So the Detroit Lions have finally rid themselves of president Matt Millen?
What the heck took so long?
Millen's job status was the brunt of jokes all over the country -- although Lions fans probably think otherwise -- and yet the Ford family, which owns the team, sat back and watched him lead the team nowhere, his drafting ineptness a joke among the legions of scouts I talked to over the years. You can’t say he ran it into the ground because the Lions seem to always be down low, but he didn't do anything to change the culture.
The big question is what made it happen now. Did somebody finally find the negatives Millen had of the Ford's in compromising positions, the one thing he had keeping him in charge? Relax. It's a joke.
What changed was the Ford family probably had enough of the abuse coming the team's way because of Millen. The fans had enough. The Detroit media was killing them.
You can't hide a 31-84 record. It speaks for itself. Loudly, like Millen did when he was drawing up plays as an NFL analyst.
How many times did Millen's Lions teams been to the playoffs? Try never.
He took a team that went 9-7 the year before he arrived as president in 2001 and has taken it lower and lower and lower.
Moral of the story: Don't hire a broadcaster to run your team.
Millen sounded like he knew what he was talking about when he was a broadcaster of NFL game. But he didn't come up on the fundamentals of player evaluation and lacked the scouting eye.
Broadcasters make knee-jerk reactions. That doesn't work in the real world. Scouting is a craft that must be fine-tuned.
Look at Millen's drafts. They were horrible. That's the big problem. Millen drafted 62 players in his tenure. Of those 62, 10 started last week against the San Francisco 49ers, including rookies Kevin Smith and Gosder Cherilus.
That means he landed eight starters from his first seven drafts. Pathetic. That span of drafting includes the foolishness of drafting three receivers in three successive seasons with top-10 picks. It started in 2003 with Charles Rogers (second overall), then Roy Williams (seventh) in 2004 with Mike Williams (10th) in 2005. Rogers and Williams are out of football.
Their failures led to Millen using the second overall pick in 2007 on receiver Calvin Johnson.
Chasing flopped picks is a NFL executive's curse. It will lead to the firing line.
Johnson and Roy Williams are quality receivers, but in Millen's desire to correct the receiving issues, the quarterback situation never improved.
Millen missed on Joey Harrington, with the third overall pick in 2003, and hasn't fixed that spot since.
That's what happens when teams hire men who don't come up through the scouting ranks. There are so many good football men out there, guys who have paid their dues, who get shafted because they don't have a name.
The Atlanta Falcons hired one of those types of men in Thomas Dimitroff to run their football operations. There are more out there just like him. Smart owners will look that way. Pencil-pushing, number-crunching executives and name broadcasters don't cut it.
You can't just pop out of the TV booth and expect to know how to pick players.
Matt Millen is proof. Now he's gone, which brings up this question:
Who has those negatives now?