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Bears Clinch NFC North

Four weeks in the 2006 NFL season remain and we already have our first division winner. The Chicago Bears took care of business against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday despite a horrid performance by Rex Grossman to clinch the NFC North. That is one benefit about playing in such a weak division, getting to close things out so early.

Going back to some of the preseason rankings of the NFC North, I remember the general consensus was to pick the Bears. Some had the Vikings and even a few with the Packers. Then there were the complete and total morons who went with Detroit. The Lions were a sleeper pick to start with, and even still maintained that position after playing so well against the Seahawks in week 1. However, the lesson behind all of this is to never pick the Detroit Lions to win anything, unless it is a contest for worst ownership, worst management, and worst performance on a yearly basis.

This time of the year is very familiar now to Detroit fans. By the last quarter of the season, the Lions have faded away into mediocrity while other teams make their run for the playoffs. Just once I'd like to have the Lions be involved in playoff talks at this point in the season again. It has been years since Detroit could say that they had a slim shot at the playoffs, and now, with a 2-10 record, that is the case again.

All I have to say is that something has to change at the management level. I used this analogy when discussing the Matt Millen situation with someone recently, and figure that it's fitting to post it here. The Detroit Lions are out to do two things: make a profit and have a winning team. Since the Matt Millen era began the first part has occurred considering the Lions normally sell out or come close to selling out every game. People still go to the games no matter how bad the Lions are, but one thing the Fords have to look at is how long that will continue. Eventually all of the second part of this, losing, will catch up with them in a money type of way.

Moving on to the way to look at things, compare Detroit's record to a business. When Matt Millen took over the Lions weren't great but at least were respectable and in the playoff hunt. Their record was just above average, which is a dream considering what we've gone through now. So, Millen comes in and the team begins to get worse and worse every year. Occasionally they get up to the 5 or 6 win mark, but just as before, Detroit sits with only 2 wins. If this were a business and the profit margin was compared to a winning percentage of the Lions, then Matt Millen would've been fired a long time ago. If a business is losing money after someone new comes in and hasn't been able to get back to a plateau they once were at, then it's time to fire that person and move on.

I just hope that the fans who have stuck behind this team through thick and thin get to see improvements and most importantly the firing of Matt Millen. Something I fear that will happen if a change isn't made is the worst possible thing that any business could face, going into the red. How exactly would that happen for a NFL team? Well, setting the record for most losses and least amount of wins in one year (going 0-16) would be a start, and with the way things are looking, that may not be all too far away.

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