Matt Millen’s comments to Don Banks at SI.Com http://tinyurl.com/l3orxv
crossed the line as far as I’m concerned.
When he was the Lions’ team president, I screamed long and loud for him to be fired by owner William Clay Ford or to resign. I smelled a rat, from a football sense, from the very beginning. I didn’t necessarily think Millen was a bad guy, though. Always made a point of saying "hi" and shaking his hand, even after it became pointless to listen to his perpetual rationalizing rhetoric. And he knew I wouldn’t listen anyway.
I don’t feel that way anymore. Maybe Millen is a bad guy. Nothing funny about the economic woes around here. Or Kwame’s shenanigans.
People around here weren’t looking for a bad guy. They have been looking for someone to lead them out of the football wilderness. Millen was the worst general manager in the history of professional sports. I don’t know the greater travesty - Millen staying more than eight years without resigning, or aristocratic owner William Clay Ford Sr - he of the country club rather than the people - letting him.
The Lions had some issues before Millen arrived, but he literally ran the organization into the ground with drafts that were beyond bad. He never moved here full time for what is hardly a part-time job. His record is a matter of record. The guy has about as much football depth as an empty wading pool.
All talk. No substance.
It’s amazing how reporters like Banks keep buying his line of you-know-what
The Richard Nixon references are pathetic. The comments about Detroit - as if Millen was a victim - reprehensible. All those awful draft picks and poor free agent signings. This is somebody who consistently missed with top 10 overall picks in the draft - and never remotely came close to finding players in the late rounds. Incredible Lions' stat: They haven’t had a long-term starter from the fourth-round on in the draft since 1995 when both linebacker Stephen Boyd and fullback Cory Schlesinger were taken in the fifth round.
Millen made the bed. Lions' fans were forced to sleep in it. When Ford gave Millen a contract extension, it was the ultimate "fans don’t matter" moment. The eventual result was an 0-16 season that did, in a way, come to symbolize Detroit’s overall struggles.
ESPN and the NFL Network are dupes. Check the tape, for example, of Millen’s classic prediction, during his initial appearance on NBC after finally being canned by the Lions. He said that Arizona wouldn’t beat Atlanta in the playoffs because of the Cardinals’ porous run defense - the same run defense that held Millen’s Lions to minus yardage the year before. Of course, Arizona won - and to a large degree because its run defense was stout.
What is most troubling about Millen is how to this day he accepts no culpability for what transpired. Once in awhile, he will say, "Put the blame on me," but the words always ring hollow because of statements like the ones he made in the SI.Com piece.
We’d love to put Millen into the rear view mirror and forget those eight years even existed. But he is like a fly humming around your burger at a picnic. Or a toothache. Or a bad cold. He just won’t go away.
He is without question the most self-centered and egotistical person I have ever been around. I don’t mean that in a vain way, but more in a "I can’t possibly be wrong" sense. The first thing he did when he came to town was run down his players. He sure didn’t do a good job of finding better ones
He is one of those people who can make himself seem bright when, in actuality, he doesn’t have a clue. At Millen’s initial news conference, William Clay Ford Jr called him a "first-rate intellect." He is more like a first-rate manipulator.
And the media keeps sucking it up, too.
"I’m not a crook," Millen told Banks in a Nixon impersonation.
Can’t say that is the view from the city Millen pilfered eight years of football. It should be interesting if there is any interaction between Millen and Steve Mariucci, who also works for the NFL Network. Millen tore out Marucci’s spine when he fired him as Lions coach. He made the guy sound like the softest head coach in NFL history. Millen made it appear as if Mariucci ran practices complete with lemonade pitchers at midfield served with tiny umbrellas in the glasses. Mariucci’s practices, we were told in hushed tones by Millen, were disorganized in sort of a Romper Room way. Those practices were open to the media. Watched a lot of them. They appeared fine to me. But certainly the reputation Millen has placed on Mariucci has destroyed his coaching career.
Then Millen hired the disaster that is Rod Marinelli as head coach. Don’t know what his practices were like because Marinelli, who missed the old song by The Kinks about how, "paranoia will destroy ‘ya." didn’t open them. He was afraid the boogie man might come in and steal the imaginary rock his team wasn’t pounding.
A perfect storm. Pompous general manager. Paranoid head coach. It was awful. Depressing, actually.
While Millen was in Detroit, the Red Wings won two Stanley Cup champions, the Pistons an NBA title and the Tigers an American League pennant.
It wasn’t the town. It was Matt Milhous Millen. Don’t know if the nation will accept that once Millen starts his "Checkers"speech on ESPN or the NFL Network.
I do understand this: Around here we know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about Millen.
Gus The Kicking Mule could have done a better job.
Labels: Miatt Millen Richard Nixon Gus The Kicking Mule