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One word left for Lions: Futile/Paul Peterson

November 21, 2012
By Paul Peterson - For the Gazette , The Daily Mining Gazette

After more than 50 years of following the trials and travails of the Detroit Lions, I've finally come to the conclusion that only one word describes the organization: Futile.

I am actually old enough to remember the last championship of the Lions in 1957. They demolished the Cleveland Browns by a 59-14 score that long December behind quarterback Tobin Rote and a tough defense.

How long ago was that? Well, Dwight Eisenhower was the President of the country. Elvis Presley was just emerging as the King of Rock and Roll. And Davy Crockett was the hottest thing in the movie theatres and record stores.

Detroit, was at least respectable, in the 1960's.

The original Fearsome Foursome - led by the late and great Alex Karras - could dominate games all by themselves.

The only thng that kept the Motowners from winning a championship during that era were the Vince Lombardi-coached Green Bay Packers. And that was usually by just a margin of few points.

The sale of the team in 1964 to William Clay Ford was hailed by some fans as a good omen. Unfortunately, Ford has been more interested in selling cars than building a winning football team.

After a promising beginning in 1970 behind one-hit wonder quarterback Greg Landry, the Lions quickly denigrated into outright mediocrity.

A long succession of coaches over the next three decades was best typified by Daryl Rogers, who once asked a member of the Detroit media the pointed question: "What do you have to do to get fired around here?"

Even the 1989 arrival of running back Barry Sanders - the top runner ever in National Football League history - couldn't lift the team.

Sanders retired in disgust after just 10 seasons in Detroit that produced just one playoff victory.

There have been some downright dreadful years since, including the one a few years ago that produced a woeful 0-16 mark. That mercifully ended the Matt Millen regime.

A new coach, Jim Schwartz, came in and appeared to offer some hope with a new and revised plan after that.

The Lions finished 10-6 in 2011 and actually made the playoffs. And with strong-armed quarterback Matthew Stafford and gifted wide receiver Calvin Johnson back, the future appeared bright.

Unfortunately, Stafford has often looked like monumental flop Joey Harrington this year. He's been inconsistent a good part of the time, and was especially so in last week's game against the Packers when he overthrew open receivers on several occasions.

Johnson still remains the most dangerous receiver in the game, but he wasn't targeted once in Detroit's final two drives. That's the work of offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, who should have been fired long ago for his ultra-conservative philosophies.

The once fierce rivalry with Green Bay has all but dissolved. That happens when one team wins 21 of the last 24 games played between the two teams.

There's a standing line among longtime Lion fans that if the team should ever make it to the Super Bowl, the world will surely end.

Mayan predictions aside, the world can rest for a few more years.

 
 

 

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