Monday, December 29, 2008

Biggest Mistake Lions Can Make Is Being Paralyzed By History

So it's in the record books; may as well be chiseled there. It's history, made in living, gory color. Mission: Now Possible.

You can literally say that it's easier to go 16-0 in the NFL than 0-16, because the Lions pulled off the latter one year after the New England Patriots accomplished the former.

0-16. Put it in there with 714, 56, 17-0, .406, 72-10, and any other famous sports number that you can think of. They'll be talking about this one for years, decades probably.

The Tampa Bay Bucs aren't off the hook yet, though. Remember, they lost their first 26 games before winning. The Lions have "only" lost 17 straight. So come on back sometime next late-October and see how that's shaping up.

The Lions went winless. For an entire season. In today's NFL, built on parity and designed to reward blind squirrels on occasion. Flip through the records since the NFL-AFL merger of 1970. You'll find that even the most wretched teams win two, maybe three games. Some indeed have only won one. But they did win.

So where were you when it happened? Do you remember what you were wearing, who you were with, what you were doing, when the final seconds ticked off the clock in Green Bay yesterday? Chances are that you still will, ten, twenty years from now. It's the Kennedy Assassination moment of the NFL. It's a story that you will retell, to your grandkids, and any other wide-eyed person who wasn't old enough to remember this.

But you know what? Who cares?

There's nothing anyone can do about it now. 0-16 is there, and always will be. But next year is another season. Look at the Miami Dolphins: 1-15 in 2007, divisional champs in 2008.

The Lions' biggest mistake won't be that they went 0-16. It'll be if they get paralyzed by history, and assume a deer-in-the-headlights mentality.

Pick yourself up off the road before you get run over again.

That's why this off-season will be the most critical in the team's history. The legacy of Bill Ford Sr. and his football franchise won't be that they managed to finish an entire season sans a victory. It will be, What did they do about it? How did they react? What happened after they bottomed out?

I don't think too many of the Lions fans will care about 0-16 if the team pulls itself up and gets serious about making sure nothing remotely like this ever happens again. It'll start with the hiring of a new football man, obviously. And a new coach. In that order. The drumbeat for Bill Parcells has already begun, in the wake of the news that Parcells can become a "free agent" upon the completion of the sale of the Miami Dolphins; the Big Tuna can walk after such a development.

But whether it's Parcells -- and nothing would wash away the muck of 0-16 like that kind of news -- or someone else, it'll be the first step in the healing process.

Congress isn't an option, but SOMEONE'S gotta fix this mess

I know, I know -- this is Old Man Ford we're talking about. The guy who implied that no Earth-shattering changes were headed the Lions' way.

Don't be so sure.

Those infamous comments, spoken before the Lions' game with the Saints a week ago Sunday, caused a furor, and I can understand that. But at that point, 0-16 was still not a reality, though it appeared to be a certainty.

Things sometimes change when the cold, harsh reality sets in.

Not even Ford can shrug off 0-16. I know many of you won't agree with me when you read that, but it's what I believe. If Parcells indeed opts out of his Miami deal, he just might receive a call from Ford. I know you might not agree with that, either, but again, my opinion. And the Parcells news hadn't been reported when Ford made his comments to Tom Kowalski on Dec. 21.

All I'm saying is, let's wait and see what the Lions do in the coming weeks, for THAT will be the time to start writing the legacy of the 2008 season.

When you seemingly can't get any worse -- and that's what 0-16 screams -- then what are you gonna do about it?

Ford hasn't been unequivocally the worst, factually, until now. Let's see what the old guy does in reaction.


Anonymous said...


Looks like Ford shrugged off 0-16. Remind me again why I still follow this sad sack of a franchise?

Baroque said...

Sometimes when you hit rock bottom, you bounce back up and start climbing.

And sometimes, apparently, you hit rock bottom and stay there twitching like a dying cockroach.