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Humiliations

Overview of Humiliations

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Almost immediately the curse took affect when Bobby Laynes replacement, QB Tobin Rote was injured in the first  practice  after the trade and the defending champion Lions would finish 4-7 that year, never again coming close to reaching the heights of Laynes championship seasons. More early evidence of the curse was with Bobby Laynes trading card for 1960. The photo shows him in a blue Lions uniform but the team is the Pittsburgh Steelers. Could it be the blue uniform represented the curse that had stayed in Detroit after Bobby’s departure?

And speaking of Pittsburgh, don’t you find it a little strange that the one time Detroit hosted a superbowl, the Pittsburgh Steelers won it in Detroit?  Don’t you find it bizarre that when the Lions were having the worse season of any franchise that the Pittsburgh Steelers again would win the Superbowl?

If someone or something is truly cursed, no matter what they did, no matter how hard they try, something always keeps them from succeeding. Sometimes this bending of fate leaves behind an almost humorous bi-product that lingers long after the event. We decided to call these “humiliations” (rather than stench). Lets take a look at some of the most memorable ones.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - November 28, 2009 at 11:25 am

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Plum Did Dumb 1962

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The Lions had been playing second fiddle to the Packers under Vince Lombardi and vowed to prove that they were superior to the Packers. It appeared that the Lions were on their way to defeating the Packers as they led 7-6 and had the ball at midfield with 1:46 to play. Lion Joe Schmidt instructed QB Milt Plum to continue eating time off the clock by running the ball.
However Lion QB Milt Plum would snatch defeat from the jaws of victory when he tried passing the ball. The Lion receiver Terry Barr fell down and the pass was intercepted by Packer Herb Adderly who returned the ball to the Lion 22 yard line. As the Lion defense came onto the field, Alex Karras was in a rage screaming obscenities at Plum. Paul Hornung kicked the game winning field goal with 33 seconds left and the Packers would go on to win the NFL Championship, finishing the season with only 1 loss, that being to the Detroit Lions when they had a rematch on Thanksgiving day. The 1962 Green Bay Packers would be remembered as one of the greatest teams of all time, outscoring opponents 415-148, yet had the Lions not passed the ball that fateful day and ran down the clock, it would have been the Lions playing for the Championship in 62. Joe Schmidt would never forget the pass call, calling it “dumbass” and a “blunder that could never be erased” and legend has it that Alex Karras threw his helmet at Plum after the game, calling him a “pipe smoking jerk”. As a further humiliation to the Lions that day, the water did not work in the visitors locker room and the Detroit players had to be ushered into the jubilant Packer locker room to shower down.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Chuck - November 13, 2009 at 11:26 am

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Schmidt Fined – 1962

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The Lions Hall of Famer and eventual coach Joe Schmidt and several Lion players were fined $2000 by Pete Rozelle for betting $50 on the 1962 championship game between the Green Bay Packers and the New York Giants.

To put this in proportion remember that the Sporting News in 1999 voted Schmidt among the 100 greatest NFL players of all time.  Joe had a history of toughness and no nonsense and was voted defensive player of the year 4 times.  Yet despite all his accolades the leaders of the NFL decided to fine him for a bet of $50 on the NFL Championship game between the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants.

How powerful can this curse be to allow the NFL find out about a $50 dollar bet?

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Chuck - November 12, 2009 at 12:14 pm

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Karras Suspended 1963

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Lion Pro Bowler Alex Karras and Green Bay Packer halfback Paul Hornung were suspended indefinitely for gambling. Alex Karras was also told to stay away from a bar called the Lindell Athletic Club (AKA Lindell AC) by Pete Rozelle who charged it was a center for illegal sports betting. In outright defiance, Karras bought shares in the bar and became bartender there during his suspension. One day, ex Green Bay tackle Richard Afflis (AKA Dick the Bruiser) wandered into the bar and challenged Karras to a wrestling match. Karras agreed and the two began hamming it up to promote the wrestling match. A patron mistook this as a real fight and broke a pool stick over “The Bruisers” head. A fight broke out seemingly everywhere resulting in one of the largest brawls in Detroit history. “The Bruiser” alledgedly broke some bones in a police officer and got a hefty fine. The fight caused national attention and the wrestling match proceeded with “The Bruiser” defeating Karras after Karras opened up a gash in “The Bruisers” forehead. Karras eventually got out of the bar business, apologized to the NFL, and was reinstated in 1964 after a year suspension.

1 comment - What do you think?  Posted by Chuck - November 11, 2009 at 12:16 pm

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Snowballed – 1966

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On the last game of a 4-9-1 season, head coach Harry Gilmer was pummelled by snowballs thrown from irate Detroit fans from the stands at Tiger Stadium. The fans then began chanting “bye bye Harry” as the snowball throwing continued. The Lions would go on to lose the game, 28 – 16 before the homecrowd. After the season, William Clay Ford fired his coach and hired ex Lion linebacker Joe Schmidt as new head coach.

