Jeff Seidel: Trust Mr. Ford to do right thing for Lions? Bah humbug!
December 18, 2013
Mr. Ford woke in his bed, startled by the sound of church bells.
“Get up,” said a deep, booming voice that sounded like it came from NFL Films.
Wind swirled, kicking up loose $100 bills, and the bells grew louder.
“Who are you?” Mr. Ford asked. “A spirit?”
“I am the ghost of Lions past,” the voice boomed. “Take my hand.”
Mr. Ford grabbed his hand, and the room started spinning. The fog lifted, and they stood on a sideline. Everything was in black and white.
“What year is this?” Mr. Ford asked.
The scoreboard read: Lions 59, Cleveland Browns 14.
“Look at the excitement,” Mr. Ford said.
Fans were screaming and smiling.
“Champions!” Mr. Ford said.
“There’s no secret to winning,” the voice said. “You need a great organization, great coaching and great talent.”
“Is that all it takes?” Mr. Ford asked.
“No,” the voice said. “It’s more than talent. It’s a belief. An expectation and mind-set.”
Mr. Ford looked down and fell asleep.
He woke to a different voice.
“Come with me,” the voice said. It was John Madden. “I am the ghost of Lions present. Boom!”
Mr. Ford grabbed his hand. The room started swirling. Every loss from the past five decades flashed before his eyes. In one depressing blur, he saw the wasted talent of Barry Sanders, and Scott Mitchell dressed up as Wayne Fontes, and everybody started chanting: “Fire Millen!” as Justin Tucker kicked a 61-yard field goal.
“This is your legacy,” the voice said.
“No,” Mr. Ford screamed. “What went wrong? We had so much talent in 2013.”
“Same as it ever was,” the voice said.
“Coaching. Turnovers. Bad penalties. Mistakes. Lack of discipline. Failure to hold a lead.”
“All those are correctable mistakes,” Mr. Ford said.
“So just fix the mistakes?”
“It’s deeper than that,” the voice said. “Great teams believe they can win. Baltimore believed on Monday night. That’s the difference. Mediocre teams just hope to make the plays to win.”
Mr. Ford looked down and fell asleep on the gold-plated floor in his suite. He woke to more bells.
“Come with me,” a voice said. “I am the voice of Lions future.”
Everything started spinning. The fog lifted, and Calvin Johnson was playing in his final game for the Lions.
“He was the greatest receiver of all time,” a voice said. It was Peyton Manning, lead announcer on NFL broadcasts. “But it’s a shame he never got to play in the Super Bowl. His talent was wasted.”
Ford Field was empty. Tumbleweed blew through the upper deck, and this was the first NFL game a network refused to telecast.
“Where is everybody?” Mr. Ford asked.
“Lions fans finally got fed up with losing,” the voice said.
“No!” Mr. Ford screamed. “What have I done?”
He fell to the ground, trembling. The room started spinning, and they returned to the present.
“You can change this,” the voice said. “There is no Lions curse. The Lions can win a Super Bowl.”
“How?” Mr. Ford asked, trembling.
“Do the right thing,” the voice said.
“What is that?”
“Everything will hinge on what you do next,” the voice said.
“What should I do?” Mr. Ford asked. “Should I keep Jim Schwartz or fire him?”
“Do the right thing.”
“Should I hire Ken Whisenhunt or David Shaw, or maybe Jay Gruden? Somebody like Mike Shanahan? Or stay the course? What should I do?”
“Do the right thing,” the voice said. “The future can change if you make the right decision.”
And Lions fans everywhere shook their heads. Full of pessimism.
God bless us, every one.Contact Jeff Seidel: firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow him on Twitter @seideljeff.http://www.freep.com/article/20131218/C ... -christmas