2015-12-27 / Viewpoints

Off The Cuff

By Keith Salisbury
Citizen Editor

This letter was written just days before Christmas, after the Detroit Lions’ improbable win over the New Orleans Saints on Monday night, by a long-suffering Lions fan.

Dear Santa,

I’m sorry for writing to you this week, I know it’s your busy time. But once again, I had to write to you pleading for a Christmas wish for my hapless Lions. I know, I know – the last time back in 2005 you told me you aren’t allowed to interfere in matters relating to sports teams. But just remember how that turned out. I wrote you begging for your help in finding the Lions a new coach, and giving Matt Millen the wisdom to run the team. Instead, we ended up with two more years of the Millen cesspool regime. Well, guess what? Here we are, 10 years later, and it’s back to more of the same.

Look Santa, I know you’re a good guy. You used to leave me some great presents when I was a kid. I still have some of those old G.I. Joes. I’m begging you. The Lions have been snake-bit for the entire time I’ve been alive. There are fans much older than me, and they can’t take much more. I know I’m just one guy, but I’m sure if I’d had the time, I could have put together a petition and gotten thousands to sign on, asking for the same thing. Our beloved Lions need help desperately.

I’m sure you’re aware, the Lions got off to a 1-7 start this year, after reaching the playoffs last season. That induced a firestorm of change in the organization, costing coaches, general managers and presidents their jobs. Players have fallen by the wayside. And yet, the Lions are on pace for yet another below .500 season. I know they were able to eke out a win over New Orleans Monday night, but did you see that game? No, of course you didn’t. Not the week of Christmas. I’m sure you were busy making sure the sleigh got packed, the final toys got made and The List got checked twice, again. Anyway, that Saints defense was bloody awful, and the Lions’ defense played almost as bad. I mean, seriously, the Lions led 28-3 at the start of the second half and barely held on for a 35-27 win. By the way, the Saints aren’t getting over .500 this season either.

Anyway, since so many high-ranking team officials have already been swept out in a firestorm, change is as inevitable as finding reindeer droppings on the roof on Christmas morning. That means team owner Martha (Firestone) Ford is going to be making some tough decisions, and people are going to be fired and hired. Though I don’t know her personally, I’m sure she’s a nice woman. By all accounts, her late husband, William Clay Ford, was a nice man, loyal to a fault. Coaches and players loved working for him, and now her. And that’s where they need your help, Santa.

I know you can’t use your Christmas magic to give her any kind of nudge, or insight, to help her with her decisions. And I, and most Lions fans, are encouraged that she’s reached out to people in the NFL who have had success running teams for guidance in her search for a general manager. However, she’s already hired an old family friend as president of the franchise, which raised a few red flags for us fans. Anyway, what I’m asking is, could you leave a copy of “Running an NFL Franchise for Dummies” or “The Idiot’s Guide to Running an NFL Franchise” under her tree this year? While her children are certainly all grown, I assume she has some great-grandchildren running around the mansion somewhere, so you’ll probably be stopping anyway.

I hope you can help us out, Santa. We Lions fans are getting desperate. I’m not sure we can take much more of the futility.

Be safe, Santa. And if you want to leave a G.I. Joe or two under my tree, that would be great. My spouse and are living in my family’s old homestead now. I’m sure you remember it. You used to be a regular visitor. Don’t mind the rabbits, just give them some pets and they’ll be happy. There’s homemade fudge on the table in the dining room. Help yourself.

Merry Christmas, Santa!

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