A reader of the site e-mailed me last week and included a letter he sent to the Lions after they lost to Atlanta. Although this was written before the loss to the Packers, it still is relevant and hits on the main complaints that many of us have. I doubt it'll get into the hands of the people that need to see it within the Lions organization, so I figure I'll share it with all of you.
Here it is:
To Mr. Ford, Mr. Millen and Coach Marinelli:
After 20 years of passionately supporting the Detroit Lions I find myself in a painful predicament. My natural tendency is to remain loyal, but as a matter of principle I can no longer support the Detroit Lions organization in any way, shape, or form. As I write this, my jerseys, t-shirts, hats and other such things are all burning in a barrel. I once had dreams of watching games with my kids, forming family traditions of the Lions on Thanksgiving, etc....those dreams are gone now. I refuse to pull my children into the heart-breaking dysfunction of this franchise.
It's not that the team isn't very good, it's that for decades this team has been mismanaged by incompetent people. As the owner and the GM, you two are the ones who are responsible for this. Mr. Millen, while I respect your desire to keep working at it until you get it right, I have to tell you that it now looks like smug arrogance and selfishness. Every man has to know his limitations, what he is good at and what he isn't good at. Competent men are able to admit their shortcomings and graciously concede defeat. Insecure men don't do the right thing because they are either afraid of what people think or they don't have a grip on reality and they think that they can still get the job done. You can't. You have already failed more than any other GM in NFL history. I am leaving the Lions because of you. Mr. Ford, I don't have ANY respect for you or anything you run. You are the most incompetent owner in sports, and your automobile company isn't far behind. I refuse to purchase any of your products from here on out and if it is in my power I will influence my friends, family and acquaintances to [do] the same. Coach Marinelli, I was in your corner and on the bandwagon for every single day up until today when I watched this team perform as incompetently as any I have ever seen (particularly in terms of inability to tackle). I still respect what you are trying to do and I feel bad that you came into such a screwed up situation. With such high draft picks available and in the day of free agency there is no franchise that has suffered as badly as the Lions have in terms of developing a competitive team. I can't watch the games any more because I feel so sad and so sick to my stomach that I have literally thrown up. I'm tired of this.
It must be nice to live in such a fantasy land where there is no such thing as true accountability, no requirement of productivity. If anyone at my company performed the way this organization has, they would be fired. If my company kept such poor performers it would go bankrupt. That is why I say that this is a matter of principle--you take the money of loyal fans, but NEVER deliver a product. If I thought I had a chance, I would take this organization to court and sue you for fraud. The love and positive feelings I once felt for the Lions has now been turned to hatred and sour bitterness. As far as I am concerned this organization is nothing more than a scam owned by a senile old man and run by an incapable GM that doesn't have the decency to step down. And I'm not the only one. Oh, I know that you think that the disgruntled fans will be happy if we win...but one day you will wake up and discover that there is a deep undercurrent that is brewing in the fanbase and you will reap what you deserve. At this point the only chance the Lions have of keeping me as a fan is if Mr. Ford sells the team and fires Mr. Millen. I am willing to give Coach Marinelli time because as I said before, he came into one of the worst scenarios possible. Do this and this franchise will stand a chance. Keep doing the same things the same way and I wouldn't be surprised if disgruntled fans turn to more aggressive means of forcing your hand because desperate times call for desperate measures.
To the person who will probably get this email and decide not to pass it on to those who it is addressed to--you are part of the problem. Why don't you try growing a pair and actually send it to the people it is supposed to go to? Obviously you shouldn't fear losing your job since no one else does.
[A] former fan in South Dakota
Well said, man.