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Various Sports Mutterings from Sportsfly.com!

How I Would Fix the Detroit Lions

Lions Fans Incognito

With the season now over and the Detroit Lions having turned in the worst season in NFL history, here are a few steps I would implement in attempting to turn around this downtrodden franchise.

1) I would first bring in general managers who know talent—both of the past and present. I wouldn’t hire immediately, but I would bring them in to evaluate my team. I’d like to know what some of the football minds around the league really think of my squad. Evaluate my players, coaching staff, and gameday strategy. Give me your honest opinion—it would allow this team to not live in the bubble of ineptitude that it has gotten far too familiar with.

2) The second thing I would do would be to reach out to Lions alumni. Get Lem Barney on the phone. Ask Herman Moore to come and talk to the team. And make sure that Barry Sanders gets some sort of advisor role with the team. I would connect the present to the past for both the players and the fans.

3) The third thing I would do is lower ticket prices. In the economically ravaged streets of Detroit, times are tough. Times are even worse when your team has never been to the Superbowl and has been putrid since Michael Jackson sang “Thriller.” I would display some good faith, and lower ticket prices a bit to appease my loyal fan base.

4) The fourth thing I would do is hire competent people. This sounds obvious, but Matt Millen was the GM in Detroit for almost a decade. He had no experience whatsoever for the position, and his team was dreadful year after year. Yet he always kept his job. I would certainly allow my hires to fail because you cannot succeed if you don’t, to some extent, crash and burn. But I wouldn’t tolerate poor play or inexcusable team management. The Ford family enabled Matt Millen—I wouldn’t stand for it.

5) The last thing I would attempt to do is change the losing culture. Losing really and truly is a disease. Ask the Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, or Houston Texans. When a losing culture infects your franchise, you find ways to lose. You snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. I would do my best to surround my team with winners. Not coaches who talk a good game, but ones who have actually won consistently at the pro level. I would rid my team of lazy, apathetic players and replace them with savvy veterans and young players willing to make an impact (similar to how the Patriots built their franchise). I would constantly reiterate to my team that if the horrendous 1998 Rams can go from the toilet bowl to the Superbowl—and the 1-15 Dolphins of 2007 can go from laughing stock division champs, then there’s no reason that the Lions cannot regain their once mighty roar.

What would be some things you would do to turn around the Detroit Lions? I want to hear from you Sportsfly.com readers!

January 1, 2009 Posted by | NFL | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dropping the Puck!

FIGHT!

FIGHT!

So… the brew crew and I went off to the TD Banknorth Garden last night to watch the Bruins/Maple Leafs face off for a high flying affair. We walked in right as they dropped the puck but got stuck in the beer line. Suddenly, the siren went off and by the time we reached our seats, two goals had been scored. We’re running to our section, two beers in hand and sit in the only spot a true fan can – center ice, last row in the balcony. The only spot you can yell crude remarks at Toronto fans; sit crammed next to a 250 pound “Joe the Plumber” and see the whole Garden at work. I missed the first 5 goals of the Bruins due to bathroom breaks and beer line backup. You can’t make this stuff up but that’s the beauty of a hockey game. Games are so fast paced and exciting and the NHL has been quickly coming back to life. Maybe I’m just drinking the Bruins Kool-Aid, and other parts of the country still ignore their teams, but you better believe it tastes good. This game of puck had everything you wanted – 13 goals, 4 fights, 4 different goalies, a hat trick, our buddies on the jumbotron, broken glass, beer line altercations and a Bruins victory.

Today’s NHL has the San Jose Sharks off to an amazing start at 25-4-3 and the Bruins are streaking at 22-5-4 winning 12 straight at home. Rounding off the top six teams are Detroit, Chicago, Washington and New Jersey who are also looking aggressive early on. The standings show the original six franchises making a competitive comeback and a flashback to the true nest of hockey lore. With exciting young stars like Ovechkin, Kessel and Crosby busting out, we can only expect more thrills to follow. I’m not going to lie. I was far from enjoying hockey for the last few years but I missed it. Where else can players talk at a face off about fighting each other and then 10 seconds later drop gloves and go at it. Speed, checking, kick save and a beauty! It brings me back to the golden days of hockey and I’m hoping a rebirth occurs because it’s faster and better than ever.

Now the Bruins won 8-5, I tossed my hat on the ice for Krejci’s hat trick celebration (not really but that makes the story better) and ended up forgetting where we parked. We got lost driving back; came home hungry, tired and having to work early that next morning. Let me tell you, it was all worth it and I can’t wait to go again. Long live hockey! Here we go Bruins here we go!

