Detroit Lions head coaches: From ordinary to catastrophe
The Millen Era (2001-08)
Matt Millen wears the crown of the worst general manager in all of professional sports. Thankfully, actually sadly, the Detroit Lions allowed him nearly eight years to complete his masterpiece of ineptitude. Here is a breakdown of the Millen head coaches:
- Marty Mornhinweg (2001-02) – 5-27 record (.156 win percentage)
- Steve Mariucci (2003-05) – 15-28 record (.349 win percentage)
- Dick Jauron (interim, 2005) – 1-4 record (.200 win percentage)
- Rod Marinelli (2006-08) – 10-38 record (.208 win percentage)
This is how those eight years added up record-wise:
Overall Millen Era Coaches (2001-08) – 31-97 record (.242 win percentage)
Head coach Steve Mariucci (nicknamed “Mooch”) was the biggest name of the Millen hires. Possibly, the biggest name in Detroit Lions history.
Mooch’s record with the San Francisco 49ers was 57 and 39 (.594 win percentage) from 1997-2002. He made the playoffs four out of the six years in San Francisco, and won three out of seven playoff games.
All of the accomplishments and promise of Mariucci were washed away by his tenure with the Lions. No name as big as Mariucci has agreed to take the job since.
The failure of this era falls squarely on Millen, who was unable to procure talent. Millen did leave an indelible change on the franchise. The Lions were no longer middle-of-the-pack mediocre, they were now an incompetent laughing stock.
That incompetence included 24 straight losses on the road at the beginning of the Millen era from 2001-03. Plus, for good measure, Millen oversaw a zero win season at the end of his tenure in 2008. The former is still an NFL record, and the latter was just matched this past season by the Cleveland Browns.
One thing was for sure, the group after Millen would have their hands full in terms of rebuilding.