Thursday, January 10, 2008

This Day In History

I occasionally google "this day in history" to get ideas for posts, but today's really caught my eye. On January 10, 1964, William Clay Ford became the sole owner of the Detroit Lions. Since that glorious day, the Lions have won one single playoff game (in 1991). After discovering this, I dug up some interesting Detroit Lions trivia*:

  • After the death of duet partner Tammi Terrell, Marvin Gaye made plans to quit the music biz and play football for the Lions. He trained for his tryout in 1970, but was cut. He remained friends with Lem Barney and Mel Farr, and they both provided backup vocals on "What's Going On," which was released in 1971.

  • Matt Millen's jersey number in the NFL was 55, which coincidentally is also his IQ.

  • Matt Millen's penchant for choosing wide receivers in the first round of every draft is well documented. However, a little known fact is that the yearly draft coincides with Millen's assigned timeshare weekend in Palm Beach. His participation in the draft is usually limited to occasional faxes sent to Lions staffers from the poolside bar, and he often mistakes the NFL draft for his Penn State Alumni Assocation fantasy draft.

  • The last Lions QB selected to the Pro Bowl was Greg Landry, following the 1971 season.

  • The Lions head coaching job is a dead end. Without going too far back, I can say with certainty that every single Lions head coach going back to Joe Schmidt (fired after the 1972 season) has failed to get another head coaching job in the NFL. The Lions head coaching history looks like a virtual "Who's That" of the NFL: Rick Forzano, Tommy Hudspeth, Monte Clark, Darryl Rogers.

  • The Lions are among an ever-shrinking list of teams that have yet to make the Super Bowl (Lions, Cardinals, Saints, Browns, Texans, Jaguars). Only the Cardinals and Browns have been around as long as the Lions. The others are expansion teams.

  • Matt Millen owns compromising pictures of someone in the Ford family. This is the only plausible explanation for his continued employment with the team.

So, here's to William Clay Ford. Due to your football acumen, your Detroit Lions are perpetually positioned precariously on the razor thin line that separates the bad teams from the perennially putrid teams.

*Only some of these bits of trivia are true.


Brandman said...

Shame on you for implying that the Lions are anything but perenially putrid. You obviously grew up in Detroit!!

Kitna just made this season more fun to root against the "Roar" as we all knew there was no way they were going to get to 10 wins!

Here's a great question: worse GM: Millen or Isaiah?

Also, Kornheiser yesterday said the worst NFL franchise (for a head coach) is Oakland, followed by Atlanta. Not Detroit???

Assman said...

That's a tough call. Millen took a team that was .500 or better three out of the previous four years (including 2 playoff appearances) and proceeded to dismantle the team and "lead" them to seven straight (and counting) losing seasons.

Isiah took over a team that was already pretty bad. He did still manage to make them worse though. I think Millen's got him beat.

Hard to argue that the worst franchise for a head coach is Oakland. Al Davis won't hesitate to fire a coach after one year. Most teams, including the Lions, won't go that far. Not sure why Atlanta is number 2 though. I'd say Raiders-Lions are 1a and 1b.

Assman said...

I actually meant to say "it's hard to argue that the worst franchise for a head coach ISN'T Oakland." Oops. It makes more sense now...

princej said...

Wayne Fontes gets a huge belly laugh every football season knowing WCF fired him and has yet to replace him with a better coach. He probably pops a bottle of champaign every year when the Lions are mathmatically eliminated from the playoffs, usually in about week 10. Were you a GROWN (Get Rid Of Wayne Now) or a GROWL (Get Rid Of Wayne Later)? Playoffs? Did somebody say Playoffs?

Assman said...

I was living in Texas during most of his tenure, and his reign preceded the internet boom, so I was not very well informed as to the GROWL or GROWN movements. However, I would probably have been in the GROWL camp. He's available now. According to wiki, he's retired and living in Tarpon Springs, FL - just across the Florida peninsula from Millen's Palm Springs timeshare...

Brandman said...

Mel Farr sang on "What's Goin On?"

"Mel Farr, superstar, for a far-better deal!"

And did you know that Jimmy Connors sang on one of Lionel Ritchie's songs?

What is it with athletes wanting to be rock-and-roll stars and vice-versa?

Brakeman said...

The Lions had the audacity to raise season ticket prices by 18% for the 2008 season. Isn't it punishment enough for the season ticket holders just to renew their seats at the old prices. If the Roar ever makes the playoffs again (when is Wayne Fontes coming back?) I am sure the Fords will double the ducket prices. Jason Hanson for MVP!