Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Welcome to the suck, 2008 edition.

Last year during the NFL season, I wrote about the Miami Dolphins chances to have a winless season and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers futility back in their first campaign back in the 1970s. Long story short, the Dolphins won a game and did not finish the season with no wins.

This season, the Detroit Lions did what the Dolphins could not.

0-16. That's shorthand for zero wins and sixteen losses. That's more losses than even the Bucs back in the 1970s, because the season was only fourteen games long back in the day.

As I wrote in the title, welcome to the suck.

Welcoming the Lions to the suck might not be technically necessary, because the Lions have sucked for some time now. In the Super Bowl era, which means the last forty three seasons, the Lions have been in no league championship games. In the 1990s, they were a middle of the pack team, making the playoffs a very respectable six times, but only winning one playoff game. While they were neither bad nor great during that era, they did have one player, running back Barry Sanders, who is fairly ranked as one of the top rushers of all time, both statistically and aesthetically. Sanders rushed for a remarkable 2,053 yards in 1997, and then retired, a move which stunned nearly everyone. When asked in interviews, Sanders said nearly nothing for years, but finally admitted he was disheartened by the culture of losing that the Lions' organization had come to stand for.

Barry had no idea what was coming next. In 2001, the Lions hired Matt Millen, a former player and broadcaster to run the football operations. If we take the Willy Loman way of looking at things, Millen should have been aces. He was not only liked, he was well liked. Sports reporters had nothing bad to say about Matt Millen. He was smart, he was a motivator, things were looking up for the Lions.

Here is the won loss record for the Lions on Matt Millen's watch.

2001: 2-14
2002: 3-13
2003: 5-11
2004: 6-10
2005: 5-11
2006: 3-13
2007: 7-9

Yes, eight seasons of more losses than wins every season. Steadily and consistently, the Lions were worse than mediocre. The fans howled and begging the team ownership, who also run Ford Motor Company and so are used to mediocrity, to fire Millen. At the end of the 2007 season, the fans got their wish.

So how'd that work out for you guys? Oh, yeah. 0-16. Apparently, there are fates worse than having Matt Millen as head of football operations.

Welcome to the suck.


jolie said...

hey there matty boy, I wanted to say, "here's to a hopeful new year!!" I wasn't much of a commenter for your funny & wonderful postings this year, but I was still reading.

take good care, and I look forward to reading more great stuff from you and learnin' teh maths in '09. maybe you've got a line on good photos to chronicle the inaugural - ??


Matty Boy said...

Hi, Jolie. Thanks for the kind words and Happy New Year bach atcha. I do have some friends who might be at the inaugural, and who knows, they might have some pictures to share, though some are bloggers in their own right.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Matty Boy!

I'm going way off topic here to wish you very happy new year.

Matty Boy said...

Hiya, DCup! Your spouse stopped by my earlier mathy post and I wished him a Happy New Year as well.

Anonymous said...

A blogger wrote me that some guy started printing tees in Detroit that already said 0-16 and under those numbers YES WE CAN! a week before the final game. By game 16 time he had sold over a thousand tees and it no doubt made his season. I saw one fan wearing one on TV. What a hoot! Happy New Year Matty Boy.

Matty Boy said...

I love fans of bad teams who can enjoy the experience. I think it was the Saints fans during their long dry spell that first too to wearing paper bags over their heads to protest the incompetence on the field.