Normally, when a team does something colossally stupid in a cost-saving maneuver these days, we chalk it up to the economy and move on. But when it’s the Detroit Lions, well, we get the feeling that this sort of thing’s just bound to happen no matter what the Dow does.
Take the Lions’ draft party at Ford Field this past weekend. They decided to give away some replica jerseys to season ticket holders, which is pretty cool if it didn’t mean the poor guys would now have to wear an 0-16 team’s jersey. The jerseys, it seemed, were customized for Kevin Smith (not him), their 2007 #1 draft choice and future hero in the backfield. But when is a star tailback’s jersey not a star tailback’s jersey? When it’s the old star tailback’s jersey!
The Smith name on the back looked bulky. So they cut it off and were shocked to see the name Jones underneath.
It appears the Lions repurposed some old Kevin Jones jerseys, turning them into Smith jerseys and gave them away to season-ticket holders.
Such is the sad tale of Todd Taylor, a man who lives in Chicago but travels to Detroit for Lions home games. We take this to mean that Taylor has a severe mental condition, because we wouldn’t cross the street to watch the Lions play and neither would you. That, in its own way, makes the Lions’ trick played on him and the other season ticket holders even worse.
And, above all else, seriously? The team that just gave the largest amount of guaranteed money to a rookie in league history to freaking Matt Stafford decides they’re paying for it by slapping some duct tape on jerseys of their draft day failures and drawing on a new name? That’s their plan?
Sure, it sounds good in a board room (”Yeah, we have a lot of old jerseys stocked up, but since these guys’ numbers are the same, we’ll just change the name to the new guy’s, give them as gifts, and we’re cool!”), but when a franchise is spending $100 million on player salary and single-game tickets cost more than a blowjob at the strip club - no, the good one, the one where the dancers don’t have stretch marks - a little bit of professionalism is expected of the company, and it starts by not pawning off secondhand, “refurbished” gear as new.