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Football Tue Nov 18 2008

Footballic Ramblings: The Curious Case of the Detroit Lions

For those faithful Bears few who, in spite of their own better judgement and maybe, just maybe fueled by one-too-many Old Styles, hold hope for the Bears to claim the NFC North crown, the playoff berth that comes with a division title and the inevitable thrashing at the hands of "Insert-New York Giants or Carolina Panthers-here"; take a moment to forget the ugly thrashing of Sunday and consider the lowly Detroit Lions. Detroit, a franchise that has not had a winning record since 2000, is now seriously threatening to have an entire season without a win.

Beyond the cerebral cortex-scorching notion that a team, in this age of NFL parity, could go winless, the Lions have not even been close in their season-long march towards oblivion. The Mo-Town Leos have been incredibly inept in even attempting to stay in the game, week in and week out. They've held a fourth quarter lead in a mere three games and, of course, have choked away every lead. For the season, their offense is ranked 28th in the NFL; and, remarkably, that is the statistical highlight as the Detroit defense is 31st out of 32 teams, giving up a healthy 401.7 yards per game.

To look at the Lions atrociously blasé roster is to merely nick the veneer of teak covering a coffin of despair forged from penny nails and feces. The lackluster offense helmed by, all ready, 3 different quarterbacks this season, has one bona fide star in the form of Calvin Johnson, the freak-of-nature wideout who defies both the laws of physics and Detroit fans' expectations, in that, Hey! he scores touchdowns. From top to bottom, the roster reads like a NFL in memoriam, a depleted lineup of burnouts, wouldbes and could'ves, the gauntlet of former Big Men on Campus and current-professional POWs, testament to the gallingly, terrible management and draft day "knownothingness" of former President/CEO, Matt Millen.

And with this current roster, the "brainchild" and culmination of Millen's drafting of wideouts in the first round 3 of 4 years and doing nothing to ever patch up a rank defense, Detroit is now a mere six! losses away from being the first team to ever post an 0-fer season since the League moved to a 16 game schedule in 1978. A peripheral glance at Detroit's schedule reveals that, indeed, this feat is very much within grasp and if the Lions can simply keep their heads down and focus on the task at hand, uhh, in this case, LOSING history shall be theirs! All six teams remaining on their schedule have a .500 record or better, with mighty Tampa Bay and Tennessee up first. Following Thanksgiving divisional rival, Minnesota, swings by and a trip to resurgent and vastly underrated (by me) Indianapolis follows that, before closing out the season with New Orleans and NFC North front-runner, Green Bay.

Yet, this hope for history, this drive for infamy, strikes hollow and makes me nervous. I've seen other Detroit franchises come close to all-time ineptitude only to spurn their moment of glory for abysmally-but-not-record-setting pungency; and, yes, I'm talking about you, 2003 Detroit Tigers. So, please, if you're reading this, Detroit Lions, go winless, if not for you, for me.

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