Shocking. The old fucking geezer says that Lewand & Mayhew will return next year. This kills any chance at getting Pioli. Get ready for Charlie Casserly or Rich fucking McKay. I fucking hate this franchise.
OT: Death of a Professional Sports Franchise.
Dead? They're one loss away from immortality. Ford has achieved something that will stand the test of time.
go down in flames.
The Lions are 1 game from it.
The theme from Chariots of Fire is already playing in my head.
when Don Johnson said it to Kevin Costner after firing something like a 15 on the final hole of the US open.
In fairness, the Lions will still be looking for a new GM. Keeping Mayhew as a junior-exec might be wise because he is considered by many in the league one of the bright up and coming front office guys, although, yes, he was around during Millen years, and there is a strong case to be made for getting rid of anyone associated with that. Since he started running things, Mayhew orchestrated the Roy Williams trade, which I think everyone agrees was a good move, brought in Culpepper (meh), and got Kitna out of the picture (necessary).
As far as Lewand, he is not involved in personnel decisions beyond being a cap advisor and contract negotiator. He's more like an accountant. He also holds three Michigan degrees.
The committee will be made up of Lewand, Mayhew and Ford. What are the odds that Lewand and Mayhew will think it necessary to bring in a someone that will be over them? Low, so low as to not exist.
Lewand is more than just a "cap guy." He has been involved in player personnel decisions in the past. He also has the ear of the old geezer. There is a reason why some national football writers (Mike Florio to name one) have suggested that Lewand is a hinderance to success and should be booted out of the organization.
I get that there is no reason to trust anything Ford Sr. does. But let me say this:
The blame for the failures this decade by the Lions are squarely on Matt Millen's shoulders. He's the one who drafted Harrington, Rogers, Roy, etc. He's the one who signed all the Tampa refugees, who couldn't hire a good coach to save his life (well, I think Mariucci is a decent coach, but there were some serious chemistry issues there). You can't put that on Lewand-- the product on the field was all Millen; this is probably why Old Man Ford is hesitant to give the same unchecked power to the next guy.
Lewand's responsibilities with the Lions organization are, in a sense, bigger than roster decisions-- those have been Millen and his coaches.
Matt Millen did not want Joey Harrington, fyi. The old man and Jr. forced that pick on him. (Allegedly, at behest of Tom Lewand & Bill Tobin.)
It's clear you and I can agree to disagree on Lewand's impact on the on-field product. I'm not saying his hands aren't somewhat dirty, but I think you overestimate his influence on roster decisions. I'm sure he gives input, but in the end it's on the GM and coaching staff. In the end I don't think the common fan can say decisively one way or the other, but knowing Lewand's position, I think it's a bit conspiratorial to say he's the problem.
As far as Mayhew, he wouldn't be my first choice. I agree that his tenure as Millen's right-hand man is a fireable offense. However, I think in the limited time he's been in charge he's made the right moves. The Roy trade was fantastic-- he got more out of that deal than I'd anticipated, and thanks to that, we have a truckload of early picks in the 2009 draft, one that goes without saying is crucial to the future of the franchise. I also recall reading how impressed Jerry Jones was by his savviness in getting that done-- take that for what it's worth, but I think it holds some merit. So, as far as Mayhew is concerned, he wouldn't be my first choice as GM (I'd like to see someone new brought in, of course), but I wouldn't dismiss him so quickly either. I'd give him a chance to see what he can do. If the Lions get rid of him, watch how quickly someone else picks him up.
And I think, even after reading the article, that they will likely bring someone new in.
I put the blame on Ford himself. Top to bottom, that organization is seriously lacking something. I cannot tell exactly the breadth and scope of it all, but clearly the failure of the organization is beyond Millen's individual incompetence. To look at the proximal causes (Millen's shite drafting prowess) and say that is to blame instead of the further upstream cause (counterproductive organizational culture and structure) is like blaming the financial collapse on the subprime lending bubble instead of the fact that with a fractional-reserve system of banking, financial busts are matter-of-course.
Back to topic: there is a failure within the Lions to evaluate talent. There are other serious issues, as well, but this one is clear. Millen obviously couldn't do it with his draft/coaching picks, but the Fords couldn't do it when selecting Miller, either. Many other examples exist since the Fords took over. Just wanted to make my pointy-headed point.
The Lions were a perfectly mediocre franchise throughout the 90's before Millen came and blew everything up, only to horribly, epically fail to rebuild. I don't think you can understate just how badly Millen fucked everything up. Ford's failure was in not recognizing that sooner-- if anything, Ford had way too much faith in him.
