Monday, December 1, 2008

Historically Bad?

First of all, I hope all of you were able to get a little time to relax and enjoy family over the Thanksgiving Holiday. I am back into the groove and facing a question i have been avoiding for some time. (Don't worry chief - plenty of time to worry about Lewand, who to draft, etc. in the Ifseason. Which as Millersco pointed out, will be very interesting and exciting this year!)

No, that question is the dreaded mark of historical ineptitude upon which the Detroit Lions seem hell bent in achieving: 0-16. The Winless Season.

Quick, who won Superbowl 17? Who lost Superbowl 22? Who has the only winless season in the history of the NFL?

While I have no clue what the answers to the first two are (google them and expand your knowledge base), we all know the answer to the third: the 1976 Tampa Bay Bucs -- who in their first year as an expansion team in the days before free agency went 0-14.

Since then, other teams have come close by the end of the season, but most blow it fairly early on. The past of almost historically inept teams is chronicled nicely by Sports Illustrated writer Joe Posnanski in a respectful, historical way.

Personally how do I feel? I am of mixed emotions, really. There is a part of me that doesn't want the Lions to be part of history like that. Sure, we know our beloved Leos can be horrendous at times, but the worst ever?

Another part of me (the larger of the two, when I'm being honest with myself) thinks that 0-16 is the perfect season at the perfect time. It underscores the futility of Matt Millen. He won't be forgetten in time, as other bad GM's have been -- he will be a large part of the history of the league. A part that will not soon be overlooked. The Raiders have had just as bad a stretch of losing seasons since losing the the Superbowl -- but will people remember why/when they were so horrendous (outside of their own fans?)?

With 0-16 The "Millen Man March" becomes historic foreshadowing, brought up any time the winless record is. And, lets face it, every time a team makes it to 0-8, 0-9... the talk starts. Are they bad enough? Is their front office going to be lumped in with Matt Millen???

The use of Millen as a substitute for swear words, and incompetence, or overtly stupid moves may spread beyond Detroit and into the general lexicon. How sweet would that be?

However, beyond the history and the grand scale is the basic tenets of fandom. For once, it really can't get any worse. Not a hopeful platitude, not wishful thinking. After 0-16 the reality will be it that there will literally be no place to go but up!

Yes, this means I'm warning you in advance that I'll be Mr. Point-Out-The-Bright-Side again this ifseason (while still paying homage to the other side of the If).

Finally, it will truly hasten an all-out housecleaning. How do you retain even the assistant GM after 0-16? The scouts? The coaches? The waterboys?

The heart of 0-16 is that the Lions have needed a full clean sweep for 20+ years. They are finally going to get it!!

So what am I thinking about? Just like I sit back and enjoy the games -- just as I marveled at the speed of Chris Johnson, the sack-fumble-almost TD by Avril, the Patriots' run at the other side of perfection last season (they made 0-16, which I think is being underplayed as an achievement) -- I will enjoy watching football. Win or lose, the Lions are my team. At least the rest of this season as I am watching them get trampled I can relax and revel in the fact that I am watching my team set a record that will likely never be matched, much less broken. At least not in my lifetime.

Go Lions!!!

Thoughts on Thanksgiving, the Lions as a 3-4 team, and others on the way this week. As for me, MNF is on.

Final Final thought: New Poll (see, I do listen Chief!) is up on your thoughts for 0-16 -- want it or not? Also, will they win a game - if so which one?


CHIEFGER139 said...

I think a win in the next 4 games is more important than being a team that started out strong in the season and needs just one more win to clinch a playoff spot-they lost 3 in a row and still have 4 more games to clinch-the pressures on!! everyone is looking at the schedule and predicting which game they will clinch it!!
this is more important by far--were already in trouble of losing our thanksgiving day game-the fords may go bankrupt and our team goes to Los Angelous-then whats our local team?? the bengals the browns the colts the bears even worst the pack-I hate the pack!!
we will be remember forever as the worst team in nfl history-we already rival the cardnails as that-they did leave st. louis and now are in arizona-is that what we want?? and truthfully theyre headed to the playoffs!!
we should of been too-look at how horrible our division is?? You idiots who wanted shaun rogers gone did this to us-I tried to warn you!! Now we must win at least one game!! its urgent big time!! Already all the sports shows I listen to make fun of us-but going 0-16-thats horrible and truthfully with the way the league is made up-its rules the cap space-chances are we will be the worst team for eternity!!
is that what you want??
not me win one and all is forgotten!!
truthfully if I was ford Id threaten the team if they dont win one -they'll hang a banner-0-16 worst ever det lions 2008 and place a plaque with every coach-every management position-every player on that team-that everyone can see till eternity-cause truthfully they deserve it!!-if that doesnt makke them want to win one what else could!!
and truthfully if they do win one-maybe sunday?? they are all hero's in my mind!! they saved us from eternity of being the worst team ever!!

