Due to my dad having been born in that part of the country, and the owner of the then Washington Redskins being a human skidmark, I became a fan of the Detroit Lions. How stupid was/am I?! I was in for a lot of pain that is hopefully soon to end as things improve. I've said that last bit a lot and it's yet to occur, but hope springs eternal, I guess.
Much like the Washington Redskins/Football Team, the owner of the Detroit Lions at the time (William Clay Ford Sr.) was not held in high regard. Rather than being actively shitty, he just didn't care. The Lions were basically a money printing machine to him. He made some pretty idiotic decisions, like hiring former stadium announcer Matt Millen as general manager....and not sacking him for 7 years. That's 6 more than it took to demonstrate that Millen didn't know how to be a GM. He actually admitted it when selected by Ford, but was told that he'd figure it out.
Millen was still retained until a few weeks into the 2008-2009 season when his son told him that were he the owner, he'd replace the GM. It seems having a member of his own family mention it was finally enough to wake the guy up. The protests, the fake funeral, the Millen Man March, the awful press coverage, none of it was enough to wake the guy up to the mess he caused. The Lions went 0-16 that year, being the first team to have perfectly shit 17 week season. (The 1974 Tampa Buccaneers went 0-14 and the 2017 Cleveland Browns also went 0-16.)
Millen was replaced with Martin Mayhew, who wasn't great but better than Millen. He did manage to draft one of the best quarterbacks the Lions ever had, Matthew Stafford. He and another amazing receiver, Calvin "Megatron" Johnson, would regularly be on the highlight reel and would be what kept the Lions just barely out of the gutter. But two people do not a team make and defenses would cover the both of them heavily. This would be the demise of Megatron who retired after about 5 years due to injuries.
The Lions continued to limp along through 2014, when William Clay Ford Sr. died. Ownership was passed to his wife, Martha Firestone Ford. She wasn't very good at her decision making, what with being in late 80's at the time, but at least she tried! The mess that occurred during her tenure will be in the next article.