This year, however, after a one-win season, the Dolphins control their own playoff destiny and look to knock off the Patriots as AFC Champions.
The Lions, on the other hand, are facing an 0-16 season square in the face and have absolutely nothing to build on.
Still, the Dolphins had nothing either.
They had Cleo Lemon as quarterback and Greg Camarillo as a wide receiver. Yet this season, somehow, they are in the playoff hunt.
If I was owner of the Detroit Lions, here are some of my ideas to get the Lions on the right track to do what the Miami Dolphins did:
Fire Interim GM Martin Mayhew
Yeah, he did complete one of the best Lions trades ever when he received a first-round pick from the Dallas Cowboys for WR Roy Williams. But that does not a career make. Thank him, and move on.
He has been part of the Lions' losing ways for too long. Send him on his way and bring in a winner.
Scott Pioli from the New England Patriots would be a great addition to the Lions' franchise. It's not a new idea, but it shouldn't be overlooked. The Pats are the most successful franchise since 2000. If I were owner, I would give this guy as much money as he wants.
Fire Head Coach Rod Marinelli, Offensive Coordinator Jim Colleto, and Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry
Who replaces these "football" coaches?
Well, there is a surplus of coaching talent available. In my opinion, if the Lions get Scott Pioli, I would then hire Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels of the New England Patriots to come and coach the Lions.
I really believe that, because Scott Pioli is probably going to leave the Pats this year to be a GM of a team, Josh McDaniels will follow him and become the new Head Coach of whatever team Pioli runs.
My new offensive coordinator would be Jeff Rutledge, the current quarterback’s coach of the Arizona Cardinals.
The Cardinals have one of the best passing games in the league, and he could help the Lions passing game settle on one quarterback. Plus, there is no current offensive coordinator who is going to want to come to Detroit, so they have to look deep.
The new defensive coordinator would be Romeo Crennel. Crennel is going to be fired by the Browns this offseason, I can almost guarantee it, and he was a defensive genius in New England. Therefore, Detroit should be welcoming him to the Lions.
Now that the front office and coaching situation is squared away, he is what I would do about that players:
First Pick in the 2009 Draft
Whatever you do, do not draft a quarterback with this pick.
Yeah, Matt Stafford will be on the board, but do not pick him.
With the first pick in the draft, the Lions should select DE Michael Johnson from Georgia Tech.
At first, I was going to say pick Michael Oher out of Ole Miss, but if you remember, the Lions did waste, err, I mean, "use" a first round pick on Gosder Cherilus last season.
I'm going to give Gosder one year to get in shape and prove he is a future offensive lineman before I use my first pick on another offensive lineman.
No, this year I'm going to improve my defense.
The Lions need a defensive player who will make quarterbacks shiver, and I think Michael Johnson would do exactly that.
The second first-rounder, the pick the Lions got from Dallas, should be used on another defensive player. The Lions should select OLB James Laurinaitis from Ohio State. He would be a nice addition to a linebacker corps that already includes future Pro Bowler Ernie Sims.
Later in the draft, Tim Tebow will be available. Now, I do not think Tebow will be a superstar, but I think he could provide some leadership to the Lions, something they desperately need. So with my second-round pick, I would draft QB Tim Tebow from Florida.
One glaring need I think the Lions are overlooking is a second receiver to go on the other side of Calvin Johnson. I think a good option would be possible free agents Jabar Gaffney or T.J. Houshmanzdzadeh. Both provides deep threats, and plus, my plan would already include bringing other NE Patriots here, so possible future head coach Josh McDaniels would want Gaffney.
The Lions would probably run an offense similar to the one in NE, which mean they would need a slot guy—Michael Furrey—and two big receivers—Calvin Johnson and Jabar Gaffney.
I would also, as owner, try to go after some defensive backs and safeties. Veteran safeties Lawyer Milloy and James Sanders would provide some veteran presence, and they're still decent players.
Draft Tebow, release Daunte Culpepper, and keep Drew Stanton and Kyle Orlovsky. That gives the Lions three quarterback going into training camp.
Most likely, Orlovsky will be named starter.
Let him play the first eight games and see how he is there. If the Lions are out of playoff contention already, bench him and play Stanton the next four games and then Tebow.
This will allow the Lions to see exactly what they have at quarterback, and then they could move on from there into the 2010 off-season. One idea many people have suggested is the Lions should go after QB Matt Cassel. However, I just think there are too many teams that want him, and I think the Lions already have acceptable quarterbacks.
Get the Fan-Base Back
The fans left the Lions' side this year. Their games were blacked out and they were the punch line of every joke in America. So, how do you get them back? You give them some hope by bringing in winners like Scott Piloi, Josh McDaniels, and Tim Tebow, but now you have to do something big.
I suggest slashing ticket prices and offering promotions.
Just get the fans back to the stadium by making them save money.
So, what does my future hold in store with for the Lions? I have a future solid trio at QB, RB, and WR with Tebow, Kevin Smith, and Calvin Johnson. I have a strong defensive line and a strong linebacking corps. I also have an improving offensive line.
Like I said, this is simply an idea I would like to see become a reality. But let's face it, until the Lion's real owner, William Clay Ford Sr., resigns or sells the team, the Lions won't be seeing the playoffs anytime soon.