NFL Draft Day reminds us that the Lions are doomed

Coach Jim Schwartz and the Lions are battling decades of losing ways for Detroit's football team.

Coach Jim Schwartz and the Lions are battling decades of losing ways for Detroit’s football team.

The ball spiraled toward sure-handed Herman Moore. Lions fans rose from their seats. The roar inside the Silverdome heightened in decibels as No. 84 was about to corral another touchdown reception.

Moore was by his lonesome inside Chicago’s 25-yard line, not a defender within sight. If he catches the pass, it’s 17-3 Lions, the game is essentially finished, another playoff berth is clinched.

So here came Charlie Batch’s pass toward the greatest statistical receiver in Lions history. The four-time Pro Bowler eyed the incoming spiral …

And it bounced off his chest.

A collective murmur swept through the ‘Dome like a brush fire. Three hours later, an old friend from East Lansing named Paul Edinger aligned in a funky motion, booted an awkward-looking line drive, and it somehow sailed 54 yards, through the uprights, and thus gave birth to the Matt Millen Era.

“I lost it in the lights,” Moore said on that ugly Christmas Eve in 2000.

He lost it in the lights? Only the Detroit Lions franchise can employ a two-time NFL receptions leader and watch him morph into a bumbling mess.

If Moore catches that ball, there’s a good chance Millen never leaves the broadcast booth.

Yet he lost it in the lights.

Don’t bother getting excited about this week’s NFL draft, because nothing has changed since 1963, and nothing ever will. It’s one sad-sack moment after the other.

The Lions couldn’t win with Chicago’s Super Bowl-winning GM (Jerry Vainisi), one of their best outside linebacker prospects broke his neck (Reggie Brown), a talented left guard died while trimming weeds on his front lawn (Eric Andolsek), another linebacker hit a patch of black ice and killed three people (Reggie Rogers) and another offensive lineman broke his neck (Mike Utley).

Pat Swilling was a double-digit sack specialist in New Orleans, but an average player in Honolulu blue and silver.

Barry Sanders leaped above goal-line defenders at Oklahoma State, but stood on the sidelines during goal-line situations in Detroit.
(Sigh.)

Give it up, people. This franchise is doomed. It’s not worth your time and hard-earned money to watch inside Ford Field. Tune in on the tube, but curb your enthusiasm and lessen your expectations. Treat it like a comedy. (How will they lose today? Maybe Germane Crowell’s stay-in bounds decision at Minnesota in 2001? Or how about Bobby Ross’s go-for-a-2-point-conversion decision at Arizona in 1999? Or maybe Marty Mornhinweg choosing to kick off to start OT? To start OT!)

Reggie Rogers, Charles Rogers, Darryl Rogers, they all make William Clay Ford look like Mr. Rogers.

Calvin Johnson’s career will be brilliant, but it will likely end like Barry Sanders’career: Without a Super Bowl, because it’s just a TV show for the Lions.

On third-and-8, they gain 7. When they need six points, they settle for three.

Having Barry Sanders in a Lions uniform was like dating the best supermodel in the world, only to be dumped and never date again.

The situation will never improve.

Since 1963, it’s been the same chain of events: The mindless owner hires a bad GM, who hires a bad coach, and together, they make fifth-rounders become second-rounders.

So … are you still excited about the draft?

14 replies on “NFL Draft Day reminds us that the Lions are doomed

  • Al

    I agree. Draft day is like the Super Bowl to Lions fans. It’s all we have, players look great, preseason looks great, then the regular season starts & bam. It’s over.
    I’ve been a Lions fan for over 40 years. I’ve seen them in the playoffs twice while expansion teams have gone to & won Super Bowls.
    I was once told if there’s a way to lose, the Lions will do it.
    We have a great quarterback, a hall of fame wide receiver who perhaps will go down in history as the greatest receiver ever. But they don’t address the needs to protect that franchise QB. To take pressure off the WR so he’s not double & triple teamed every play.
    I’ll watch the draft, I’ll analyze it, I’ll cheer for the Lions. Then look forward to next year as always

    Reply
  • BoBo Detroit

    You have pretty much summed it up. Although the franchise continues to make lots of money, they really shouldn’t based on their performance. The only common denominator left in the whole equation is the Ford family is still in control and is plenty complacent at the long time faithful and hopeful fan base expense. Boycott their games and see if their bottom line is still in the black.