Harry Gilmer had a history of conflicts with the Lions players but can you think of any coach anywhere meeting a more humiliating end than being snowballed by the fans?  Also remember this guy was no slouch, he is a member of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and the Collegiate Hall of Fame.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Chuck - November 10, 2009 at 12:36 pm

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63 Yard Field Goal – 1970

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The Saints had just replaced their coach and had only one win up to that point in the season. The Saints kicker was an anemic 5-15 up to that point in the season. They were not much more than an expansion team but they had the curse working for them when they lined up for the last play of the game. With the Lions winning by one point, Tom Dempsey kicked a 63 yard field goal, a record that still stands to this day. Tom Dempsey, was handicapped and born with only half a foot but with the help of the curse kicked 4 field goals against the Lions that day.

To this day the record has only been tied once, and that was done at Mile High Stadium in Denver, When Dempsey kicked his it was in New Orleans which is below sea level so he actually had to contend with more air resistance and stilled cleared the post with a couple yards to spare.  The snapper held the ball at the New Orlean 37 yard line!  Several years later the NFL adopted a rule stating that anyone kicking with an artificial limb must have a shoe that conforms to that of a normal kicking shoe.  However this rule came too late to salvage the Lions season.

In the end the Lions still lost, 19-17 but in the history of the NFL has their been a more dramatic loss than this?

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Chuck - November 9, 2009 at 12:58 pm

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Lowest Playoff Score Ever – 1970

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The first time the Lions returned to the playoffs after the Bobby Layne era was 1970. This ended a 13 year drought! 13 is not a good number especially when you already are cursed so who could have been shocked when the Lions lost to the Dallas Cowboys 5-0 in what is still the lowest scoring playoff game of all time.  Dallas went on to win the NFC Championship that year after the historic Detroit game.  Detroit would not return to the playoffs for 12 more years.

As usual in a playoff loss, the Lions and Dallas Cowboys would go in opposite directions for the next few decades.  Dallas would win its first of 5 Superbowls the next year, earning them the nickname “America’s Team”  while the Lions would win 1 playoff game during the same period, earning them the nickname “That Cursed Team”.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Chuck - November 8, 2009 at 1:44 pm

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Lost Draft Pick – 1974

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Is it possible to trade your number 1 draft pick and not know it? The Lions did just that in 1974 when they traded Dave Thompson to the Saints for the Saint number one draft pick. They did not realize the deal was for Dave Thompson and their number one pick till they went to draft 13th overall and found out New Orleans had that position. It does not get much more embarrassing than this.

The Saints drafted Rick Middleton with their choice while the Lions (who were counting on two first round picks that year) drafted Ed O’Neil who  played linebacker for the Lions from 1974-1979.  To the best of our knowledge their is no relationship between the Lions Ed O’Neil and the actor Ed O’neil who played Al Bundy on Married with Children, the pride of Polk High.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Chuck - November 7, 2009 at 1:56 pm

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Bit the Dust – 1980

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The “Roar was Restored” for the first few games in 1980 when running back Billy Simms joined the club. After winning their first four games the Lions Jimmy “Spiderman” Allen did a musical version of the Queen song “Another one bites the Dust”.

This show of “Spirit” must have really enraged the curse because (as you can expect) things began to get ugly.

As the season progressed, the curse kicked in so strongly that the Lions did not even make the playoffs after their great start. Fans began singing their own lyrics to the song, “Another one beats our Butts” and once again the “Snore was Restored” for the Lions.

According to Wikipedia,  Jimmy “Spiderman” Allen is currently homeless and living in Los Angeles, California.  We certainly with him well.

Come and watch them Detroit Lions who no one seems to beat
and another one bites the dust
and another one bites the dust
.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Chuck - November 6, 2009 at 2:18 pm

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Shortest Overtime Loss – 1980

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First the Lions let the Bears score late to send the game into overtime (tied at 17-17), then they lose the toss and allow a 95 yard kick off return by David Williams on the first play to end what was then the shortest overtime game ever – 21 seconds (now the record is 14 seconds, Jets over Buffalo in 2002) . Naturally the Lions performed this feat in front of their home crowd, something to tell the grandkids about for all who attended.

The only thing that I can think of that would make this worse would be if it happened on Thanksgiving Day in front of the entire nation.

Wait a minute, it was on Thanksgiving Day in front of the entire nation!  What a Wicked and Humiliating Curse this thing is.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Chuck - November 5, 2009 at 2:28 pm

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25 Year Drought on Playoff Points – 1982

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Is this a mistake because the title sure sounds like a positive thing, scoring your first points in a playoff game since the Bobby Layne era.  However Detroit was not jumping with much excitement that year and with good reason.