Can the Fords get this next hire right? Hey, even a broken clock is right twice a day.
1 playoff win in the last 50 years is perfectly mediocre ? They may have no been this bad, but they also had Barry. They were truly awful before the 90's as well. It's the decisions that Ford makes that truly dooms this franchise, trusting in people like lewand to make calls that are beyond his knowledge or job title. If you don't think these same people are to blame for all of this as well, you've been blind to the many reports pinning some of these problems on not only millen but lewand and the likes of all personnel in the franchise.
Bingo. Mike Florio and Adam Schefter have both discussed the pitfalls of having a guy like Lewand in a position of authority in your front office. He's a snake.
If we're passing around blame, let's not omit Rod Marinelli. He's a big part of the problem; just completely ineffective. Anyone could see it coming in that first conference when he stepped away from the podium to demonstrate proper blocking technique. Didn't exactly inspire confidence that this guy was a great mind. Don't get me wrong-- dude was a great D-Line coach in Tampa. But some position coaches just aren't cut out for the head man jobs. And all these old Tampa players they signed... ugh. I think he had a big part in that.
To summarize, I just think you're barking up the wrong tree when you proclaim the 'Death of the Franchise' when they decide to keep Lewand and Mayhew. Millen and Marinelli were the real villains, in my opinon, and they're still going to bring someone in, I think... I hope...
I'm disappointed that Millen was fired when he was. I wish he could be here right now to feel the fire from everyone, fans and media. This is the culmination of his entire tenure, and he got the boot before he could see it firsthand. He's probably in a hole somewhere right now, completely inaccessible to the rest of the world.
I feel bad for Calvin and Kevin Smith. They're both talented and deserve better than this.
It's official, by the way. The Lions handed out a press release to the reporters in the press box stating that both Lewand and Mayhew will return next season, which mean's we're headed for "GM Lite." An old retread like Charlie Casserly or, worse yet, Rich McKay will be brought in and hold a title such as "Player Personnel Director" and will answer to Mayhew and Lewand. In other words, nothing will change.
Why change anything? They're the hit of the NFL! Everybody is talking about the Lions! Woooo..next year they're going to repeat! 0-32!
From Mike Florio:
FORD GIVES PACKERS, BEARS, VIKINGS FANS GOOD NEWSPosted by Mike Florio on December 21, 2008, 6:43 p.m. EST Prior to the Lions’ record-setting 15th straight loss to open an NFL season, Lions owner William Clay Ford, Sr. said that G.M. Martin Mayhew and COO Tom Lewand will return to the team in 2009, possibly in their current roles.
And fans of the Packers, Bears, and Vikings simultaneously celebrated the fact that they’ll continue to reside in a three-team division.
According to Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com, Ford and Lewand and Mayhew will put their heads together after the season and identify a new person to join the front office, but possibly not as a traditional General Manager and possibly not with final say over the team’s personnel.
In other words, the Lions will end up hiring someone whom Lewand and Mayhew will perceive as not being a threat to their jobs.
Sorry, Mr. Ford, but it’s not the way to dig out of the unprecedented hole in which your franchise currently resides. And anyone who knows anything about running a successful football team knows that.
Then again, no one has accused anyone in Detroit of knowing how to run a successful football team, at least not since the late 1950s.
'According to Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com, Ford and Lewand and Mayhew will put their heads together after the season and identify a new person to join the front office, but possibly not as a traditional General Manager and possibly not with final say over the team’s personnel.'
The reason for this, to me, is that they are hesitant to give someone else the unlimited power Millen had. That may not be a bad thing.
What are your thoughts on Mayhew?
To anyone paying attention over the last 40 years, this decision should come as no surprise. Ford has always chosen bean counters over football people to run the Lions — in the late 90s, the Lions brought Jerry Vainisi (who had been an essential part of building the Ditka-era Bears) into the front office, but eventually Vainisi was pushed out in favor of Chuck Schmidt, a financial guy. This is the pattern Ford established from the beginning of his ownership, and it's paid off handsomely. Under Ford, the Lions have put a consistently crappy product on the field, and still idiots show up 50,000+ strong at every home game, clutching their Lions pennants and wearing their #20 jerseys. Every Lions fan who transfers more than a nickel from his pocket to Ford's is every bit as culpable as someone who buys a drink for an alcoholic, because it's the fan's continuing support that enables Ford to continue owning the Lions. If only 10,000 showed up at games, eventually the NFL front office would have to step in because it's not in its best financial interests to have an obviously dying franchise in a major TV market.
