Detroit Lions Fans Deserve Better than Schwartz

Mike Cardano, Senior Fantasy Analyst November 27, 2012

“Hey, how about I just take that red flag back and we call it even…”

There’s no dispute. Officials working the Texans vs. Lions Thanksgiving Day game blew the call when Texans running back Justin Forsett was allowed to get up and run for an 81-yard touchdown. Depending on how you look at it, the result of the botched call may have cost Detroit the game. Sure there’s a problem with the rule. It’s a stupid rule, it’s obtuse; but the league will get that straightened out going forward, perhaps as early as this week. The problem here though was head coach Jim Schwartz losing his composure and hastily throwing the red challenge flag. Schwartz knew the rule before the game started and let his emotions get in the way of doing his job.

Forsett had clearly been tackled after eight yards and the play, a scoring play, would have automatically been reviewed and overturned had Schwartz not challenged the call. By rule (yes, the rule enforced was moronic) Schwartz’s challenge removed any chance for an automatic booth review of the scoring play and added a 15-yard penalty on the ensuing kick-off, adding insult to injury. In the end however, Detroit still had a chance to win the game in overtime; that is until Schwartz applied his proprietary game management skills. He Schwartzed the game…

On third and eleven from the 30-yard line, Schwartz decided to send his kicker Jason Hanson out for a 47-yard field goal attempt. It’s unclear whether Schwartz thought he was coaching a CFL game where their are only three downs, but he elected to forego running the ball on third down, a chance to make the field goal attempt closer for Hanson. If you didn’t see the kick, you can guess what happened next…

Bill Simmonns (@BillSimmons) of Grantland put it best in his twitter post in real time…

This is amazing. Has anyone ever seen a team kick an OT 47 yard FG on 3rd and 11 before? Can we do a concussion test on Jim Schwartz?”

Detroit Joke City

The Lions are a herd of talented young players misled by their leader. While the talent on Detroit is undeniable, their leadership has kept them from succeeding. Remember in the 2010 season when the Lions‘ young pups were just emerging and Schwartz blew the game against the Jets with faulty clock management? Don’t remember that one, Google “Jim Schwartz clock management,” and see how many other instances there have been. Against Buffalo and Minnesota are two others I can think of off the top of my head. To say that Schwartz’ in-game management has routinely cost Detroit games is putting it politely. If you’re a huge Lions fan, your blood pressure can’t possibly be within a normal range on game days.

And the stupid penalties; the Lions are the most undisciplined team in the sport. Detroit is this era’s Oakland Raiders except the Raiders knew how to win. The Schwartz era has been plagued by undisciplined penalties, many at crucial moments costing games, some of the 15-yard variety stemming from sheer brain farts. Ndamukong Suh, voted the dirtiest player in the league by his peers, has become the poster child for undisciplined-ness and has now seemingly created his own Thanksgiving Day tradition of kicking opposing players. What the heck?

As an NFL head coach, you can’t let the inmates run the asylum. If you haven’t recognized that Schwartz is nothing more than a ringleader of the inmates, then you haven’t been watching. Schwartz chasing after Jim Harbaugh should have been a clear signal that he isn’t management material. As the head of the team he needs to lead by example, he needs to be composed and in control. He doesn’t even have control of his own coaches. They think nothing of arguing with each other on the sidelines during a game with the game on the line.

Besides the San Diego Chargers, there isn’t a team in the league with anywhere close to the talent level that the Lions have that has underperformed and underachieved so badly year in and year out. Last week’s 4th and 29 all but put the nail in Norv Turner’s coffin as the head coach in San Diego. Schwartz’s throwing of the red challenge flag should do the same for him…

The Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson era won’t last forever. If William Clay Ford doesn’t replace Schwartz soon, the Lions may set the record for the most highlight reels in an era with no championships. Fans that reside in Detroit have gone through economic hell the past few years and deserve better. The Tigers have been doing their part, Lions fans deserve better than Schwartz…

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