(Pontiac, MI) As a long-suffering Lions fan I should not get excited about the hiring of a new coach. I promised myself after Steve "Mooch" Mariucci got unceremoniously dumped in November that real hope could only appear when the Ford family (and GM Matt Millen) have the team forcibly removed from their fingers.
And yet, today I find myself getting sucked in by the hype.
Rod Marinelli is a highly-respected coach whose teams, while not always winners, always compete. I suspect that Marinelli may be the sort of no-nonsense leader who will get the most out of the players he has. Here is a Marinelli quote from the press conference, which ended a few minutes ago:
"The issue is, how hard are we willing to play?” he said. “Fundamentals, details and learning to finish everything we start as a football team. None of that takes any talent, right?"Let's face it - the Lions were stoked with talent this season, and many football pundits predicted them to be a playoff contender. With quality personnel at all of the skill positions, and a solid defense, this should have been at least a 9-7 team.
Not so. The Lions limped along to a 5-11 year, and Marinelli is the 23rd head coach in franchise history. The team has not won a playoff game since 1991, and has been so bad the past few seasons that we look back fondly on the Wayne Fontes era as "the good old days."
However, I am sure that, in true diehard fashion, I will begin the 2006-7 season with my usual optimism, hoping that this will be the season my team finally brings home a title.