I was just making my daily perusal of Deadspin.com and our good friends over there have a story about Matt Millen being fired late last night. All I can say is that it’s about time.
Just this season he has seen his team go 0-3 and deal with TatumBellgate, the crazy story in which Tatum Bell apparently stole Rudi Johnson’s bags while the latter was having a meeting Matt Millen.
The only real surprise here is that it has taken Matt Millen so long to get the ax. The Lions have been pathetic for years, and rumors of Millen’s imminent demise have been pretty commonplace for the past four or five years. Yet, because of his close relationship with the Ford family he has been able to keep his job despite the consistently horrid performance of his teams. It looked like the Lions might be turning a corner last year when they were 6-2, but to the dismay of Lions Nation the team fell flat on his face.
Millen has failed more than once in the two most important tasks of an NFL GM: 1) hire a head coach; 2) find a quarterback. He has cycled through Steve Mariucci, Marty Morninghweg and not has Rod Marinelli, who seems like a really great guy who would be a great position coach but is miscast as a head coach. And Millen’s best solution at QB for the Lions has been Jon Kitna. Again, Kitna seems like a great guy but he is much better suited as a backup in my opinion. He can win you a few games when your starter goes down but he turns the ball over way to much to be an effective long-term starter. As a GM in the NFL you have to find a stable and effective combination of coach and QB. At the very least, you have to one or the other. Look at the most consistently successful franchises over the last ten years in the NFL: New England (Belichick-Brady), Indianapolis (Dungy-Manning), Philadelphia (Reid-McNabb), New York Giants (Coughlin-Manning). And teams that have recently asserted themselves like Dallas and San Diego have done so because they have found more stability in their head coach-QB combos.
Anyone who reads this site knows that I am a huge Cleveland Browns fan, and grew up loving the Miami Dolphins. Both have teams have been mediocre (I’m being generous here) for years because they have been cycling through QBs and head coaches. For NFL teams, until you find stability at these two positions you will not be successful. And any GM who has made as many failed choices as Millen should have been relieved of his duties a long time ago.
Maybe his replacement will have no more luck, but I think the track record of Matt Millen has proven that simply giving him more time and more opportunities to make QB/Head Coach decisions was not going to change anything. Despite the relative struggles of the Browns and Dolphins, I’ve always felt fortunate that at least I wasn’t a Lions fan. The primary reason for that is complete lack of hope that the failed tenure of Matt Millen has instilled in Lions fans and NFL fans and observers everyone. Perhaps they can find someone who can help turn their moribund franchise around. At the very least, they’ll have someone other that Matt Millen making the decisions…and that alone should provide hope to Lions fans everywhere.
[tags]matt millen, nfl, detroit lions[/tags]