Detroit Lions: The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

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Detroit Lions: The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same
(Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

I settled in to watch the Lions/Browns game with an ice-cold six-pack of Rolling Rock. During my first sip, Josh Cribbs takes the kickoff right up the gut of Lion defenders like a hot knife through butter.

A penalty saves the Lions, and the TD is voided.

The Browns line up for their first drive after the penalty, and five plays later the Browns score a TD. This one stands, and becomes the Browns' first offensive TD since the end of November last year. The final play of the drive is a pass over the head of one of General Manager Martin Mayhew’s free agent acquisitions.

Mayhew was Matt Millen’s right-hand-man for the last eight years, just in case you have been living on the North Pole without Internet access. In January, Mayhew is tagged as a genius guru by the fantasy elite, intoxicated with delusions of grandeur for Team Trauma. 

In the eyes of the fantasy elite, Mayhew can do no wrong. He is the mythical equivalent to Zeus. Every trade or free agent acquisition is a thunderbolt from on high. However, Mayhew has successfully transformed a young team into an old folks home of aging cast-offs that nobody else wants.  

Browns kick off, and the Lions get their first shot with the new the new franchise QB, Matthew Stafford. I take another sip of Rolling Rock as a sickening feeling of the ghost of Christmas past descends into my consciousness as Stafford is standing over his center.  

The ball snapped, Stafford drops back to pass, and he unleashes a dart directly into the hands of a Browns defender. A few plays later, the Browns take the lead 14 to zero.

The cameraman pans over to Schwartz, the new head coach. Schwartz, like all of Ford’s previous coaches, is on his way out the door the moment he is hired.  Coaching for the Lions follows a predictable script. Much like death and taxes, the end game is assured.  

A week earlier, Mayhew is shuttling his sugar daddy Ford Sr. around the practice facility showing off his handiwork and inviting visions of a new leaf turned. Ford soaks it up like a thirsty puppy that has been without water for two days. Such is the case with the recycled saviors Ford finds to run his team.

I am on my second Rolling Rock when the Browns score again.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Halftime rolls around, and I have had my fill. I change the channel to a Mel Gibson film called Ransom. Mel is clocking the character played by Gary Sinise. In real life, I suspect Gary can clock Mel. But such is the nature of film. It depicts fantasy instead of reality.

Suddenly the metaphor hits me. For the last 45 years, the Lions have been run by an assortment of incompetent yes-men who turned the franchise into a movie set, a false front behind which there is an enormous empty lot crossed with shallow graves and broken glass.

Mayhew and his cheap advisers mimic the World Wrestling Federation by deliberately kicking the can down the road using marketing schemes, sleight of the hand, and other delusions to create a movie script and a fantasy scenario.

They make believe something is true when in reality it is false. What this demonstrates is that if enough people sign up and tow the company line long enough, you can make anything appear as what you want it to.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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