And then there was one game left. With a now typically dysfunctional effort bereft of any significant quality, the Lions were stomped by the Saints, 42-7, brining a once proud (well, fairly proud) franchise within a single loss of becoming the first team in history to finish an NFL season 0-16. They are truly the team perpetually followed by a wah-wah trombone player, with one crisis leading into the next.
(You think he knows that’s how many wins his team has?)
Sure, the winless Buccaneers were bad, and last year’s 1-15 Dolphins were pretty dismal, but these Lions just keep getting worse and worse. In a week when many had targeted the Lions for a potential upset (they were playing another team without any playoff aspirations, the pressure is now fully on to find a win, players will be competing to prove they’re worthy of future roles, etc.), Detroit played with an utter lack of urgency or potential, leaving the game’s outcome beyond doubt practically from the opening coin flip.
Making matters worse, Lions quarterback Dan Orlovsky (yup, that’s the same guy who shepherded the UConn program to Division I-A status) said that a number of Lions players had the flu before the game today, proving that when it rains, it pours. And drips. And, well, insert your own body fluids joke here.
(Maybe the Lions would be better off with the “Clerks” Kevin Smith.)
So what’s standing between the Lions and the worst campaign in football history? Just a little old season-finale in Green Bay, where the weather, opponent (you know, that Aaron Rodgers guy isn’t that bad), and dispeptic fans angry at the lack of a playoff berth and absence of Brett Favre will be sure to pull for full-fledged Schadenfreude in the personage of an 0-16 Detroit season.
What’s even worse is that there’s little to be hopeful about in the Lions’ future. The team needs a complete overhaul, both in terms of front office and on-field personnel. The best possible scenarios would probably require a 3-5 year plan to get back to the playoffs, assuming Detroit drafts impeccably and instills a front office that hires a terrific coach and GM. That’s hardly a silver lining to a horrible season, and by the time that happens the few bits of significant talent on the current team — basically wide receiver Calvin Johnson — are all but sure to be gone. See under: Roy Williams.
No matter what happens down the road, at least the Lions know one thing for certain: Barring a sudden uprise next week, this year’s team will go down in history, it’ll just be historic for all the wrong reasons.