I never ever believed though, after all those years of watching missed tackles, dropped throws, crappy quarterbacks, stupid penalties, loads of field goals that should have been touchdowns (the Lions have always had great kickers) and just plain bad football that it could get worse. I remember going to the games, sitting among legions of Bears, Vikings, or Packers fans at the Pontiac Silverdome, hoping for a day when I could sit among my own kind and cheer. Team CEO and general manager Matt Millen ruined all hopes. It takes a very rare talent to take a long history of mediocrity and turn it into a total unmitigated disaster. Very rare.
Letâ€™s give the man his due:
- The overall record since Millen took over in 2001 is 31-84. Watching the Lions play all of those years, Iâ€™m wondering how they pulled off 31.
- The Lions went three years without a road victory from 2001-2003, the only team in NFL history ever to do that.
- Three first round draft picks, Charles Rogers, Mike Williams, and Joey Harrington not only didnâ€™t work out, but they are no longer in football. (Harrington was recently released by the New Orleans Saints, five days after signing him.)
- Three coaches were part of this era, each with winning percentages of .156, .349, and .286 percent respectively.
- There were no division championships, although they havenâ€™t won one of those since 1993, long before Millen did damage.
- They never had a winning season.
- They never finished higher than third.
- Playoffs? Um, no.
- Fans not only chanted â€śFire Millenâ€ť at Lions games, but at Red Wings, Pistons, and Tigers games as well.
- The highest scoring player in the entire era is Jason Hanson, whoâ€™s the kicker.
Is there hope for us long suffering fans since Millen is now among the unemployed? Thereâ€™s still a primary culprit of all this shameful history and thatâ€™s the owner, William Clay Ford. Ever since he took over the team in 1964, the Lions have won a total of one playoff game. He gave Millen a five-year contract extension in 2005, right around the time that fans were all spewing outrage over the man having a job. He was convinced that Millen was the man for the job because he liked him, riding with hopes that Millen would eventually rise the team back to their glory years of mediocrity.