Sports VIEW



After their recent 37-25 defeat of the NFL’s Washington Redskins, perhaps it’s time to sit down and have a rational discussion about the Detroit Lions, who stand 2-6 after nine weeks of play. Now, I’m not looking to wade through the usual turds of wisdom that most fans drop into the toilet of eternal toil year-after-year. There is no unwarranted optimism from where I stand, and the nonsensical hope for a better tomorrow is one that wore thin decades ago. For some reason many, many people seem to see something that simply isn’t there, leading to wild outrage when fans put their faith in a team that’s been disappointing longer than most of us have been alive.

One common thread to the annual unraveling that is the Detroit Lions is the Ford family. For example, with the exception of Steve Mariucci, I’ve always thought the team was looking to hire the best people available based on the incredibly low salary they pay, which would explain how and why Matt Millen was allowed to hold the organization in a near decade-long stranglehold as we in TV land had to wait years for the stench of his emptyheaded, ego-driven reign of terror to fall by the wayside. Not allowing “The Mooch” in on the draft process is what sealed it for me, thereby solidifying the effects of a tremendously embarrassing time period for one of the all-time losingest sports franchises.

The law of averages had to take over at some point, though. Eventually the sun even shines on a dog’s backside, so while past failures-in-waiting like Marty Mornhinweg, Rod Marinelli and Bobby Ross never really stood a chance and probably just went on the interview in preparation for a real position with another squad, it was only a matter of time until the Lions screwed up and hired someone that could actually do the job. Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure when the front office hired Jim Schwartz they figured he’d crash and burn like all the rest under the scrutiny of a roster devoid of talent and a front office lacking in common sense.

Luckily, several major personnelchoices since Schwartz came to town from Tennessee have been no-brainers, including Matthew Stafford and Ndamukong Suh, picks made evident by the Lions’ ever-present top-10 draft

status. I still refuse to beleive in any part of the organization outside Schwartz’s control, though, a decision based on all the Thanksgiving Day massacres I’ve learned to now avoid like the plague even in the unacceptable face of the all-annoying alternative; talking to my family.

Seriously, football and the holidays are supposed to walk hand-in-hand with one another down the aisle of marriage that is American life, and I’m sick and tired of listening to my wacky uncle wax philosophical because the on-screen action is so horrific even a mother would abandon it. The Ford family should literally give Jim Schwartz the

key to the executive washroom

then get the hell out of the building. Otherwise it’ll be another 50-plus years before this team has even the slightest of championship notions.

Role models

Now that Jamarcus Russell is unemployed, the NFL’s fattest quarterback, Donovan McNabb, is struggling badly. While some say the signal caller has been lagging ever since he arrived in our nation’s capital this past offseason, it didn’t become glaringly obvious until several weeks back when he was pulled at the end of the Redskins recent loss here in Detroit. Since then a myriad of accusations have been bandied about regarding what exactly McNabb’s deficiencies actually are, ranging from out of shape to an injured hamstring. Now the claim is that the Syracuse grad simply doesn’t know the Washington playbook, a shot McNabb doesn’t seem open to.

Now the 4-4 Redskins are getting ready for their second annual matchup against division rival Philadelphia on Monday Night, a homecoming for the longtime Eagle that probably now seems every bit as tumultuous as the tour of duty he served there. McNabb’s never been a slim guy. In fact, he helped start the trend of putting big men under center, which maxed out with the 260-plus pound Dante Culpepper during his time with the Minnesota Vikings. As a modern day gunslinger at the end of a wildly successful career, I just hope he doesn’t tarnish his legacy like Brett Favre because responsible role models like McNabb are a rare commodity.

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