A perfect preseason, followed by a perfect regular season,equals history made. The Detroit Lions started the year off with a surprising showing in the preseason, going undefeated.
They were looked at as a team that may have turned things around after years of being in the bottom of the standings.
Going into the first game at Atlanta the Lions were considered heavy favorites by every major sports outlet. They came in against a rookie Quarterback, Left tackle, Middle Linebacker, and Coach. This is where the road to perfection began.
In typical Lion fashion, they picked the fans up and made them feel good, only to turn us around, give us a good kick in the rear, and send us on our way.
In an 0-16 season there are not many highlights to focus on.
A few bright spots, namely, Calvin Johnson, Kevin Smith, and Cliff Avril, give a small glimmer of hope for the future in what was a miserable present reality.
The following is a review of the season, it is a collection of what it should be remembered for:
Despite the Preseason success, the "Fire Millen" fanatics were out in force in week one of the season. It would take a few weeks but they would get their way. They would also find new, more creative, ways to wear bags on their heads.
Jon Kitna had grown quite comfortable on his back with a Lions uniform on. After a few miserable losses the Lions quarterback was "sacked" for good. The Lions placed him on Injury Reserve, effectively ending his season.
Rod Marinelli continues to tell us to believe. He was notorious for giving some of the funniest press conferences in recent memory.
He once described being in a cave and trying to dig out, he could see the light, but evidently decided to dig in the other direction. Thanks for the memories Rod!
Green Bay fans do their best to help the cause. Fire Millen!
Detroit came closest to winning against division rivals, the Minnesota Vikings. The infamous, Dan Orlovsky running out of the back of the end zone for a safety play, will remain a highlight of this historic season for years to come.
The Lions lost that game by, you guessed it, two points.
Calvin Johnson continued to put up solid numbers despite the poor QB play and terrible play calling offensively. His future still looks bright and was one of the few things to look forward to on game day.
Matt Millen seen here in Ford Field. Although he preferred to stay in Pennsylvania most of the time, he did occasionally come up to Ford Field, where he worked. Although I don't believe he ever watched a game, he was once quoted as saying, "Why would I waste my time doing that when I could be finding new ways to suck money out of Ford's pockets?"
Maybe he didn't say that, but I'm sure he was thinking it.
Millen was finally let go and Lions fans could rejoice. William Clay Ford Sr. was now looking for a new General Manager.
Many thought we would land an experienced GM. Instead, without interviews, Ford Sr. hired Millen protege Martin Mayhew and promoted Tom Lewand to team president.
Strange but true, midway through the season the Lions decided to add this guy. He seemed a perfect fit. A Lion that couldn't tackle.Reluctantly, they went with Culpepper.
Kevin Smith was re-inserted into the starting line up half way through the season and began to develop impressively down the stretch. He finished with just under 1,000 yds. on the season and looked to be the future in the backfield for Detroit.
It took them a while but even Vikings fans came to the realization that things weren't going well.
With only a few weeks left in the season, Lions fans found creative new ways to mock the team.
Being out of tears at this point, Lions fans had to show other ways to express their feelings.
Jason Hanson and Nick Harris both had solid seasons. It is a shame Hanson was not the Pro Bowl representative for the NFC. He had an outstanding season and Nick Harris was solid as usual. We are lucky to have such quality stick with Detroit for so many years.
Thank you Jason.
Thank you Nick.
A few fans still wanted to see the Lions lose. I think most people thought they would screw up and win the last game. Who knew they could do something perfect? Even if it is losing.
I think enough shouting has occurred, perhaps it's time to take the next step and put them out of their misery. We are going to need a lot of tranquilizers.
History is made!