I'm old enough to have been a fan of the pre-Ford Lions as a kid in the early 60s, when the Lions were right behind the Packers in the NFL of that time. Henry Ford II gave his drunk incompetent brother Billy Sr. the money to buy the Lions as a sop for not being allowed anywhere near Ford Motor Company, and with just a very few isolated years in that span as exceptions, the Lions have been manifestly incompetent. Ford wouldn't be able to recognize competence if his life depended on it, and don't deceive yourself that Billy Jr. is any different—it was he who pushed the idea of Millen as GM in the first place. They're a family of incompetents, and unless and until they sell the franchise this is what you're going to see. I root for the Bears now.
Wasn't Millen a 'football guy' though? Wasn't that the point of his hire?
no he was not. playing football is not a qualifier. i am not a football guy because i played football.
I'm surprised anyone is really worked up about this. It's the Lions we're talking about. They should be followed for pure entertainment purposes only.
There is a lot of truth in this post.
have never had a true NFL GM...
Millen was in way over his head, knowledge and ability and was hindered by a huge ego, stubbornness, and a lack of understanding into the human psyche.
Chuck Schmidt was a beancounter.
Russ Thomas was a beancounter shill... his death in 1989 was the only thing that got him out of his job.
you have to go back way before I was born to find a real GM...and i have no idea who that is.
Would it be such a bad plan to fire the current chumps and bring in a guy like Floyd Reese to get the team back...give him 5 years, to restore some talent to the team and then he can retire leaving the team in at least a competitive situation?
nope...wont happen. WCF is a complete idiot.
I guess my larger point is this: Changes are being made. Despite what Mike Florio (never heard of him) may write, the Lions are in fact headed in a different direction. Marinelli, Millen, Kitna, Roy, Brian Kelly, Shaun Rogers, and more are gone. This year's draft, in which the Lions not only hold the #1 pick but also several low-round selections (even more if they trade the first pick), could be a turning point. There will likely be a front-office addition. Mayhew may be a gem-- no one can say either way. I'm not willing to write off the future, because to paraphrase Joe Strummer, the future remains unwritten. I'm excited to see what the Lions will do now that the worst is behind them... kinda the same optimism I feel for the Rodriguez-led Wolverines. Glass half full and whatnot.
1. The XFL
2. The Detroit Lions
Those turned out fine...right?....right?
Here is what Jason Whitlock wrote a while back re: Martin Mayhew (link: http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/8606014/10-truths:-A-turnaround-in-De...) :
'Last week I was at the same college football game as the best general manager in professional football, Indy's Bill Polian. At halftime of the Kansas State-Louisville game, I picked Polian's brain about young GM prospects. To my great surprise he was extremely high on Mayhew, who was just promoted to assistant GM in Detroit.
Polian is convinced that Mayhew has a deep understanding of personnel and a tremendous work ethic. Mayhew was one of only four guys Polian identified as a future GM.'
Also: In the Williams trade, Mayhew fleeced the Cowboys for a 1st, a 3rd and a 6th round pick in this year's draft. Thanks to Mayhew, the Lions (and whoever the GM may be) will have 5 picks in the first three rounds. I'm telling you, there may be good cause in keeping this guy around.
Jones would have given anything for Williams because he's insane. The only thing you can get out of that is that he is smart enough to agree to a trade when you are fleecing the other team.
And it's hard for me to believe Polian on that one. Mayhew has been a big part of the single worst stretch in NFL history. Even if by some miracle he is a mediocre GM, Fords keeping him on is still idiotic. Everyone needs to go. This isn't a job for a scalpel, the lions need to break out the chainsaw and go to town on the front office, just to get the stench of the former regime out.
I don't really understand your defense of the organization right now. "They're getting rid of these guys." This is a trend. Things become awful and they start "cleaning house" because thats the only problem in the franchise. We just have to clean house of the bad eggs, the troublemakers, the guys with no talent. They always do this, and always lose. Hell they might not even get rid of Rod Marinelli. What then ?
Did you like how he brought in Caulpepper? I didn't. Did you like how he gave Caulpepper a incentive based deal that would give him 1 mil, even though no one was offering this chump anything? That doesn't speak to me as a very good deal. I don't care if Mayhew is generally highly regarded. He was a part of Millen's team. That's more than plenty to doom him. If he's so good, he'll be fine and catch on somewhere else.
