The Detroit Lions face an impressively unenviable NFL document: a 0-17 season | Detroit Lions
D.etroit Lions Safety Tracy Walker III brought out the most uncomfortable NFL numbers after a nasty 44: 6 defeat on Sunday: “We have to fix it now, because obviously it won’t fix itself, or we’ll be 0 -17”, he said after losing to the Philadelphia Eagles.
And there it was for the whole world to think about: 0-17. No NFL team went 0-17, in large part because no NFL team has played 17 regular season games since 1930, including the late Frankford Yellow Jackets 4-13-1 and the New York Football Giants 13-4 ended.
But the NFL, which is sniffing more and more money, has expanded the regular season from 16 this year to 17 games, and the 0-8 Lions, who may not be the worst NFL team but are now the only NFL team without a win, come so close that 0-17 comes up in conversation.
“We’re not going to make them think that way,” said Dan Campbell, her freshman coach, on Monday.
When Campbell, the fiery former tight end and longtime NFL assistant who led the Miami Dolphins to five wins in 12 games as the interim coach in 2015, took over the Lions’ job in January, he caught some attention (and gasped) by promising “If you knock us down, we’ll get up and we’ll bite off our kneecaps on the way up.”
The Lions have done little damage since then, despite losing two points each to Baltimore and Minnesota. The Ravens defeat was particularly gruesome as Justin Tucker defeated Detroit with a 66 yard field goal record for the NFL after time ran out (the Vikings game wasn’t much better: the Lions lost this to a Greg Joseph- Last second kick). .
But at least the Lions have put themselves in a position to win these games. The loss to the Eagles, who stuttered at the beginning of the game, was so thorough and demoralizing that it turned up 0-17 and brought back unpleasant memories. Only two NFL teams went 0-16 in 43 years: the Cleveland Browns in 2017 and the Detroit Lions in 2008.
“To win we have to play almost perfectly,” said Campbell, former Texas Aggie, “and that’s up to us. As trainers, we are responsible for that. “
Lions quarterback Jared Goff, former No. 1 draft pick who brought the Los Angeles Rams to the Super Bowl just three years ago before production fell, said grimly, “Until we change our habits and until we change who we are , nothing will change. “
Any run to a 0 for the season puts on rubber necks, but the Lions are particularly compelling because (a) their last winless season wasn’t long ago, and (b) they are a strong team owned by. was the Ford family, the automaker, for nearly 60 years. You have won exactly one playoff game during this period. In fact, the Lions Wikipedia history page has been edited to include: “For the current millennia (sic), the Detroit Lions record in franchise mediocrity has been cemented by the continued incompetent ownership of the Ford family.”
This was a stellar college football season for the state, with Michigan State beating undefeated top 10 rivals Michigan in a bout on Saturday. Even when the Lions faced an opponent some people thought they could beat, the paid attendance at Ford Field 85 miles away a day later was 47,192, nearly 18,000 in tight capacity.
“Winning solves a lot of problems, as you all know,” said Campbell.
But Lions haven’t gained much in decades. They have lost all eight playoff games since 1991 when they fell apart in the second half of the NFC championship game against Washington. That’s how close the Lions got to the Super Bowl.
In fact, the Lions are one of only four NFL teams that have never played in a Super Bowl. And Jacksonville, Cleveland, and Houston – the other three – have much less time than the Lions, who were formed as Portsmouth, Ohio Spartans in 1928.
The Lions won the NFL championship in 1935 and three more in their glory days between 1952 and 1957, but those were the dark days of football. Keep in mind that a person born on December 29, 1957, the date Detroit won their last NFL title, will be 64 years old next month.
Campbell is the 21st Lions head coach as of that day. He came with fewer expectations than his immediate, non-interim predecessor, Matt Patricia, a student of Bill Belichick, whose Lions won 13 of 43 games. Patricia brought it back to New England.
The Lions are young and Campbell has kept his expectations in check. Still, as he said during a press conference on Monday, “Look. We’re in the midst of a lot of adversity right now. We knew it was coming. But I don’t think either of us thought it would be 0-8. “
They’re not going to lose this weekend for having a goodbye, and Campbell plans to use the time to do a little more “self-scouting,” as coaches like to call it, to look at more tapes and identify the issues. A lack of commitment is obviously not one of them.
“It’s a lack of focus, detail, basics – and sometimes attitude, if you will,” Campbell said, referring to his team’s tendency to take a while to reach a full boil.
The Detroit Tigers cap was pulled low, Campbell was blunt but calm. When told what Walker had said about a possible 17-07, Campbell pointed out the Lions have nine games left, including a Thanksgiving Day home game against the fighting Chicago Bears.
The New York Jets lost their first 13 games last year to stir up a lot of 0-16 chatter until, to the horror of their fans, they won two games in a row to beat Jacksonville, which won their opener and then lost their last 15 Games. The Jaguars used the number 1 against Trevor Lawrence.
The Lions already have a No. 1 pick from the quarterback as well as three commercially acquired draft picks that sent talented quarterback Matt Stafford to the Rams, who stand 7-1. A turnaround may take a while, maybe even into 2022, but Campbell said it will come.
“I know we are not the team that played yesterday,” he said on Monday, even though the Lions were exactly that team.