Detroit Lions Should Fire Someone, Anyone

Jim Schwartz, Tom Lewand, Martin Mayhew

The Detroit Lions are the worst professional sports team in recent memory, and the worst team in all of football in the past decade. Since 2002, the franchise has compiled a record of 51 wins and 118 losses. The team has never won a Super Bowl, their last three NFL Championships came in the 50s, before the term was coined.

In earnest reflection, the Detroit Lions haven’t been relevant since the days when ’49 Heisman Trophy winner Leon Hart played both sides of the ball, and the club dominated the NFC for most of the decade that followed.

The team has been through four coaches, Marty Morninwheg, Steve Mariucci, Rod Marinelli and Jim Schwartz. Not much can be blamed on them, as much of the damage was done to the team by Matt Millen, who was general manager of the team from 2001-2008. A history of repeated gaffes at the draft, and a complete inability to build for the future left the Lions a hapless mess for most of the decade.

Enter Martin Mayhew, who came in as the Lions’ new GM in 2008. Mayhew used high draft picks to grow a nucleus around Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Ndamukong Suh. In 2009, he brought in former Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz to lead that nucleus into a new chapter. The chapter didn’t last very long.

The Lions had a successful 2011 season, going 10-6 and making the playoffs for the first time since 2001. And, here we are now, a year later, wondering who should be accountable for the relapse.

It appears as though nothing has changed. After last year, it seemed the culture of losing was fading. After Sunday afternoon’s laughable performance against the Chicago Bears, the Lions ended their season 4-12. Losing their last eight games.

The surprising part of all of this is that there is no indication anyone is on the hot seat. Not Mayhew, not Schwartz, not the offensive, nor the defensive coordinator. It appears that the Lions organization is once again content to “ride it out.” It is yet another year when Lions fans have only a high draft pick to look forward to.

Mayhew has created a nucleus, but that’s all, and choosing Stafford, Johnson and Suh were no-brainer picks. In everything else, he has failed to build a winning club.

It is another end-of-the-season apathy-fest for the Lions and their fans, with no accountability in sight on either the coach’s behalf or that of the front office.

Perspective: The Chicago Bears went 10-6, and fired their coach, Lovie Smith.

On a day when a cornucopia of coaches and assistant coaches around the league have been given the boot, the Twilight Zone music is once again playing in Detroit.

With a third-string secondary, one viable wide receiver (Megatron, albeit), and a non-existent special teams, the Lions will not contend anytime in the next several years whether or not Matthew Stafford throws for 10,000 yards, and Calvin Johnson jumps over the moon.

Lions owner, 87 year-old Willam Clay Ford Sr. has never appeared to have the wherewithal to turn things around in Detroit, but a team can’t fire its owner, and for the foreseeable future, Lions fans will have to settle for more losing.

The letter of the decade, children, is ‘A’. ‘A’ for accountability, which there appears to be none of in the Lions organization.


4:51 PM: announced that the Detroit Lions have severed ties with positional coaches. The entirety of the article by Anwar S. Richardson reads as follows:

The Detroit Lions have severed ties with receivers coach Shawn Jefferson, running backs coach Sam Gash and tight ends coach Tim Lappano, according to sources.

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Tomas Laverty
Tomas Laverty, frequent contributor to the MLB section, runs a Detroit web design company called Detroit Spaces.