As a lifelong Detroit Lions fan, the 2012 season that mercifully came to an end yesterday was by far the worst ordeal I’ve had to survive as a fan of this franchise. Considering that this team’s name is synonymous with losing in the NFL, that’s saying something, folks. Last year spoiled me. For once, WE were the team pointing our fingers at the other team and laughing. Before last year, losing was kind of expected, so it didn’t really bother the loyal Lion fans too much when they lost. Hey, it’s the Lions, what did you expect?
Dec. 16, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz talks with NFL head linesman Ed Camp (134) and side judge Joe Larrew (73) during the first half against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
What made this year really hard to watch was that for the 1st time in maybe forever, The Detroit Lions were invited to the Big Boy party under the NFL tent. All eyes were on them as they entered with the bright lights shining and the cameras clicking. Ladies and Gentleman, The Detroit Lions have arrived! Everything looked great – until they started playing the games. The Lions had the look of an over-matched fighter who had no chance of winning the bout. His only goal is to not get knocked out. The last eight games were brutal to watch as it always seemed like their goal was not to dominate, but to survive. From the coaching staff on down, the swag from last year had totally disappeared. I really didn’t expect to see another 4-12 record from the Lions for at least a decade. Silly me, I should have known what to expect – it’s the Lions.
The problem was that the team actually thought that they had earned some kind of respect. Not after giving up miles of yardage in the last two losses last year to the Packers and Saints. But you couldn’t tell the Lions that. They were very proud of the fact that 21 of their 22 starting players were coming back. I never saw standing pat as some kind of achievement. It’s the easiest way to do business and the laziest. They drafted like they were defending Super Bowl champs, with no sense of urgency in any of the picks.
As this story is being written, stories are swirling around that the Ford family is upset with the direction that their franchise has taken, with the losing and their players names showing up on police blotters. After only one year after signing a contract extension, Jim Schwartz’s job as Head Coach is in serious jeopardy. To tell you the truth, if they canned Schwartz today, I wouldn’t blame the Fords one bit. Let me ask you this question, do you trust him to turn around this team’s lack of focus and discipline problems in one short year?
This is going to be one of the most tumultuous offseasons in Lion’s history. They won’t be standing pat this year. The Lions need upgrades at almost all of their positions, offense or defense. With 24 unrestricted free agents, the Lions will have to be very judicious in who they ask to come back. This is the offseason that General Manager Martin Mayhew is going to have to earn his keep in his signing of free agents and trades. The whole front office should be under the same microscope that Schwartz now finds himself under.
The offseason craziness starts today with five-and-counting head coaches fired already on this black Monday in the NFL. Lets see if Jim Schwartz is still the Head Coach of the Lions by tomorrow.