11.16.2021 – in this twilight zone

in this twilight zone
don’t know what this is really
take to get fired

At some point in the course of being the head coach of the Detroit Lions of the National Football league, the head coach will give voice to their legacy quote.

At some point, being the coach of the Lions gets to them and they express their frustrations in a quote that lasts longer than the time they were head coach.

This week, after a pretty brutal overtime tie game to the Pittsburg Steelers, head coach Dan Campbell said, “I’m in this twilight zone, I don’t know what this is really.”

We do.

It, for lack of anything better, its the Same Old Lions.

Look at this list of quotes.

None of these are made up.

“I mean for us, it’s obviously – we’re trying to get better. We’re just trying to get better.” Matt Patricia

It’s not easy to win and I think that often times people kind of take it for granted.” Jim Caldwell

“It doesn’t end well for head coaches in the NFL, no matter how much you want it to.” Jim Schwartz

It answers how I go through all this every day. It’s dark and I’m going to dig through. My shovel is sharp and my pick is sharp and my will is outstanding.” Rod Marinelli (Most folks still not sure what he meant or even if he knew what he meant)

Sometimes you take two step backwards to take one step forward. Sometimes, it’s five steps back.” Steve Mariucci

There’s no excuses in this league. Snap, hold, kick.” Marty Mornhinweg (Just that simple)

We better get better as the year goes on.” Matt Millen (A GM not a head coach but this feller HIRED the 3 preceding fellers – haven’t we suffered enough?)

I get all the damn criticism — people hammering me! I’m a good coach! I know what the heck’s supposed to be done! And I’m not going to second-guess myself one damn time!” Bobby Ross

About Bobby Ross, “Bobby got to the point where he literally tormented himself over each loss,” said Lions general manager Chuck Schmidt. “He felt his job was to get the team ready to play, and he didn’t know what else he could do.

I’m like that big buck that’s in the field.” Wayne Fontes

What’s a guy have to do to get fired around here?” Daryl Rogers (This was AFTER being given a contract extension.

It was answered, but the answer was No.” Monte Clark on a silent prayer for a last play 43 yard field goal to win the game on go on to the NFC Championship in 1983. Lions kicker, Eddie Murray missed.

I can go back to Tommy Hudspeth but I cannot find any quote.

I did find the UPI story about him being fired and his entire 8 member coaching staff let go.

The story quoted Lions Owner William Clay Ford saying, “Ford today called Hudspeth an ‘outstanding individual…’ For the sake of the loyal Lion fans and the general good of the football team we just felt a change was necessary at this time.”

Think of that statement, For the sake of the loyal Lion fans and the general good of the football team.

Got that in your head?

The UPI story said, “The Detroit Lions today dismissed their head coach, Tommy Hudspeth, and his eight‐man coaching staff. Hudspeth’s staff included Bill Belichick, Rollie Dotsch, Wally English, Ed Hughes, Bernie Miller, John Payne, Floyd Reese and Fritz Shurmur.”

So For the sake of the loyal Lion fans and the general good of the football team, William Clay Ford got rid of Bill Belichick.

Bill Belichick has won SIX Super Bowls since.

In the same time, the Lions have won ONE playoff games.

I know I know I know but there it is.

Back in 2008, Mitch Albom wrote, “Then again, what’s a coach to do?

Every time the other team lowers the bar, the Lions crawl under it.

They are the NFL’s answer to the Limbo.

John McKay (USC Student Body Right – the only football play named after a student demonstration) had an old saying: “Don’t coach the great ones too much because you don’t want to tamper down their talent.”

Maybe that is the problem here.

These fellers who coached Detroit some how coached TOO MUCH and tampered down all the talent.

Maybe it would be better to get the 11 best athletes they can and then let the quarterback draw out plays on their hand like we did playing in the park behind Aberdeen Elementary School.

It is at the point that if the Detroit Lions announced that they were going to do everything they could to assemble the worst team possible in NFL History, the current Lions would still lose to them.

They say about Juwan Howard, the basketball coach at the University of Michigan that he can get players to play better than they know how.

Somehow the Lions do that too.

Only in reverse.

Still the Lions manage to accomplish the impossible.

Each year it seems, they make last years team look better.

Notice I stopped at Tommy Hudspeth.

The earliest Lion’s Coach I can remember is Rick Forzano.

I could not find a quote from him but here is his picture.

Often a picture says 1000 words.

I think I can explain why.

William Ford’s brother was Henry Ford II.

Henry Ford II was by all accounts one the biggest jerks to come off a Detroit assembly line.

William wanted to stand out from his brother’s shadow.

The easiest way to do that was to be, simply, a nice guy.

And William Ford gloried in that.

By all accounts.

From his players, to his coaches, to his staff to everyone, William Ford was the nicest guy you might ever meet.

When Leo Durocher said nice guys finish last, William Ford decided to show just how true that was.

If Lions fans could talk to him I sure he would understand.

He wanted to win too.

But if the choice was win or be a nice guy, winning came in 2nd.

In my mind, I kinda like it.

It’s that trick the Cubs developed over the years of being lovable but being losers.

I warned a lot of Cub fans that finally winning a World Series may create a greater sense of loss than never winning.

Like Henry Hill at the end of the movie, Goodfellas, the Cubs are no longer the worlds most loved losers, they are like all the other teams that managed to win one World Series, “an average nobody… get to live the rest of [my] life like a schnook.”

Back when I worked at WZZM13 TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, I wrote a story for online asking readers to send in their favorite Lions memory.

Neither here nor there but I miss Henry Wofford.

I still wear his good luck tie to work when I need good luck.

In the story I said come on, there have to be some good moments, right?

I started it off with a tribute to the great Dexter Bussey.

Dexter understood Detroit.

Dexter said, “These fans are great. They support us. They don’t mind losing. They get off on that somehow.

The next day I got a call from Dexter Bussey’s son.

He wanted to tell me how much my story meant to his Dad.

I don’t think Dexter got a lot of fan mail.

Also we got 4 other positive memories sent in.

I think one reminisced about how happy Lions fans were when they traded for Scotty Mitchell.

If I had a chance to talk to Dan Campbell I would love to tell that no, you aren’t in the twilight zone.

You are with the Lions.

It’s a nicer place to be.

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