    Reply
  • Gary Steinke

    I turned 7 years old in the summer of 1963 and don’t recall many things about that year. I’m assuming that must’ve been the year William Clay Ford took over ownership of the Lions. Am I right? If not it still doesn’t hide the fact that Ford has got to be the worst owner in all of pro sports.

    Reply
  • Doug

    The Scott Mitchell/Lomas Brown imbroglio that came to light a few months ago summed it all up – the Detroit Lions are rotten to the core. They will never amount to anything nor fulfill this potential until William Clay Ford sells the team & the front office is overhauled.

    Reply
  • Richard

    Finally, someone in Detroit has the intelligence to put the blame for the Lion’s failures where it belongs. Thank you, Mr. Mason, for publishing this.

    Reply
  • Rory

    Ouch. I guess we should just give up. I mean why bother? What’s the point? We’ll always be losers. Let’s all move to Idaho.

    This losing mentality just adds to the problem.

    Go Lions!

    Reply
  • Cliff Parker

    The Lions need to go back to the fundamentals that made them the team of the 1950’s at Briggs Stadium with Yale Lary, a U. S. War Veterans of the Korean War, at the helm of the team as their leader of their defense. This article is very true on the Lions success dating back to 1963, because that period, both Yale Lary and Dick Lebeau played for the Lions along with Alex Karras and gave the NFL pure hell. What the Lions should have done and very much need to do is keep that legacy going and not loose great talent like Lebeau and even Charlie Batch to other NFL teams like Pittsburgh and have them win Super Bowls! Think about it; the Steelers defense has the same scheme as the Lions defense from the 1950’s and early 1960’s courtesy of Dick Lebeau, and add the talent that Batch gives in advise on the field to Roethlisburger to run QB plays is why the Steelers are always serious contenders. The Lions need to go back to fundamentals and study what made them very successful in the 1950’s and 1960’s and get back to winning; they are on the right path by signing Reggie Bush, because he has some good years left to play pro football, but they got to use him the right way; remember Barry Sanders retired in his prime from the game of pro football very early in his career, because he stated that the front office of the Lions organization was not doing the right thing to get the Lions to a world championship! Never the less, I will cheer for the Lions, because after you are down for so long, there is no where else to go but up; thus the Lions should get their act together and win big sooner or later (preferably sooner)!!!

    Reply
  • brent

    So Cliff, you’re saying we should get a U.S. War Veterans of a war to lead the defense?
    And that Big Ben’s success in Pittsburgh is because of the sage advice he’s receiving from Charlie Batch?
    To quote Jack Nicholson- “Go sell crazy somewhere else. We’re all stocked up here.”

    Reply
  • Cliff Parker

    To Brent, It is obvious that you are the one that is crazy, because you do not know your Detroit sports history. Yale Lary played for the Lions in 1952 and 1953 and won world championships and then volunteered for the Korean war from 1954 to 1956 and came back to Detroit to play for the Lions in 1957. One more thing Brent, if you graduated from school and learned how to read instead of being illiterate, you would have read in the article that the Lions have to go back to playing hard defense that Dick Lebeau once played for the Lions in the 50’s and 60’s before he became a coach in Pittsburgh in the 70’s under Chuck Noll. Why you think he is still on the coaching staff now in Pittsburgh? SIX SUPER BOWL RINGS YOU DUMMY THAT’S WHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  • Rick

    Doug and Gary hit it on the HEAD! Until Ford sells the team they are doomed!THE absolute WORST owner in the HISTORY of professional sports! They have sucked longer then I have been alive and I’m over 50 years old!

    Reply
  • Dan Holmes

    Interesting comment by Rick … is WC Ford the worst owner in sports history? Would make a good column.

    Reply
  • kizer

    I see the Lions proved you wrong by picking a douchebag that played 8 college games who shows up at the draft in 3d glasses. Mayhew was Millen’s right hand man, lest we forget

    Ex Lions fan since 1995

    Reply

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