Detroit Lions – A Model for Mediocrity

Lion Confused

So the Lions are now 0-3 and have less than a 2% chance of getting into the playoffs.

No big loss there, they haven’t won in the playoffs in 24 years, why the heck should we expect anymore?

Back on September 12, I wrote an article Detroit Lions – I Gotta Believe.  Looking back on it, I think I spoke to soon.

The Detroit Lions, over their entire 84 year history (and I am including the fours they were the Portsmouth Spartans) have a winning percentage of .459.

Now there were some fantastic years, like the six year run they had from 1952 to 1957, getting the NFL Championship game four times and winning it three…all before I was born.  To put that into perspective, I am 57 years old…and this team has never won a championship, literally, in my lifetime.

The most recent success of any length of time was from 1991 to 1999 where in that nine year span, they made the playoffs six times and only winning once….and they didn’t get back to the playoffs until 2011, 12 years later.

And now after this 0-3 start, I have little faith they will even 5 games this year.

But you know what?  I don’t place the entire blame on the players or the coaching staff…sure, they can do better and there is talent there.  What isn’t there is an intangible thing…I believe what this team is missing is “heart.”

With the exception of a very few players (Calvin Johnson, Joique Bell, Golden Tate and DeAndre Levy), most of these guys are just really good technicians and will rarely stretch themselves to do as much as they can to help the team.

Where it really boils down to is the management team of the Detroit Lions.  Yes, I’m talking about you Martin Mayhew…and you Tom Lewand and yes, even you Mr. William Clay Ford, Jr.

These guys, since Matt Millen was shown the door in 2008, have said all the right things…but have done little to back it up…and have even done less to get this team where it needs to be.  They have made poor choices in coaches…poor choices in draft picks….poor choices in free agents.

The numbers back me up.  I chose eight teams that I believe that have  been the most consistent performers over the past decade.  Below will be the team, the average number of wins from 2004 to 2014 and the winning percentage during that time:

NFL Team Comparison


As much as I despise the New England Patriots, there is no one that can deny the success they have had over the past decade.  Bill Belichick, for as grumpy and ornery as he is, is a freakin genius when it comes to out-thinking and out-coaching opponents.

The Green Bay Packers have done some remarkable things in the past 10 years and they got themselves a great quarterback in Aaron Rodgers and found the players that will jump in front of a truck for him.  And he replaced a pretty good QB in his time, Brett Favre.

The Detroit Lions ownership, such as it is, needs to bring someone in that is on the level of a Bill Belichick or Packer GM Ted Thompson and give him free reign to tear down this team and build it into a sustainable, successful team.

There is blame on the current coaching staff that can be spread around as well.  Jim Caldwell, despite his record, inherited a Tony Dungy team that went to the Super Bowl in 2010 while head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.  After Peyton Manning got hurt, he could do no better than 2-14 in 2011 and was fired after the season.

His stint with the Baltimore Ravens, while successful as the quarterbacks coach in 2012 and then as offensive coordinator in 2013 where he earned a Super Bowl ring, could be construed as that he is a great assistant but when sitting in the big chair, he has little to offer.

As for our franchise quarterback, Matthew Stafford?  I have to admit, when the Lions drafted him, I was sure it was the second coming of Bobby Layne.  But any passion that Stafford had has been coached out of him by Caldwell and staff.  He has no guts, no drive and certainly doesn’t have the heart to lead this team.  He is a technician, much like Jeff George was.  Stafford isn’t nearly the jerk that George was but there are similarities between the two.  I’m sure you can find them if you look hard enough.

There is more wrong with the Lions than right…and if they don’t look back at their own dismal history and learn from it, this team will never be any better than mediocre…and I think I am being generous with that.

I’ll still watch and I’ll still cheer…why you ask?  I grew up in Detroit, I was born there so it’s coded into my DNA…and you just can’t fight Mother Nature.


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