind me not to eat at your house.


Anonymous said...

Link to a nice article from the Lions web site about WR Kenny Moore and FB Jerome Felton.


Anonymous said...

All I have to say is......mlive has slumgolli, aplenty. They haven't posted a new article since Friday, and the last 200 posts are two posters bantering back and forth about what they want to be called.

OOPS, there is a post with a link for Buck Reed, the new Country music artist of the week.

I'm sorry again, my mistake. Buck Reed is a kid from Bethel University (a DIII school) that plays TE and kicks a little bit. You'd think this kid was Antonio Gates and Adam Vinatieri wrapped into one package with the frequency they are posting fodder.

Let them eat cake, let them eat gruel. mlivers drink Kool Aid and eat cornbread.

CALL US EL CONQUISTADOR, AND FEED US SLUMGOLLI, We're all very happy here, thanks.


Riley said...

I enjoy these types of analysis.

I disagree with your assessment of the Lions during the 90's. The Lions never got past your stage 2 type team, and I think they only barely qualified in that regard.

DetFan1979 said...

I also saw someone list don Mulbach (the longsnapper) as a backup C recently. I looked, and although he's never played anything but ST in both college and the pros, he is listed as a C on, and in the majority of his bios. The Official Lions site has him listed only as LS, however.

It may not be sexy, but it's something you don't want screwed up.

DetFan1979 said...

Riley - You are correct -- the Lions were solidly in 2nd tier, but flirted with the first -- the talent was there, but they consistently underachieved. I included the Tier 1 because they were always a threat to go deep into the playoffs every year, but never delivered. This, I think, is more a source of Lions fan bitterness than just plain sucking would have been. To know it could happen, but never does...that can be more painful than knowing it is just plain out of reach...but to be sooooo close........

And watching Barry play was definately a slumgolli window -- possibly never to be repeated to the same extent in our lifetimes. Same thing holds for GB fans who got to watch Favre -- and even us Lions fans who bemoaned him kicking out butts twice a year -- despite playing for the opposition he was a heck of a talent that will take a little bit of excitement from the field when the Lions take on the Pack...and even wehn the Lions beat them, calls of "if Favre were under center, no way the Lions win..." for the next 50 years...

CHIEFGER139 said...

I PUT that reed link in-it has been dead on m-live-the guys must be on vacation or something-i think were moving into tier 2 finally-seems like the only way this team gets noticed is by kitnas wins predictions-a playoff berth would be huge for this sad franshise-hope it happens

Patrick said...


I thought about running backs that were originally thought would never be topped.. So I thought and looked a couple of things up...

1960's Gale Sayers
1970's Earl Campbell
Franco Harris
Walter Payton
O.J. Simpson
1980's Eric Dickerson
Roger Craig - made catching the ball cool for a RB...changed the game
John Riggins
Billy Sims
1990's Emett Smith
Barry Sanders
Terrell Davis
Thurman Thomas
2000's Ladanian Tomilson
Adrian Peterson

I guess what I am saying is...Barry was sooo awesome, but so was Walter, Sims...It makes me just wonder what else is in store that we never imagined would grace the football field? Personally I cannot wait for the next gridiron wonder!