It was an absolutely frigid Tuesday morning even by Detroit standards. When I woke up on January 28, 2014 I thought it would be a day like most days even if the outside thermometer on my car read -6 as I loaded my 11-year-old beagle into my two-door coupe for a visit to the veterinarian.
A couple of weeks had passed since the Lions had hired Jim Caldwell to replace Jim Schwartz as their head coach but that was the furthest thing from my mind at the time. I was on my way to take Chili to a specialist to find out why, for the last few weeks, he had been pissing out blood.
Our regular vet presumed it was a kidney stone, but that we needed to go to a specialist for an MRI to discover exactly why the snow outside our house was now beet red.
So there I was at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services off of Lake Orchard when I noticed an email to my DetroitSportsRag@Gmail.com address from the Allen Park Police Department ….
While waiting for the results from Chili’s tests, I received THAT. Please give me a call about a Detroit Lions issue. From a detective in the Investigative Services Bureau.
WHAT?!!?! A Lions issue? I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what this was about so I emailed the officer back and discovered that this was regarding a Tweet I had sent weeks earlier. At that point I turned the matter over to my attorney Peter Arvant in an effort to alert the Allen Park cops and/or the Lions that I wasn’t about to be bullied by them.
While my lawyer called the officer to get to the bottom of this nonsense, the vet walked backed into the examination room and apologized for having to tell me that Chili didn’t have a kidney stone.
Nope, he had a malignant tumor in his bladder that would kill him in the next 90 days if we didn’t start chemotherapy immediately. And even treatment would only extend his life by 12 months at best … This cancer was definitely going to eventually kill him.
Later that day I received confirmation from my barrister that the team had called the cops out to their practice facility to report the following Twitter interaction as a death threat …..
At the time, Chrissie Wywrot was the managing editor of DetroitLions.com. She eventually left that position and is now selling the pyramid scheme Rodan + Fields to her Facebook friends …..
Anyway, the Lions organization called the cops on me OVER AN OBVIOUS joke. And they knew it wasn’t serious because their president, Tom Lewand, was a Twitter follower of mine.
Now, a lot of DSR readers think it was that incident that led me to declare a Jihad on the Detroit Lions organization, but that’s not exactly the case. I didn’t fully complete my heel turn on the franchise for another two years — although this harassment did place me on the precipice.
It was actually the decision to retain Caldwell AFTER Bob Quinn had replaced Martin Mayhew as the team’s GM that was the final straw. Due to Martha Ford’s love for her comatose boyfriend, I’ve never for one second believed that Quinn had full autonomy to pull the plug on the Caldwell regime.
In fact, my history with the Lions is as follows. I was a diehard fan of the franchise from birth until July 27, 1999. That was the date Barry Sanders faxed his retirement announcement to the Wichita Eagle. Before #20 quit and headed for a London vacation due to William Clay Ford, Sr.’s ineptitude, I lived and died with the Honolulu Blue and Silver.
I was such a rabid Lions fan that I’d have a difficult time sleeping on Saturday night in anticipation of Sunday’s game. But the combination of Barry quitting, Bobby Ross’ ultra-conservative coaching and the infamous decision to pass on Randy Moss for a midget corrnerback (Terry Fair) absolutely murdered by fandom.
I declared on that summer day in 1999 that I would never pay another cent to attend a Lions game while Fredo Ford, Sr. was in charge of the organization.
And over 18 years later I have lived up to that commitment. I went to one Thanksgiving Game on a pair of free tickets from a friend because my wife wanted to see Ford Field, and attended another wearing the following jersey ….
That was a free ducat experience as well.
But I never openly rooted against the team until the 2016 season. I even had momentary positive thoughts when Martha and her daughters axed Mayhew and Lewand and replaced them with Quinn and Rod Wood, but that glimmer of hope was quickly extinguished when Caldwell was kept on.
At that point it looked like business as usual — with the only thing changing being the Ford Women ridding themselves of the Bill Ford, Jr. loyalists in the building in an apparent power play. Nothing personified Same Old Lions to me more than a 90-year-old woman convincing a longtime New England Patriots executive to keep the ex- horrible in-game manager of the Indianapolis Colts.
And trust me, I’ve had fun trolling the Lions for the last couple of years. The material is endless. Hell, even last night I was still having fun with this organization’s putrid record over the last six decades ….
