The Detroit Lions’ Rendezvous with Destiny

It was appropriate that this was the game that marked the 75th anniversary of the Detroit Lions franchise.  As temperatures grow increasingly colder, Detroit’s football fans are well aware of the sharp contrast between the Lions of old and the current squad of has-beens and wannabees.

With the best Lions of all time taking the field to be recognized, it was painfully apparent that this is no longer one of the league’s elite teams.  When Eddie Murray is one of your five best players of all-time, you are not elite.

We know about the 50-plus years without an NFL title and the single Super Bowl-era playoff win.  In 2008, misery may have company as 0-16 continues to creep closer, especially with the Titans, Colts, Panthers and Bucsstill on the radar.  The Detroit Lions’ rendezvous with destiny is no longer a championship.  It’s a winless season.

Naturally, in the NFL, it is much easier to have an 0-for season.  With less games to play and the lack of possibility to have a hot shooting hand or hurler on the mound, 0-16 is much easier than 0-82 or 0-162.

Since this team is still essentially a Millen team, this is the second time during this era when the Lions have been in jeopardy of the “perfect season.”

2001 (the final year of the Lions in Pontiac) saw Detroit spring out to a 0-12 record before beating Minnesota in a nail-biter. That season also happened to end on a win, which kept the Lions from the worst record and the second pick (no. 1 went to expansion Houston). Detroit’s prize for that awful season?  Joey Harrington.

Just as the Lions found themselves searching for a QB then, the same has come true in 2008-09. Daunte Culpepper and Drew Stanton became options number 3 and 4 trotted out on the field this season, and the result has been continuously disappointing.

The plain fact is neither one of these guys is Bobby Layne — and they never will be.  And if Detroit Lions fans no longer know the difference, they were reminded of it during Sunday’s All-Time team ceremony.  If the Lions are ever going to “restore the roar” and the glory of the 1950s, they’re going to have to change the entire culture of the team.  Only then will their destiny change.  For now, their only rendezvous is with disaster.