The ball spiraled toward sure-handed Herman Moore. Lions fans rose from their seats. The roar inside the Silverdome heightened in decibels as No. 84 was about to corral another touchdown reception.
Moore was by his lonesome inside Chicago’s 25-yard line, not a defender within sight. If he catches the pass, it’s 17-3 Lions, the game is essentially finished, another playoff berth is clinched.
So here came Charlie Batch’s pass toward the greatest statistical receiver in Lions history. The four-time Pro Bowler eyed the incoming spiral …
And it bounced off his chest.
A collective murmur swept through the ‘Dome like a brush fire. Three hours later, an old friend from East Lansing named Paul Edinger aligned in a funky motion, booted an awkward-looking line drive, and it somehow sailed 54 yards, through the uprights, and thus gave birth to the Matt Millen Era.
“I lost it in the lights,” Moore said on that ugly Christmas Eve in 2000.
He lost it in the lights? Only the Detroit Lions franchise can employ a two-time NFL receptions leader and watch him morph into a bumbling mess.
If Moore catches that ball, there’s a good chance Millen never leaves the broadcast booth.
Yet he lost it in the lights.
Don’t bother getting excited about this week’s NFL draft, because nothing has changed since 1963, and nothing ever will. It’s one sad-sack moment after the other.
The Lions couldn’t win with Chicago’s Super Bowl-winning GM (Jerry Vainisi), one of their best outside linebacker prospects broke his neck (Reggie Brown), a talented left guard died while trimming weeds on his front lawn (Eric Andolsek), another linebacker hit a patch of black ice and killed three people (Reggie Rogers) and another offensive lineman broke his neck (Mike Utley).
Pat Swilling was a double-digit sack specialist in New Orleans, but an average player in Honolulu blue and silver.
Barry Sanders leaped above goal-line defenders at Oklahoma State, but stood on the sidelines during goal-line situations in Detroit.
Give it up, people. This franchise is doomed. It’s not worth your time and hard-earned money to watch inside Ford Field. Tune in on the tube, but curb your enthusiasm and lessen your expectations. Treat it like a comedy. (How will they lose today? Maybe Germane Crowell’s stay-in bounds decision at Minnesota in 2001? Or how about Bobby Ross’s go-for-a-2-point-conversion decision at Arizona in 1999? Or maybe Marty Mornhinweg choosing to kick off to start OT? To start OT!)
Reggie Rogers, Charles Rogers, Darryl Rogers, they all make William Clay Ford look like Mr. Rogers.
Calvin Johnson’s career will be brilliant, but it will likely end like Barry Sanders’career: Without a Super Bowl, because it’s just a TV show for the Lions.
On third-and-8, they gain 7. When they need six points, they settle for three.
Having Barry Sanders in a Lions uniform was like dating the best supermodel in the world, only to be dumped and never date again.
The situation will never improve.
Since 1963, it’s been the same chain of events: The mindless owner hires a bad GM, who hires a bad coach, and together, they make fifth-rounders become second-rounders.
So … are you still excited about the draft?