Marshall Faulk: His Ignorance Shows Detroit Lions Still Lack National Respect

James Van Etten@jbvanettenContributor IFebruary 16, 2012

CANTON, OH - AUGUST 6:  Former St. Louis Rams running back Marshal Faulk (R) and his agent Rocky Arceneaux pose with Faulk's bust at the Enshrinement Ceremony for the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 6, 2011 in Canton, Ohio.  (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

Marshall Faulk’s recent comments are further proof that although the Detroit Lions are no longer the laughing stock of the NFL, they are far from respected nationally.

The NFL Network analyst was recently quoted as jabbering the following:

Throwing for 5,000 yards in the NFL right now is nothing, I don't want to take anything away from it. As much as people throw the football now, you better have 5,000 (yards) if you have Calvin Johnson. (

Did this guy actually just say 5,000 yards is nothing? Is there no filter from the brain to the lips on this guy?

Matthew Stafford is only the fourth quarterback in NFL history to spin it for over 5,000 yards. The remainder of the quartet—Drew Brees, Dan Marino and Tom Brady—are all sure-fire Hall of Famers and Faulk now deems 5K as the new standard of excellence for quarterbacks?

Oh wait, I forgot; the reason Stafford was able the put up those rarified numbers was because he had Calvin Johnson, the best receiver in the game. At least that’s what they’re saying now.

Go back to the beginning of the year, when Cris Carter took his stupid pills and spewed how Megatron wasn’t even a top-five receiver.

Now, with a franchise-caliber quarterback, Calvin has blossomed into the premier NFL pass-catcher and Carter was forced to eat humble pie during his interview with Calvin, prior to the Monday night contest with the Chicago Bears.

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 11:  Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions drops back to pass during the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field on December 11, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Vikings 34-28.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Gett
Leon Halip/Getty Images

Carter learned the hard way: It’s far better for people to think you’re an idiot, rather than opening your mouth and proving it. Doesn’t Marshall watch his contemporaries?

Here’s the true kicker: These absurd comments are coming from a guy who built his legacy in St. Louis as the centerpiece of Mike Martz’s “Greatest Show on Turf,” receiving endless flare passes and running lanes a Mack truck could drive through, while playing alongside not one, but two Pro Bowl wideouts in Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt.

Beyond that terrific tandem sharing the huddle with Faulk, he needs to look no further than across the NFL Network studio to see another reason his statements are sheer lunacy: former St. Louis Rams quarterback Kurt Warner.

Kurt Warner was the trigger man for the Rams’ offensive orgy and his 2001 campaign was his best passing season, tallying 4,803 yards through the air with 36 touchdowns and 22 interceptions.

Stafford’s 5,083 yards, 41 touchdowns and 16 interceptions are better than Warner across the board and he did it in his first full NFL season. Is Faulk now saying Warner sucked or that Bruce and Holt were losers?

I’m confused. Please, Marshall, explain for the masses.

Should we take back Faulk’s yellow blazer and Canton bust because he played with two of the best receivers in the game and a potential Hall of Fame quarterback while the opposition was backpedaling prior to every snap of the ball?

What this is, quite simply, is lazy journalism.

As Robin Williams unforgettably reminded us all in Good Will Hunting, regardless of how well-read you are, like Matt Damon’s emotionally challenged character, your best point of reference is personal experience.

Let’s recall: Faulk and the Rams came to the Pontiac Silverdome in 2001 and shellacked the Lions on Monday Night Football in a 35-0 national embarrassment. In that game, Marshall Faulk was both the leading rusher and receiver for the Rams, amassing 151 total yards and a touchdown.

In Marshall Faulk’s mind, the Detroit Lions are a losing franchise and had only Barry Sanders during his playing days and now the Lions offense is carried solely by Calvin Johnson.

It’s like going to your high school reunion without an open mind. Before you enter the room, you've classified former classmates as “sportos, motorheads, geeks, etc...” Some prognostications may still be applicable, but after some lighthearted conversation, you’ll find most have matured into somebody more well-rounded—no different than yourself.

Glomming onto the fact that Stafford has a special talent to throw the ball to does not lessen his accomplishment.

I don’t remember Jon Kitna or Shaun Hill being considered for the Pro Bowl when they had their opportunity to throw the ball to Johnson. Why, now, should Stafford’s obvious talents be marginalized?

It’s like the mindless drivel presented by the national media whenever a professional sports franchise from Detroit becomes World Champions, they all go back to the burning of cars after the Detroit Tigers won the World Series in 1984.

Since then, there have been seven world championships brought back to the Motor City without incident. But that doesn’t make for a good story, does it?

The fact is, the Detroit Lions, regardless of their first winning season in over a decade, are still nationally viewed as bottom feeders.

Don’t kid yourself. If Faulk is slamming Stafford (and ultimately the Lions organization as a whole) publicly, imagine what he and other former NFL greats who have made the transition to television and radio are saying about the Lions behind closed doors?

The talking heads that reach millions across the country are no different than you or I. They remember playing in the backyard, impersonating Joe Montana or Walter Payton. But they also grew up, like we all did, with the Lions being perennial losers.

Sure, the Lions had their moments of glory: a few 9-7 seasons or the pinnacle of recent success in 1991 when they finished 12-4 and got trucked in the NFC Championship by the Redskins.

But every successful year was followed up with a losing season. The 1992 season, when Detroit was to become a “Team of the Nineties,” they finished a laughable 5-11.

In this respect, Faulk's innuendo is actually correct. The Lions cannot erase the tarnished legacy of teams that preceded them with a singular winning season.

For Detroit to remove the stigma it so rightfully deserved for several decades, they will need 2012 to be better than 2011 and continue trending upward with successive double-digit-win seasons and stay above the .500 threshold for several years.

To single out Matthew Stafford, though, as nothing more than a benefactor of Calvin Johnson's dominance is not only indolent, it’s ludicrous.

Hopefully, in the near future, Warner can sit Faulk down in the Culver City studio break room and remind him of the many offensive weapons the St. Louis Rams employed during their incredibly successful years.

Additionally, he can jog his memory that the St. Louis Rams were owners of NFC West basement records just prior to their 2000 Super Bowl win.

But it may just fall on deaf ears; after all, the Detroit Lions are nothing without Calvin Johnson, right Marshall?


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