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.
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?