That Lions jersey looks like it was in that awful Matt Damon movie “Downsizing.” https://t.co/Wu2zVEwMjx
— Jeffrey Moss (@JeffMossDSR) January 14, 2018
But today I am announcing an end to the fatwa. I recently hinted that if the Lions hired Matt Patricia to replace Caldwell I would drop the grudge against the team … and now it is official. It’s over.
To be honest, all I’ve ever asked of the Lions is competence, but they couldn’t even clear that low hurdle. In the history of the Ford ownership they’ve NEVER employed a GM/Head Coach combination that any other franchise would be envious of.
They went from Fredo’s alcoholic golf drinking buddy (Russ Thomas) to his accountant (Chuck Schmidt) to an incompetent broadcaster (Matt Millen), Then, when they fired Millen — after giving him an extension following the fanbase’s marching on Ford Field for his lynching — they hired his first lieutenant (Mayhew) without even conducting a search — much to the chagrin of the NFL.
The only reason why it wasn’t the second violation of the Rooney Rule under Ford’s ownership was due to Mayhew being an African-American. Fuck, they had Senior’s attorney’s son (Lewand) making football decisions, for Christ’s sake. And if you think having input on the salary cap isn’t football related, I can’t even discuss this with you.
And Lewand’s “cap management” led to the best defensive tackle they’ve ever employed (Ndamukong Suh) leaving town for nothing. And Lewand made Russ Thomas look like a teetotaler by comparison.
And where is that guy now? Running the business side of the Falcons or Vikings? Uh, no. He is in charge of a company that sells overpriced watches.
Until Quinn was hired, the Lions never once had a GM during the Super Bowl era that any other NFL team would have hired. And then they hamstrung him with the Caldwell ordeal.
But those days will be over the second the Patriots either win ANOTHER Super Bowl or they are eliminated (yeah, right.) The tag-team of Quinn and Patricia will give the Lions their first legitimate management team since George Wilson was manning the Briggs Stadium sideline.
According to reports, Patricia is choosing to come to Detroit while the Giants are interested in hiring him as well. The Lions are actually getting a coach who is also being pursued by a respected franchise that has won four Super Bowls. Not to mention the Giants are allegedly the preferred choice of his wife who is from the East Coast.
For an organization that has employed the following GM/Head Coach combos:
Russ Thomas/Darryl Rogers
Chuck Schmidt/Bobby Ross
Matt Millen/Rod Marinelli
Irwin R. Schyster/Brookyln Brawler
Ok. I made that one up.
The point is that the team is about to employ a GM that helped build the Patriots dynasty and an aeronautical engineer. The importance of this cannot be overstated..
Look, this franchise hasn’t been under some curse placed on them by Bobby Layne. Nor was some sort of whammy put on them because William Clay Ford, Sr. became sole owner on the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated…Something Ford HIMSELF suggested while he was still alive.
Jinxes and curses and voodoo aren’t real. Complete incompetence leading to hiring your inebriated golfing partner, the dude who should have been doing your taxes, and your son’s childhood buddy to compete with John McVay, Bill Belichick and Ron Wolf is, though.
Will it be a seamless transition back to supporting the Lions? Can I refrain from making jokes like: the Lions have employed more quarterbacks in the post-merger era that have attempted to commit suicide (Erik Kramer and Eric Hipple) than they’ve won postseason games?
Will I be able to help myself from noting that the Jacksonville Jaguars didn’t enter the NFL until THREE YEARS after the Lions last playoff win and they’ve now been to THREE conference championship games in that time??????
It’s not going to be easy. Just yesterday I was discussing the coaching vacancy with a friend of mine who has been a lifelong supporter of the team and was 4 years old the last time they won a championship.
His comment on the hiring of Patricia? That he needs to shave his beard off, lose the pencil and dress better.
No, it’s not going to be easy assimilating, especially with Bill Keenist still employed. Red from “The Shawshank Redemption” will probably have had better luck by the time this experiement is all over.
But I am committing to it. I will root for the Lions next season. I will even break down and buy tickets and attend one game. Fuck, if Quinn does something drastic like trade up for Saquon Barkley or pry Le’Veon Bell out of Pittsburgh I might even purchase the old jacket I used to wear …. DURING THE SUMMER ….
And, if the Lions really want to do the right, then they will apologize to me for THIS ….
….. and invite me to the Patricia press conference.
I won’t be holding my breath though.
RESTORE THE ROAR!!!!!!!!!
“Forward down the field ….”
(You can follow Moss on Twitter @JeffMossDSR. You can discuss this article on Facebook by clicking here. You can also go fuck yourself if you’d like. Totally up to you.)