Thanks to a strike shortened season, the Lions made the playoffs with a 4-5 record. They then lost to Washington 31-7 in the first round of the playoffs which marked the first time in a quarter century the Lions scored a point in a playoff game.  Imagine waiting 25 years to see your team score a point in the playoffs, and when they finally do, its during a blow out.  To the best of our knowledge the Lions also tied Cleveland for the least amount of wins to make the playoffs in the modern era of football, another fine achievement.

The Washington Redskins would go on that year to win their first of 3 Super Bowls in the upcoming decades while the Lions would win one playoff game during the same time frame.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Chuck - November 4, 2009 at 2:51 pm

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Monte Clark Prays on Sideline – 1983

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Only a few years back the 49ers and Lions had been battling for the first pick in the draft (Lions won that battle in 1979, getting the first pick with a stunning 2 win season and drafting Billy Simms), now several years later these two teams meet in San Francisco in the first round of the playoffs.

The Lions were leading  23-17 with 5 minutes to play, however the 49ers would score late (how often have we seen this) to take the lead.  With the 49ers holding a 1 point lead, the Lions lined up on the last play to kick a field goal that would win the game. Along the sidelines was the Lion coach Monte Clark praying that he succeed. The usually reliable Murray (who made a 54 yard field goal in the first half) missed the 43 yard field goal which would send the Lions and 49ers in different directions for the next 20 years.  The image of Monte Clark praying as the kick sailed wide is symbolizes so many unanswered prayers by Lions fan and today is known only as “The Prayer”.

San Francisco would win 5 Superbowls from the 80’s to the present while the Lions would win one playoff game during the same time frame.  One has to think how would history had been changed had the Lions won this playoff game.

The Lions missed field goal against the 49er’s in the NFCD.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Chuck - November 3, 2009 at 3:14 pm

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Fontes Arraigned as Mickey Mouse Era Begins – 1987

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Defensive Coordinator Wayne Fontes is arrested and eventually arraigned in a Rochester Hills Courtroom on cocaine possession and two drunk driving charges. Wayne pleads not guilty and was released on $7,000 personal bond and eventually is promoted to Head Coach when then Coach Darryl Rogers is let go by the organization.

Wayne would coach the Lions from 1988-1996 and become one of the Lions most successful coaches with 67 wins (71 losses as well but hell, who’s counting).  During a Disney charity celebration  Fontes wore Mickey Mouse ears which caused a fury of jokes in Detroit such as “Fontes Thinking Cap” and “President of the Mouse David (Detroits Offensive Coordinator) Fan Club”.  At a Halloween party Fontes starting quarterback, Scott Mitchell, ridiculed him by dressing up as Wayne Fontes (wearing a Mickey Mouse hat of course) and giving fictional interviews to the press   (Fontes had just benched Mitchell during a “close” 35-7 loss to New York).

Mitchell’s humiliation of Fontes would foretell Mitchells own future, with Fontes eventually fired, Mitchell was basicly booed out of Detroit for inept play, thus ending  the Lions greatest era for the past 50 years.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Chuck - November 2, 2009 at 3:38 pm

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Seeing Red – 1987

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I am guessing on this date, Coach JacquesDemer of the Red Wings was riding high in Detroit and his team was doing well.  Jacques himself had won (or would win) Coach of the Year honors back to back.   He did a commercial where a fan asked him for tickets, and he proceeds to give him some, but they are not to the event that fan wanted (The fan expects Red Wing tickets but gets tickets such as theatre or ballet tickets). The point of the commercial was you don’t always get what you want or expect (I do not even remember the product he was peddling). Well one of the commercials showed the fan looking at his tickets with a real sour look on his face, exclaiming disappointedly, “The Lions”. After a couple weeks the commercial was pulled at the request of the Lions.

Imagine a commercial being made in a market that actually pokes fun at one of the professional teams in the area.  There was no fear of an uproar because everyone knew it was the truth.  Years later Jacques would admit to being illiterate which means he probably was not reading from a script.  Stay in Detroit long enough and this Lion stuff just comes naturally.

1 comment - What do you think?  Posted by Chuck - November 1, 2009 at 4:19 pm

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May Day Play – 1988

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Chuck (3rd and) Long only quarterbacked here for 23 games but perhaps the funniest example of futility in history happened during his reign as quarterback. Lions were leading 14- 12 with the ball on Detroits 12 yard line and 4th down coming up, the punting team came onto the field. However right before the ball was snapped, one of the Saints defensive players yelled “MayDay” which was the Lions receivers code word that the defense was not covering them and to fake the punt and do a pass play. Needless to say the punter (Jim Arnold) did not punt, but instead threw the ball to his receiver (rookie Carl Painter ) who had no idea it was coming and hit him on the back as he ran down field. The Lions lost the game 22- 14 but created one of the all time funniest moments in history.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Chuck - October 31, 2009 at 5:09 pm

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