It wasn't really that long ago ...
When I tell people I covered the Lions for The Oakland Press when they actually were in the playoffs, the initial reaction is that I must be really, really old.
When was that, the 70s? I was recently asked.
No. It was 1993 (lost at home to Packers), 1994 (lost at Green Bay), 1995 (lost at Philadelphia), 1997 (lost at Tampa Bay) and 1999 (lost at Washington).
Really, it wasnt that long ago. (See, Im not that old.)
Im back covering the Lions now and looking forward to the challenge.
Have I missed anything?
The last game I covered at the Silverdome was on Dec. 24, 2000, when the Lions lost a chance to advance to the playoffs by losing 23-20 to the Chicago Bears. The Lions held a 17-13 lead with 11:14 remaining, then lost on a 54-yard field goal with two seconds left. Gary Moeller finished the last seven games of the season as head coach after Bobby Ross had left due to health reasons. The game was a nightmarish end to 9-7 season.
At that point the Fords were ready to blow up the team. They wanted not just to make it to the playoffs, they wanted to win a playoff game which they hadnt done since the 1991 season.
They hired Matt Millen to take the team to the next step.
We all know how that worked out.
(I still say that Millens first mistake was not keeping Moeller on as head coach. The players responded well to him, even though he was a more of a taskmaster than Ross. Had Millen kept him for the next season, my hunch is that the Lions would have won more than two games. Remember in 2001 they were 2-14 under Marty Mornhinweg. Plus, if Moeller had not worked out, Millen wouldnt have looked bad since he just gave the guy a chance. But I digress ...)
So I missed the whole Millen era.
Now its time for a fresh start with general manager Martin Mayhew.
It should be interesting to see the team grow with Mayhew and new coach Jim Schwartz.
Perhaps now there is hope that one day theyll get back to the playoffs. Well see ...