The 2008 Lions shed a lot more than 16 games.
Head coach pole Marinelli shed his dignity when dealing with the media. After ~ Detroit’s first 10 losses, Marinelli struggle a reporter through an “I’m no 0-10! You’re 0-10!” which, together it transforms out, was false. ~ the 13th loss, Marinelli said “I think in the invisible”—a beautiful sentiment, yet a negative defensive strategy, as confirmed by this video clip of invisible players failing to handle then-Titans star kris Johnson during a 47-10 loss come Tennessee. After ~ the 14th loss, a Detroit News columnist asked the coach about his protective coordinator and also son-in-law, Joe Barry: “Do girlfriend wish her daughter would have married a far better defensive coordinator?” The writer later resigned—the Lions’ only win of the year—because everybody i agreeed the inquiry was madness inappropriate. I gotta admit, though: good zing.
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Center Dominic Raiola shed $7,500 after gift fined for giving the middle finger come fans. He expressed no remorse for the incident that taken place in a 20-16 residence loss come the Vikings, telling reporters that his lone remorse was that he wished he might invite fans to his residence to physically fight him. Raiola’s thinking for not doing so to be he thought they might show up with guns. “Nobody plays with fists,” the lamented. “Everybody desires to play through metal.”
Quarterback Dan Orlovsky shed track of where he to be on the field, famously dropping earlier out the the finish zone in a 12-10 loss at Minnesota. It’s tragic, really—the Lions gained blown out over and over again in 2008, and also the one time they lost by two points, their quarterback cursed an very own safety. Also though the played because that nine periods after this ashamed moment, Orlovsky lost the capability to be known for noþeles else; once he retired critical October, the ESPN.com headline read: “Dan Orlovsky, recognized for Taking safety While Chased by Jared Allen, Retires.” “It’s a forever thing for me,” Orlovsky called the Detroit complimentary Press in December.
Detroit shed its three-hour Sunday break from one of the bleakest durations in city history. Longtime Lions writer Tom Kowalski even contrasted the football team unfavorably to every little thing else the was going on in 2008: “Politicians have been imprisoned before,” he wrote, “and yes sir nothing unique around companies going belly-up in a bad economy. What the Lions completed … never prior to has been done and also forever will link them in discussions the ‘worst ever.’”
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And, of course, practically everyone associated with this mess at some point lost your jobs. Team chairman Matt Millen was fired that September. Marinelli was fired in December. Twelve that the 45 football player who started a video game for the 2008 Lions never ever played another snap in the NFL, including five (left security Edwin Mulitalo, defensive end Jared DeVries, linebacker Ryan Nece, safety Daniel Bullocks, and cornerback Brian Kelly) that started more than fifty percent of the team games. The terrible 2008 campaign did develop some jobs, though: The Lions redesigned your logo and uniforms before the 2009 season in an effort to placed 0-16 in their previous forever.
In 2017 the Browns go 0-16, corresponding the 2008 Lions together the second NFL team to go winless during a 16-game season. Yet there to be no reports that locker-room revolt; no hazards of player-on-fan violence; no quips that the Browns were worse 보다 corrupt politicians or failing industries. Instead, the team gained a parade.
Sure, the Browns’ 0-16 parade wasn’t a celebration of the team, however rather of their fans’ resilience. However in a sports world that has actually grown increasingly comfortable through tanking, there is currently genuine excitement bordering Cleveland’s future. Heck, the 2018 Browns will appear on HBO’s Hard Knocks. If the Lions’ 0-16 season would’ve taken place a decade later, some might have appreciated its Honolulu blue–and-silver lining.
Within the first couple of weeks that that consistent season, however, it ended up being clear that any such trajectory was gone. The Lions canned Millen complying with an 0-3 start. ~ dropping to 0-5, Detroit traded large receiver Roy Williams for 3 Cowboys breeze picks, including a 2009 first-rounder, and also placed quarterback Jon Kitna on the hurt reserve … even though Kitna said he to be still physically capable of playing, and also that the team was making use of this “injury” to provide cover for the quarterback move they wanted to make. By dumping a star for future assets and treating the beginning QB choose the old guy who didn’t have actually the torment in Monty Python and the divine Grail, the Lions essentially punted ~ above the season.
The quarterback instance is retroactively blamed because that the 2008 team’s historical failure. Then-Lions assistant coach Kippy Brown freshly told the Free Press the he feel to this day Detroit would’ve winner at the very least one game if it had actually stuck v Kitna all season. After putting Kitna ~ above IR, the Lions play Orlovsky, then lugged Daunte Culpepper out of retirement. However the rusty Culpepper play in only five games prior to suffering his own season-ending injury, forcing Orlovsky earlier into the spotlight.
