Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A walkout in protest of Matt Millen? Good luck, as you are going to need it

The annual fan protest against Matt Millen and the Detroit Lions will be this coming Sunday, on Christmas Eve. A fan walkout is scheduled at the 8 minute mark of the 2nd quarter. Head over to Detroit Sports Snobs and Fire Millen for the details.

More power to them, as I've been quite vocal in my disgust with Millen as well. (Just look at my sidebar) Unfortunately, the walkout is nothing more than an exercise in futility, ultimately destined to fail, probably miserably.

Using a walkout as the method of protest leaves me wondering, as the Lions still get your money. It's not hitting William Clay Ford in the pocketbook, which would be the only thing he would notice. If the game is close, which is a distinct possibility considering the protest is to happen so early in the game, and the Bears have absolutely nothing to play for, I doubt many fans are going to just up and leave Ford Field.

If they do leave en mass, that's great. I just don't see people pissing away their hard earned money by walking out of a game that is a little more than a quarter over. To be brutally honest, I know I wouldn't.

Another factor working against this year's protest is that I don't see the same righteous outrage this season. The emotions that boiled over in the last few games of the 2005 season just isn't there anymore. Lions fans have been so furious, for so long, that they have nothing left.

Last year was the flash point. We had the rallying cry of the original "Fire Millen" protester being chased throughout Ford Field, then tackled by security, during the Vikings game last December. The iconic images were broadcast worldwide, "Fire Millen" became an national phenomenon, and lit a fire locally that finally cumulated with the "Millen Man March" and the "Orange out" during the last home game of '05.

But when all was said and done, what did the "Millen Man March" actually accomplish? Not much of anything, as the Fords did nothing, the Lions are even worse off, and the incompetent boob is still in charge. If anything, the fan revolt caused the Fords to dig in their heels, and become more resolute in their unwavering support of Matt Millen.

So this year, I get a totally different vibe from the Lions' fanbase. Not one of acceptance, or even indignation, but of inevitability. There a sense of hopelessness surrounding the Lions, that nothing we fans do will make a lick of difference to the blue blood that is William Clay Ford. He's a modern day Marie Antoinette. Ford will tell the Lions' blue collar fans to eat their proverbial cake, and like it.

Many of us, myself included, have moved on from being angry, and are now apathetic. The last few games have shown us as much. The crowds at Ford Field are beginning to thin, there is no energy or life in the building at all. Even the players have noticed. You can't even get a hearty "Fire Millen" chant going anymore. And that may be what finally brings down the Millen regime. Not protests, or walkouts, but fan apathy.

Apathetic fans don't spend money, and they don't show up for games. It's happened here before. For those too young to remember, the Lions of the mid-late 80's, the Darryl Rogers era Lions, were almost as bad as the Millen led Lions. It was one of the lower ebbs in Lions history. What finally caused Ford to change directions wasn't the constant losing, but an empty Silverdome. There were games towards the end of the Rogers debacle when the Silverdome was less than half full. 35,000 attendance in an 80,000 seat stadium got the attention of WCF damn quick. It ushered in the Wayne Fontes era, but that's another post...

That's why I don't see another protest accomplishing much of anything. A walkout of a few hundred on Sunday won't cause Ford to even blink. I honestly believe that he couldn't even pretend to give a shit about the fans, even if his life depended upon it. As for the incompetent boob, Millen wouldn't resign when the fans were in open revolt last season, so I seriously doubt another protest will make him change his mind.

Like the protesters, I hope to God that Millen gets the ziggy at the end of the season. If he does, it won't be thanks to fan protests. It'll be due to the fact that Ford will finally get it through his thick upper crust skull that Millen is a moron when it comes to running a football team. Or if Ford Jr. stages a coup d'├ętat. I doubt either happens after this season.

To those that plan to protest though, I do wish you good luck. Keep tilting at those windmills. As Robert Browning wrote, "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?”

1 comment:

  1. You make some good points my friend, but the NFL today is different. The teams are protected by TV Revenue sharing...so lack of people showing up or buying tickets isnt a big deal. They get hurt if suites don't get purchased, because they get to keep all of that.
    If you want to hurt the LIONS, you dont support their advertisers. But do you really think Pepsi or Bud will notice? Probably not. And Ford Motor Co...well its a sinking ship as is.
    We walk because we have no other alternative. It's not about Firing Millen. Who cares about that? That's easy..that as easy as saying don't buy tickets. That is not a solution.
    Is walking out going to change anything? No, but the players have checked out, and its time the fans who already bought the tickets do as well.
    When you are at the movies and you realize that the movie you are watching sucks...you get up and leave. This is the same thing.
    Can we get a refund? No I don't think so. It sure would be nice.
    In fact, how about the Lions giving all season ticket holders a refund for every loss, and then fining their players and coaches for every home loss. There's incentive to get better. Fat chance.
    Whether anyone walks out with us or not we don't care. We are going home to spend time with your families, because the LIONS don't care about us.
    This is our Christmas gift to us.


    Church of NFL ~ Local 1957