Detroit Lions: When a Reporter Becomes Synonymous with a Sports Team

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Detroit Lions: When a Reporter Becomes Synonymous with a Sports Team

I was shocked when I heard that Tom “Killer” Kowalski had passed away this morning at the much-too-young age of 51. I understand that Bleacher Report is normally reserved for articles about actual sports teams but for the diehard fans, Killer became synonymous with the Detroit Lions.

I’ve never met Killer but I felt like I knew him well through the way he reported stories. He would bring fans into the locker room through his Twitter account and his weekly chats he held on mlive.com’s website. If you asked me about any other Lions beat writer, I don’t know if I could recall them as easily.

Killer was never afraid of asking the tough questions, especially when the team was horrendous, by providing his commentary and opinions and risking the wrath of players and coaches alike. He was always honest with his opinions and was the go-to reporter during the NFL drafts and Free Agency. What made Killer unique to Lions fans was how he embraced social media—especially Twitter—by readily answering fan questions by the hour.

He would never be afraid to call out a stupid question by a fan but would just as easily make fun of himself.

My favorite part after Lions games that I looked forward to reading was Killer’s “Film Breakdown” articles that would highlight a few plays or drives from the game that weren’t noticeable while the play was happening. This went to show Killer’s vast knowledge of football that goes beyond that of a beat writer and can be likened to the way NFL coaches look at game film behind the scenes.

He also would write articles discussing things that were undoubtedly on fans' minds but the other mainstream media wouldn’t cover. During the season he would often talk in chats about which specific players might interest the Lions in the upcoming offseason or how Calvin Johnson might be upset with the Lions’ record and look to leave if they don’t improve.

Killer wasn’t just a beat writer. He was also a fan who wanted to share his knowledge and access to the team with all other fans out there. Well, Fella—thank you for sharing your work and passion.

Follow me on Twitter at @brettkaplan

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