The Commonwealth of Virginia's Ultimate Blog

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Motor City Hits for the Cycle

Today the Detroit Lions fired their head coach Steve Mariucci after suffering an embarassing 27-7 loss to the Atlanta Vicks Falcons on Thanksgiving day. While the firing itself is not particularly surprising given Mooch's record of 15-28 over nearly three seasons, it does complete another more unusual record.

In the past calendar year, all four of Detroit's professional sports teams have replaced their head coaches. Last summer, the NBA's Pistons parted ways with the coach who led them to their third NBA Championship in 2004. Larry Brown's departure opened the door for Flip Saunders who has gotten the Pistons off to an NBA-best start of 10-2. Shortly thereafter, the NHL's RedWings said "goodbye" to Scotty Bowman's successor, Dave Lewis, and welcomed in new blood in the form of Mike Babcock. The Wings have responded by vaulting to the top of the Western Conference early in the season. This fall, the beheadings continued when the disappointing Detroit Tigers fired manager Alan Trammell and replaced him with veteran Jim Leyland.

With the firing of Steve Mariucci, Detroit-area fans are beginning to wonder if their city has become the place where coaching careers go to die. While Saunders and Babcock seem to be having success so far, the residents of Motown have to be concerned with all the turnover.

Incidentally, columnist Dan Wetzel addresses the fact that the failures of the Lions may not be entirely the fault of the coaching staff. It is a valid point that sports fans should consider before calling for any coach's head on a platter. Responsibility for a team's success or failure should start at the top of the food chain, not the bottom. While coaches should be held responsible when necessary, they shouldn't just serve as sacrifices to save the butts of their bosses.

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