There's plenty good reason to get rid of Mayhew. Like you I'm not big on the Culpepper move. But I'm willing to at least give him a chance in an expanded role-- as a fan, what other choice do I have? And don't worry, they'll fire Marinelli. That was hardly a vote of confidence from Ford Sr. today, a man whose greatest fault may be his blind loyalty.
What set me off on this thread was the Lewand thing. To me, Lewand is so far from blame for the on-field performance. Thinking he is at fault for all the losing is, to me, a misunderstanding of the COO's role in the organization, and an underestimation of the damage inflicted by one Matt Millen. I just think if you're upset Lewand is being retained, you're really getting worked up over the wrong thing. It would be kind of like blaming Tom Wilson if the Pistons suck.
Normally I would agree. Most people's roles are clearly well defined. You cannot sit there and say that the on field product isn't partially his fault though, just because he's a COO, and thats not what they do. Thats true normally, but it's been well documented that Lewand is in fact at fault for some of the problems this franchise has endured. It's been shown that Lewand has been given more decision making and control than his role should alow.
If a McDonald's franchise were making turd burgers, corporate would step in and shut them down.
The Lions have been taking a steaming one on the field for 45 years.
The trouble with the McD analogy is that the NFL is such a golden goose that even the most inept organizations like the Lions are profitable.
The NFL should have a policy. Debate about the specifics, but after a certain defined period of incompetance, the owner should be forced to sell and the team given an expansion draft. You can't have just the draft. Ford and co. would screw that up. Look at the successes of the teams that have formed in the last 35 yrs. I believe they have all at least been to the Super Bowl.
Either move this team or force a sale.
McD's franchises aren't nearly as hard to sell as pro teams.
Selling the Lions would be like trying to sell a Ford dealership right now.
The NFL makes so much money I can't imagine that to be true. A franchise could sell no tickets and still make money. Leave it to profit sharing. If Ford wanted to sell, the team would sell.
Despite the ineptitude and the local and state financial situation, I do not think they would be hard to sell at all. The Lions, according to Forbes, isn't even one of the worst franchises from a financial standpoint.
I think the NFL is right behind porn/hookers and drugs in terms of sure money.
Yeah, you're probably right. I just saw the opportunity for a nice locally parallel simile and jumped at it.
The way I understand it, pretty much all of the NFL team owners "spread the wealth," ironically enough.
I will dispel all naivete with a simple wave of the hand: The ultimate problem with the Lions is from the Ford family. End of discussion in that regard.
What, then, is the solution? I propose a rather unorthodox though -- to be sure -- effective solution. Here it is.
Detroit has a new mayor looking to establish himself in the community as well as rebuild the mess Kwame left behind.
The Fords have turned one of the great institutions of Detroit into a laughingstock and painful embarrassment.
Therefore: The City of Detroit should acquire the Lions using eminent domain. This will solve many problems the city faces. Cue the hummingbirds, sunshine, and pastoral music
To use eminent domain it has to be for the public good. Acquiring the Lions isn't public good, it's public cruel and unusual punishment. It's like tearing down Indian Village for a KwameWorld Theme Park.
"William Clay Ford Sr., with the garbage product he disguises as a football team, actually said he wanted his two-headed front-office team to RETURN next year?"
"Ford wins the prize. He is the worst. He is the biggest problem in this franchise and easily the most maddening. The fact he can contemplate returning anybody or anything from what already has tied the worst single-season losing streak in NFL history is incomprehensible."
The Lions are (presumably) last in attendance. I say presumably because the stats ESPN has doesn't have data for the Broncos or 49'ers. I'm impressed at how close the numbers are, though. So, why would the NFL want to do anything? The Lions are still making their number, so everyone (except the fans) is happy.
I've enjoyed watching the Lions explode over the last two decades, and every time it's obvious that the problem lies further up the chain. It was obvious that whoever hired Millen was an idiot, and that idiot has been in charge since 1964. I won't cheer for the Lions again until 1. Ford steps down or abdicates his control and 2. (dreaming) they play in their throwback uniforms full time.
I doubt it will help, but I sent a letter to the Lions requesting new ownership. I mentioned that I won't be purchasing anything NFL related until Ford sells the new team. I doubt Ford cares about us lowly pee-ons, but on the off chance that thousands of complaints might make a difference, send an email asking him to sell the team.
Detroit Lions, Inc.
222 Republic Drive
Allen Park, MI 48101
Or email [email protected]
I also emailed the NFL telling them I won't be purchasing any NFL licensed product or purchasing any NFL tickets until the Detroit Lions have competent owners.
bump for Oh and 16