Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Call me a Contrarian but I like the Move

Well it happened. A season of horrific and historical proportions came to a merciful end with the Detroit Lions scoring zero wins against 16 losses. This was an NFL record that no other team will want to match. And the poor Lions can only hope that another team may join them one day in their misery.

The first thing Monday morning the Lions fired the coach and a few of his assistants. Somebody had to fall on their sword and the coach was all to willing. The poor guy was so over-matched and as bad as the team and the players were, I have to think smart coaching can get you a win or two per season.

Unfortunately, the architects of the disaster (or even worse the lackeyz of the architect) were given promotions and put in charge. Their names are Martin Mayhew (the new GM) and Tom Lewand (the new President.)

You can imagine the fan's ire that the owner (the octogenarian recluse William Clay Ford) would keep these guys around. Let's blow the whole thing up and start over, screamed the masses when given their time on sports radio. Myself, divorced from my emotions, am okay with this move and only request they honestly give the very rational reasons for keeping them around and seeing what they can do.

Because the Lions have and will pay A LOT of money to guys who delivered some of the most horrible results in the history of pro sports. They just got done paying Steve Marrauichi $6 million dollars for not coaching their team in 2006 and 2007. Likewise, they will be paying Matt Millen $5 million in 2009 and 2010 to not be the GM. Crazy money. So why not give these low risk, low pay guys left standing a chance to see what they can do.

Also, there is the matter of the new CBA the owners have to negotiate with their players and the real likelihood that the 2010 season will suffer a lockout by the owners. It seems smart not to promise a lot of money to guy you'll need to pay even if the team doesn't play.

In their introductory press conference, the M & L boys did mention Pittsburgh and Philadelphia as blueprints, which I hope they don't really feel is the Lions blueprint. Because if you are a dome team you need to look at the dome teams that have won Super Bowls and there are only two: Indianapolis and St. Louis. Both of those teams had a high-powered offense. So for all the talk of building a big tough defense (which you will need) you need to have offense.

Now if Bill Parcells becomes available you got to take that. He is the only guy that you are pretty much guaranteed a winning team two or three years after the introductory press conference.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Geting Misty Eyed over Joey

There is an interesting piece in a recent New Yorker magazine about the difficulty in assessing what star college quarterbacks will be successful in the NFL. (It actually was about how it is hard to find and evaluate good teachers but that is similar to the hunt for that elusive NFL quarterback.)

It includes an interview with a hardened pro scout who after decades of evaluating college quarterbacks still can't determine to any degree of certainty who will make a great NFL quarterback or who will, more likely, turn into a huge bust.

And he had his kindest words for Joey Harrington.

"I tell you I saw Joey live," he (pro scout Dan Shonka) said. "This guy threw lasers, he could under tight spots, he had the arm strength, he had the size, he had the intelligence." Shonka got misty as a two-hundred-and-eighty-pound ex-linebacker in a black track suit can get. "He's a concert pianist, you know? I really -- I mean really -- liked Joey."

Of course, Joey did have the misfortune of being drafted by the Detroit Lions.