Yet the passing game wasn’t the weak attach on those Lions. After all, the offense featured Calvin Johnson, that actually led the league in receiving touchdowns v 12. (Leading the league in receiving touchdowns on an 0-16 team is honestly among the more impressive things that any type of player has ever done. Megatron to be incredible.) The Lions threw much more interceptions (19) 보다 touchdowns (18), yet their passing video game wasn’t in the history bad. In fact, that wasn’t also the worst passing video game in the NFL that season. The Lions average 1.3 more yards every pass 보다 both the Bengals and Browns, who tied because that last place; the 2008 Browns threw nearly twice as numerous interceptions (20) as touchdowns (11).
The key reason those Lions went 0-16 is due to the fact that they featured one of the worst defenses in the background of the league. Detroit permitted 517 point out in 2008, the second-most of all time behind only the 1981 Baltimore Colts. The Lions offered up 30 clues in 11 that 16 games, and ranked last in the league in both passing defense (allowing 8.8 yards per happen attempt while recording just 4 interceptions) and rushing defense (allowing 5.1 yards per carry and also 31 touchdowns).
The Lions actually had a few chances to win games: lock raced to a 17-0 lead versus the Buccaneers in week 12, and had a Hail mary shot to beat Chicago in week 9. However it constantly felt together if the 2008 team to be cosmically doomed. Detroit’s an initial and only nationally televised video game was the yearly Thanksgiving work game—the 47-10 loss come the Titans. Tennessee would’ve fight 50 if it hadn’t gone out of its means to bleed clock in the second half.
The quotes from the last few weeks the Detroit’s season are what us in the business call “the an excellent stuff.” “Awful, embarrassing, no one played good, any type of bad adjective you can use, throw it in there,” Orlovsky claimed in December. “I great I can wake up, and it’d it is in over,” running ago Kevin Smith said after a 31-21 loss to the Packers, the 16th and final loss. Technically, the season was over after that result—but everyone on the team knew the record would stick with them for a lifetime. “I’ve gained to live v this,” Raiola said. “This is on my résumé.”
The players lashed out at the fans—“It need to be an benefit being at home,” cornerback Leigh Bodden claimed that November, “but this year, it yes, really isn’t”—and at every other. “Where we’re at currently is due to the fact that of 6 months ago,” kicker Jason Hanson said. “Decisions that were make by football player in offseason work.” (Poor Hanson had a legitimately an excellent season, hitting 21-of-22 field goal attempts and also becoming the very first kicker in NFL history to go 8-for-8 on ar goal make the efforts of 50 yards or more. But, 0-16.)
Yet the finest quote come from ex-Lion Joey Harrington, that was booed the end of town and also labeled a breeze bust—and then observed his Saints demolish Detroit in mainly 16. “Who would’ve believed that i was right here in the heyday?”
Marinelli put it many aptly: “You can’t walk 0-16 and expect to save your job.”
Sports fans have reached an knowledge that losing deserve to be helpful for a franchise. In basketball, the 76ers fan base was galvanized by years of over-the-top, purposeful losing. In baseball, the Astros and Cubs winner the World collection only after fully bottoming out. And in the NFL, the Browns have actually committed to The Process much more than anyone, offering out the on-field product because that several seasons while assembling the most draft resources of any team in the contemporary era. In addition to make trades the netted oodles the assets, Cleveland’s 1-15 and also 0-16 documents secured the team back-to-back no. 1 draft picks, which were used on Myles Garrett and Baker Mayfield.
And so, people can legitimately write things choose “going winless improved
And when the 2008 Lions no intentionally lose all of their games, doing therefore absolutely marked a turning point for the franchise. It offered the team the no. 1 choose in the 2009 draft, which was supplied on quarterback Matthew Stafford; walking on 10 years later, he’s still the franchise’s rock. In 2010, Detroit took defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh in ~ no. 2; two seasons later it go 10-6 and made the playoffs. The Lions reached the playoffs again in 2014 behind the main point of Johnson, Stafford, and Suh, and again in 2016 complying with Johnson’s sudden retirement and Suh’s leave in totally free agency.
Not only was the 2017 Browns’ failure much more acceptable 보다 the 2008 Lions’ was, yet the setup the the league’s value cap framework was also much more advantageous to Cleveland. Johnson, Stafford, and also Suh every signed massive rookie contracts; Stafford’s offered him the most guaranteed money of any player ever. Now, rookies room tied to substantially smaller deals in spite of a bigger salary cap. All three players were still top top their an initial NFL deals once the Lions do the 2011 playoffs. If the Browns’ highly drafted players pan out, they’ll be on an ext team-friendly contracts that should enable Cleveland come surround them through a bevy of talent.
The 2008 Lions were a soccer tragedy that will never ever be repeated. It’s not simply that they were the an initial group to walk 0-16, and also thus the most memorable. It’s that failure brings hope now. We saw the Lions as a dumpster fire, and also see the Browns together a regulated burn. We think Cleveland can be a phoenix; our memory of the Detroit team will constantly be ashes.