Out with the Old Lions, in with the old lions

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Philip Zaroo of Mlive.com posted a nice article today, discussing how Jim Schwartz and the new Lions’ leadership is reaching out to the Lions icons of the Wayne Fontes “glory days”.  It actually started last year when Lomas Brown, the great offensive tackle, was brought in to work with then-rookie Gosder Cherlius.  This year, three-time Pro Bowl DE Robert Porcher has been hired as a scouting intern, already visible on the practice field.  Zaroo quotes Schwartz musing upon the idea that the Titans, being a relocated franchise, didn’t have a long-established fan base, legendary players from seasons gone by, or really any history to draw on.  Obviously, with the Lions entering their 76th season, the archives in Motown are slightly better stocked.

When Matt Millen was hired in, it was the “clean sweep” of the organization that many had cheered for for years.  Millen was brought in to rule the roost, and was allowed to hire and fire the entire power structure underneath him—front office, administration, and coaching staff, everything.  The idea was that the constant year-to-year swings between playoff contention and losing seasons had finally worn thin—the Lions were rebuilding from scratch, in an effort to climb to the mountaintop.  With greats such as the aforementioned Brown, Kevin Glover, and Herman Moore brutally shown the door—and of course, Barry Sanders’ fed-up resignation—the Lions’ leadership had no incentive whatsoever to connect themselves with the prior regime.

However, after an abysmal eight-year reign, the Lions are dismantled as ever, and instead of reaching the mountaintop, they’ve plummeted into the abyss.  Staring up from rock bottom, that consistent inconsistency of the 90s—and the strong community ties some of those players built—seem like halcyon days gone by.  Reconnecting with this franchise’s long and (sometimes) great history seems like the first, best way to reconnect this franchise with its fans, and its identity.

Discussion is already underway, here in The Den!