Detroit Lions or General Motors: Who's in Worse Shape?

Jon CallenderContributor INovember 26, 2008

Things are pretty bad in Detroit. Two of the city’s most revered institutions (automobiles and football) are fighting a seemingly losing battle.

The Lions are well on their way to becoming the NFL’s first 0-16 team, while General Motors is a few months away from going bankrupt. Monday, the once infallible automaker announced it was ending a nine-year endorsement deal with Tiger Woods and is so concerned about costs that it has already cut advertising for the 2009 Super Bowl.

So, which of the two is in worse shape?

Poor Management

Is it mere coincidence that the owner of the Lions, William Clay Ford, Sr., is a car man?

While there is plenty of blame to go around in Detroit, it was Ford who hired former president and CEO Matt Millen and stubbornly stuck with him while his teams won a league-low 31 games from the time he took over in 2001 until he was fired in September.

Nothing screams pride louder than a Lion. As long as the Ford family picks the people who make the major decisions for the team in the future, it does not make much sense to expect an immediate change of fortune.

More than likely, GM will be able to get rid of their screw-up higher-ups and start building a product that can compete in tomorrow’s workplace.

Edge: GM


The Lions play in one of the NFL’s weakest divisions, especially given the recent departure of Brett Favre and the lackluster effort seen so far from the Minnesota Vikings.

If there were a year for a group of down-trodden, repeat failures to suddenly rise from the ashes (see Tampa Bay Rays), it would have been this year. Still, they are winless.

GM used to reign supreme over all competition. Now, it finds itself struggling to keep up with foreign manufacturers.

However, the Lions have one very important thing going for them in this category: Japan sucks at football.

Edge: Lions

Possible Bailout

GM’s immediate future lies quite heavily in the hands of a Congress that is none too excited about lending money to people who are stubborn and show poor judgment (i.e. showing up to Washington, D.C. in private jets).

Similarly, at this point the Lions have to place all hope in the NFL Draft. It should be a great year to draft a QB that can actually get the ball to Calvin Johnson.  Plus, with Millen finally out of the picture, the Lions might shock the world and pick a few other players that will not end up injured, strung out, or fleeing the premises with another player’s duffel bag.

Edge: Lions

Sort of Bright Spots

Even the Lions' Roy Williams trade to the Cowboys is bittersweet. While they got rid of a crybaby underachiever in his last contract year for some good draft picks, the realization that this move is the highlight of their season is a bummer.

Edge: Oh, who cares?