James Morisette. 30th May, 2006 - 4:47 pm
During the course of the past half-dime seasons, the Detroit Red Wings, Pistons and Shock have consistently blessed the City of Champions with excellent play on its respective fields of battle. Since 2001, Steve Yzerman and Co. achieved an astounding 205-74-39 regular season record and earned one Stanley Cup Championship. Chauncey Billups and Co. accumulated an impressive 254-156 regular season record and earned an NBA Title, and Bill Laimbeer and Co., although struggling to find its identity during the ?01-?02 seasons, bounced back to win the 2003 WNBA Championship.
And now, as June lurks on the horizon, Jim Leyland and the Tigers not only boast the best record in baseball (35-15) but it also leads the majors in pitching for the first time since 1984 when Sparky Anderson and Co. won the World Series. While it is true there are plenty of games to be played, leaving time for many things to happen, it is good to see the Motor City giddily excited to watch baseball for the first time in more than an decade.
This leaves the Detroit Lion franchise. During the past five NFL campaigns this always-underachieving laughingstock has accumulated an abysmal record of 21-59.
The Lion organization seemed to hit rock bottom last season when, after missing the playoffs for the eighth straight season, thousands of Lion fans expressed its displeasure with owner William Clay Ford Jr. and General Manager Matt Millen by staging street marches, launching sign waving protests inside Ford Field during home games, and even going as far as wearing the opposing teams colors in an effort to provoke change in leadership and direction of the franchise.
Shortly after the disappointing season ended, Ford Jr. responded, not by firing Millen as many Detroiters desired, but by firing Steve Mariucci and most of his staff and hiring hard-nosed, long time Tampa Bay Buccaneers assistant coach Rod Marinelli. Ford also hired St. Louis Rams Super Bowl winning offensive guru Mike Martz and Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl winning defensive specialist Donnie Henderson.
In the brute opinions of many in Motown, Marinelli, Martz and Henderson have absolutely no excuses for failing to turn this talent loaded but discipline lacking franchise around quickly. The way things are looking now these three men are doing all they can to accomplish this feat.
Marinelli and Co. seems to have brought toughness, a sense of urgency, and a no-excuses mentality with them to Motown. But as refreshing as these characteristics may seem, Lion fans have heard tough pre-season talk and walk before from each and every one of Marinelli?s predecessors.
At this point to Lion fans, talk is cheap. Action is paramount.
In other words, it is imperative that Marinelli and Co. quickly reverse the engines on its football ship heading towards the Port of Peril, change course, and head towards the same city as its Motown counterparts ? the City of Champions.
And they must do it quickly before their ship runs out of fuel, rusts beyond repair and sinks to the bottom of the ocean of eternal hideousness.