Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Lions and Lions and Lions, Oh My!
WARNING: THE FOLLOWING IS NOTHING MORE THAN PARROTING OF CONVENTIONAL WISDOM. THERE WILL BE NARY AN ORIGINAL THOUGHT IN THIS POST.
So the Detroit Lions, coming off an 0-16 season in which they were outscored by 249 points, have promoted Tom Lewand and Martin Mayhew (whose name sounds like it should be that of a carpet salesman) to team president and general manager. Mayhew has been the acting GM since Matt Millen's tenure was mercifully put out of its misery.
Read that first sentence again: The Lions played sixteen games and lost everyone of them. They not only lost, but were more often that not simply buried, losing by an *average* of 15.6 points per game. This is a team for which losing by ten represented a good day at the office. They lost 38-14 to a Jacksonville team that was 4-11 and outscored by 91 points against everyone else. They lost to the Packers twice by a total of 33 points. Green Bay was 4-10 against the rest of the league.
Do you know how hard it is to be that bad? The legendarily-laughable (coach John Mckay was once asked how he felt about his team's execution. McKay quipped, "I'm in favor of it.") 1976 Buccaneers lost all of their fourteen games by an average of 20.5 points, but they were a first-year expansion team in an era when sports leagues treated expansion teams like tornadoes treat trailers. The 1960 Cowboys were winless, 0-11-1, and outscored by an average of 16 points, but they, too, were a first-year expansion team and at least they managed the tie. The '43 Cardinals were oh-for-ten, but kept the average margin under 15 points. Plus those were the World War II years, when all sports leagues were kind of flaky.
Given the degree to which the modern NFL focuses on parity and keeping bad teams from being too lousy for too long, it's not hard to see Detroit '08 as the worst team in modern (say, post-1950) history.
And for this two guys get promoted. God bless meritocracy.