RaginRondo

December 19, 2008 Posted by | NHL, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Smack right between the Cheeks

03cheeks3

The 76ers fired head coach Maurice “I ain’t so rosy” Cheeks this past Saturday. The lackluster Philly squad had lost 8 of their last 10 with a record of 9-14 under Cheeks so the blame goes to the coach. I understand the technique is widely used to shake things up and inspire the uninspired (Elton and friends, in this case)  because they didn’t produce. Now, the big name free agent pickup hasn’t meshed well with this team and is averaging a career low in points (15.9), while his counterparts haven’t established an offensive game plan to work with Brand. At the end of last season, I was a little worried for my hometown C’s to maybe be contested in the east by someone other than “Clap the powder” Lebron and Co. Iguodala was flying high in the transition game as well as in the playoffs, pushing Detroit to the limit with Miller managing games well enough to be a threat. This year, the team is dealing with a new offensive presence down low and, in turn, learning a new offense. This could be the reason for the struggles, but this is another case of “rid the coach, right the ship.” They pulled the trigger on Cheeks way too early in the season, setting them back even further than before. In the past few years, they’ve started slow and put it together down the season, but the front office couldn’t wait. Tony Dileo took over as head coach and came out to boos from Philly fans Saturday night, but he did pull off a W. Maybe traitor Brand just needed another fresh start.

Cheeks was the 5th coach fired this season along with the Randy Wittman from the Twolves.W hen Minnesota fired him, you could hear Pitino screaming, “Larry Bird ain’t walking through that door, Kevin Mchale ain’t walking!” Wait a second here. Maybe Pitino was wrong. Only time will tell. Philly can only hope Dileo brings back 76er pride or else they’ll be waiting for Sir Charles to come stomping through.

RaginRondo

December 15, 2008 Posted by | Major League Baseball, NBA | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bursting the NASCAR Bubble

nascardriversAdmittedly, I am no fan of NASCAR. Never have been. Racing shouldn’t involve only going left. Racing shouldn’t involve only drivers from the States, save for a few Canadians and one Colombian. Racing shouldn’t involve tires that are taller on the outside than on the inside. Racing shouldn’t involve old, fat guys – look at Le Mans endurance drivers, look at Formula 1 drivers; they’re fit and they also have a work out regiment. So there are these things that are wrong with NASCAR in my opinion. With that being said, I also respect NASCAR. It’s a pretty brutal racing series where crashes are the norm. And running that engine at redline for 500 miles is pretty buff as well. And they have done a hell of a job marketing, especially the drivers and their personalities, to the legions of fans in the States.

NASCAR has been growing by leaps and bounds in the States and commercial sponsors have been throwing money at it like there’s no tomorrow. But as the global economic crisis has hit Formula 1, it’s affecting NASCAR as well. Here’s the difference, however – whereas international level motorsports, such as ALMS and Formula 1, are not completely brutalized by the economic downturn as they are supported by an internatinal consortium of companies and brands, NASCAR’s primary funding comes from American companies and brands. And American companies are the ones feeling the biggest brunt of the downturn. European and Asian governments & economies have been quicker to react and / or don’t have the same level of fundamental economic problems – do you see Honda, BMW, Porsche, Ferrari and the like asking for a multi-billion dollar bailout from the government?

So the very reason why NASCAR grew so fast – “American pride,” “USA,” “Made in America” and all that good stuff – is ultimately the very reason why the NASCAR’s bubble is bursting. All three Detroit brands are in trouble and I certainly hope that if the government grants the bailout aid, they’ll have to nix NASCAR altogether. (Let’s face it… unlike other motorsports series, NASCAR isn’t used as an R&D platform so it doesn’t contribute anything except “brand awareness”) American brands like Home Depot and Lowe’s are facing a downward spiral, as new home starts, let alone home sales, continue to drop. People aren’t buying clothes, so Wrangler, Lee and all those other brands are going to hurt as well. NASCAR’s driver line up, made up of good old boys, isn’t going to attract international sponsors. And since NASCAR has acted and branded itself much like a xenophobic American, international broadcasters aren’t going to pay the rights fees to carry it on their airwaves. Hell, why would a French station carry NASCAR when the closest thing to anything French in NASCAR was the movie Talledega Nights (insert “Perrier”).

Frankly, I wouldn’t shed a tear if NASCAR went away permanently. Perhaps then Speed would start carrying some real racing, like WRC, ALMS, FIA GT, DTM and so on. And not air them at 4am Wednesday mornings so no one bothers to watch it. Perhaps with the demise of NASCAR, we can also finally get rid of those stupid Chrysler Hemi commercials, “Is that a Hemi?” Let it be known, it’s been a long time since Chrysler made an engine head with true hemispherical design.

Suckers.

December 10, 2008 Posted by | Features & Opinions, Formula 1, Motorsports, NASCAR, Talkin Trash | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments