Call the Pro Football Hall of Fame, reserve a spot. Prepare to confiscate the football that is in play when the final gun is fired in Green Bay on December 28. Have some thugs on the field to rip the jerseys off as many Lions players as possible, so that they may be included in the ghoulish display in Canton. Open up the case that has all the 1976-77 Tampa Bay Buccaneers memorabilia in it and clear it out. Might as well order up another case, too; we’re gonna need it.
Put Leno on notice. Letterman, too. Set aside at least ten minutes on “SportsCenter” that evening. Roll tape on the dudes from Fox and CBS and the NFL Network and step aside.
Dust off the history books and have them set to the typesetters, forthwith. May as well get a jump on things here. Make sure all the players photos are retrieved from the marketing department — no team photo here. We need mug shots in this instance.
Tell Rich McKay of the Falcons that if he can communicate with his late father, then give him this message: It’s OK, pop — you’re no longer the coach of the worst team in NFL history.
Pumpkin orange has been replaced with Honolulu Blue and Silver. The dashing pirate with the feathered cap has been shanghaied and Bubbles, the rampant Lion, takes his place.
Parnell Dickinson, Larry Ball and Leroy Selmon can breathe again. They’re no longer the worst. Somewhere even Steve Spurrier is smiling. Terry Hanratty, too.
The Detroit Lions have clinched it. It’s theirs, now. All that’s left are three more games, and that’s just because Roger Goodell’s schedule says so. The Lions are a mere 180 football minutes away from making it official.
The Lions dropped another one yesterday, to the Minnesota Vikings this time. It was yet another way to lose a football game — and the Lions like to show them all off, cramming as many ways as they can into any given 16-game season. They could pull off a stunning 4-0/0-16 pre-season/regular season combo. So they’ve also confirmed the hypothesis that the exhibition season means nothing. It can’t mean any more than nothing than to go 4-0 in it, then 0-16 in the regular one.
The Lions are a freight train now, and nothing can slow them as they race into that winless embankment.
Shame on all those folks (read: Drew Sharp) who said that it’s simply impossible to play 16 games and not win a single one of them. I called this one early on — even before September had ended. I looked at the schedule, saw what lie before the Lions, and deemed them worthy of putting together an 0-16 campaign. The most I saw them winning was one game — and the last chance of that came and went yesterday, as the Vikings stole out of town with an unconvincing win — almost as unconvincing as the one they swiped from the Lions in Minnesota.
Now it’s the Colts in Indianapolis, which may be as gory of a bloodletting as the NFL has ever witnessed on one of its gridirons. Then it’s back home to the Ford Mausoleum to be generous hosts to Drew Brees, Reggie Bush, and the New Orleans Saints. Then the finale, in Wisconsin, on the Frozen Tundra, to have snow kicked in their face by the Green Bay Packers, who are anemic but positively robust when compared to the Lions.
How will we react when it’s finally in the books? What do you do after your team goes 0-16? Will the Bucs of 1976 — the expansion Bucs who finished 0-14 on their way to losing their first 26 games — pop champagne, as the 1972 Dolphins did whenever the last undefeated team lost? I sure would, if my status as Worst Ever had been torn from me and placed on the Lions’ jerseys.
The 2008 Detroit Lions — the Worst Team Ever. That’ll be the tag until God knows when. It took the Bucs 32 years to shed the label. It may not ever be removed from the Lions. Can you imagine another team going 0-for-16?
But the Lions can offer up two of the best jobs in pro sports — ever. I’m serious.
The new GM/President/whatever you want to call him has it all in front of him: a loyal fan base desperate for a winner; loyal and generous ownership (to a fault); and the potential of being employed for life. Same goes for the new coach. If someone can come here and fix this — GM or coach, or both — then you’d have to commission someone to sculpt a mini Mount Rushmore in Hart Plaza and carve their likenesses into the granite. The mayor’s office would be one of theirs for the taking. The governor’s chair in Lansing would be within reach, too. Folks would flock to these people, these fixers of the Lions, and ask them to heal their children, find them jobs, you name it. And these football Gods would be able to name their own salaries for as long as they both shall live.
So don’t buy that rubbish that says, “Who would want to come to Detroit? To work for the…Lions?” It’s a dream job, for someone. It’s no surprise, really, that Bill Parcells dialed up the Lions last year. He was rebuffed, but The Big Tuna knew an opportunity when he saw it. This isn’t just a sleeping giant here — it’s comatose. And if someone ever wakes it up and reanimates it, like some 1940s horror movie, then that mad doctor will be cherished in Detroit forever.
It’s a great job — trust me. For someone.
It’s all over now but the shouting and the….whatever you do when a team goes 0-16. Three weeks from now we’ll be doing something — though it’s unclear what that will be. Maybe we’ll all just look at each other and say, “Did that just happen?”
Yes. It did. History is Detroit’s!