The right people are out there
As I gathered with a few friends for some holiday hoops the other day, one of them said, ‘It’s just as well the Lions will bring back Quinn and Patricia, because they aren’t going to find anyone better’. I was intrigued by this opinion so I asked if he meant that there was no one else out there who could do a better job or if he just meant that the Ford’s were incapable of finding better.
He answered me by saying that he thought the correct answer was ‘all of the above’. The angst this town has with the Ford family and how they have run the Lions goes back several decades and it’s hard to argue over the lack of results.
But I thought it was awfully short-sighted to say that there isn’t anyone out there who could do a better job. One of the truisms in sports is that the next great player, general manager, and head coach are out there waiting to be found.
Before the Pittsburgh Steelers became the team of the 1970s, they were a hopeless organization that had only two types of seasons; bad and awful. Owner Art Rooney tried several times to find the right people to lead that franchise out of the pits of despair and turn them into a contender. Does that sound familiar?
Then in 1969 Rooney hired Chuck Noll as his new head coach. The former Cleveland Browns offensive lineman toiled away from 1960-1968 as an assistant coach for the Los Angeles/San Diego Chargers and Baltimore Colts.
That was the moment the Steelers stopped being a laughing stock and became one of the elite franchises in the NFL. Pittsburgh became the team of the 70s as they won four Super Bowls. When Noll retired in 1991, Bill Cowher took the reins and they continued to be perennial contenders. Cowher led them to two Super Bowls winning one of them.
When Cowher retired in 2006, Mike Tomlin stepped in as the new top dog and has continued to make them contenders with a pair of Super Bowl appearances and another victory in the big game. Winning has bred more winning in the Steel City and now it’s virtually a given they will contend every year.
Quite the turnaround for what was once an abysmal franchise. Meanwhile, the Lions who were the team of the 50s have never recovered from their fall from grace. So how can this franchise ever be fixed?