Detroit Lions And Ken Whisenhunt, What Happened?


Jan 12, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt in the first half against the Denver Broncos during the 2013 AFC divisional playoff football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Denver defeated San Diego 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Things have turned for the worst for the Lions and their fans regardless of whether you were for or against Ken Whisenhunt as the next Detroit Lions head coach.

Ken Whisenhunt, the coach the Lions reportedly were ready to make a deal with has chosen the Tennessee Titans over the Detroit Lions, who were presumed favorites because of their roster that is “ready to win now.” Digging deeper into the situation, if Whisenhunt was indeed the Lions “favorite” candidate, then how did they let him slip away?

The Lions have a franchise quarterback in place, something that’s still a big question mark for the Titans, the best wide receiver in the NFL, a dynamic running duo, and a young offensive line with a huge upside. Whisenhunt, an offensive coach, should have been smitten at an opportunity to coach that offensive group, but instead chose a team with more question marks across the board.

That leads to the question that many Lions fans are asking themselves, why?

There are only a few logical answers. Either the interest wasn’t reciprocated by Whisenhunt, the Lions weren’t aggressive enough, or the deal the Titans offered him was much too sweet for what the Lions could afford.

I find it very hard to believe an offensive minded coach like Whisenhunt didn’t want to coach a group that many have called “the best job available” and “Super Bowl ready,” so it’s probably safe to say we can eliminate the first theory.

However, the second and third theories could be legitimate. We don’t yet have the details about what went on Monday, but we do know Whisenhunt was squaring things away with the Chargers before his depart.

Logic would say that the Lions had very minimal contact with Whisenhunt throughout the day, which would be a good reason why they planned on sending a plane to San Diego this afternoon, and that the Chargers were aggressive and had a deal in place. If that was the case, the Titans, in all likelihood, made a deal Whisenhunt couldn’t refuse.

If you’re a Lions fan you’re probably frustrated and you should be. The “sexiest job on the market” has missed out on the last tier of “A -listers” such as Lovie Smith, Bill O’Brien, and now Ken Whisenhunt, who was thought to be the best fit.

Not all of the blame should be placed on Lions ownership, because timing affected each domino.

The Texans had a four week head start on every other NFL team and therefore got their guy. Lovie Smith had ties to Tampa Bay and interviewed with them first. Then, they signed him before any other team could. As for Detroit? By NFL rules they couldn’t interview Whisenhunt and sign him, because the Chargers were still in the playoffs. Unfortunately, that opened the window for a team like the Titans to swipe him up from under the Lions feet.

I just wonder what message ownership sends to their players now that they have missed on what was likely their top three choices in Bill O’Brien, Lovie Smith, and Ken Whisenhunt.

For the players, for the fans, and for the organization, it is certainly hard to be optimistic in the most critical time the organization has faced in the last decade.