ClusterFox said...

Shaun Rogers wouldn't have won a single game for us. He is exactly the same guy we got rid of. If you watch a Browns game he'll have two plays were he goes hard, then the commentaters start talking about him and he's over on the sideline sucking on oxygen. The difference is a better supporting cast and an offense. The trade can still be viewed as good or bad, but please don't say we lost 16 games because we didn't have SR.
I'm not putting that much weight into history. whether they have 3 wins or 0, they will finish at the bottom of the north and get the 1st pick most likely. Then we are on to next season. Thats it. The "3rd best team" can have more wins than the "best team", and the same applies to the bottom of the heap.
We have Division, Conference, and Superbowl champs. Thats how we identify those teams worth knowing and the 20+ worth forgetting.

Last note-I said it at the begining of the season I don't care about W-L. I'm most disappointed in the fact that I don't see the fire in their play like I saw in preseason.

CHIEFGER139 said...

clusterfox maybe your right were so horrible no man could make the differnce-yet i wonder big time--hopefully you do to--with the horrible excuse of a division we have now-i rogers was in there we'd be 5 wins now and comprting to win the nfc north?? i thinkk and believe we would --i warned big time!! without rogers other teams would run up and down us at will-it happpened those who wanted him gone are the true asses

Isphet said...

I think 0-16 is the perfect end to the Matt Millen era. I think he's lost all football credibility in any format. I would be shocked to see him do ANYHTING football related ever again.

He's like the Ryan Leaf of GMs now. No matter what that guy does, he's going to have negative media attention and be branded a loser. Every little slip-up will be reported nationally.

The Lions have always been looked down upon by the media as horrible. I don't think 1-15 is going to "save their reputation" at this point.

Hopefully, Ford will follow the Tigers' formula after they had that equally horrible year a few years back (I think it was '03?) and hire a GM that is actually good at what they do: evaluating and acquiring talent. Maybe he should ask Mike Illitch (sp?) for some advice.

At least we know that a turnaround can happen pretty quickly.

detroitsims said...

Hey look at the bright side!! Both od Minne's DT'S might not be able to play because of banned substance!! We might actually win a game this sunday if we can score more than they do. We all know that AP is gonna run all over us like the rest of the league has!!!!

ClusterFox said...

I hope who ever comes in to manage this team has higher expectations than to compete in the North. I'd like to see us win a playoff game maybe 2. In the division we are all forced to be a part of, those at the top can't consider themselves "cream". Shhii- I mean other things float too. Let's hope the departure of SR was the 1st step on a long journey to the top. and I'm not talking about the North.


RIP said...

I believe we are only missing a couple of pieces on defense to be competitive. But the first real issue is at defensive coordinator. Not knocking the Tampa Two defense, just how it is run.
As far as player positions, there are 3 main positions needed. A nose tackle who can protect the linebackers. A corner back with a high football IQ to replace Keith Smith. And a MIKE with talent, size, and a high IQ. I have believed since training camp that Dizon will become a good SAM in the NFL. DE end may be set by committy for this year, unless there is that First Pick, every down, high motor, can't miss DE available. You can include the WILL position if Ernie Sims can not stop from over persueing to the middle.
What is everyone's thoughts of Head Coach Marty Schottenhiemer turning this team around. Overall team discipline and game management experience is also a problem.

RIP said...

Interesting thought with the 3-4 defense. Already have one, perhaps two starting defensive ends with Reading and 5-O. Linebackers missing one piece if you move Sims to the middle and Avril and Dizon can play in this type defense on the outside. Need a nose tackle, a run stopping MIKE, and a corner, which are our main needs already. Problem is no depth to support this defense, especially since our linebackers (along with nose tackle) are our problems in the Tampa Two.