It hit me last week following the Detroit Lions” seventh consecutive loss to start the season they tacked on number eight yesterday that this team is destined to lose.

Paul Wong
The SportsMonday Column<br><br>Raphael Goodstein

I came to this realization last week while listening to an interview in which Herman Moore referred to his team in the third person. My roommate let Moore off the hook, noting that his experiences during a decade of losing are similar to the ways in which children develop schizophrenia “When a child is abused as a kid,” my roommate said, “he sometimes begins to see himself in the third person so that he doesn”t have to deal with the situation. Soon, he”s developed multiple personalities.

“Herman”s been beaten for so long, he”s viewing himself not as a member of the Lions, but as another person not affiliated with the team.”

I”ve long defended this organization while others mocked it, but last week, I really had nothing to say to my roommate”s observation. I mean, my roommate wasn”t really even mocking the Lions.

He was just correct.

This team is used to losing and it”s going to take a lot more than new heads of their household, coach Marty Mornhinweg and team president Matt Millen, to change this.

I used to defend this team because I saw a lot of myself in it.

Right around Christmas time, while the Lions were desperately trying to make up for their losses to the Cincinnati Bengals and Chicago Bears, I”d find myself trying to make up for skipped classes and failed tests.

While Detroit was trying to pull off an upset, I was trying to ace a final.

The key was to have been just good enough for the late rally to be meaningful.

Things would typically work out well for everyone.

The Lions would sneak into the playoffs, barely giving coach Wayne Fontes another year of job stability, while I would write a good paper, barely passing the class.

The problem is, the Lions got greedy. Mediocrity wasn”t good enough, and ownership fired Fontes. And at this time, I considered turning a new leaf as well, but first, I figured, I”d see how this new-leaf thing worked for them.

Out went Fontes, in came Bobby Ross.

But the Lions were as average as ever just consistently average. A 3-5 start followed by a 6-2 ending was replaced with a 4-4 start and a 5-3 ending. They still barely made the playoffs, but it just didn”t seem as fun.

While some take the Denver Broncos approach do well all year I failed to see the excitement in this. Maybe you do well at the end, maybe even win a couple of Super Bowls, but the Fontes way seems so much more lovable.

In any event, Ross couldn”t deal with the Lions” penchant for mediocrity and quit in the middle of last season, and former Michigan coach Gary Moeller took over with a three-year contract.

After all, if Moeller used to lead Michigan to annual first-place finishes, why couldn”t he do the same with Detroit? Or so thought the Fords, the family that owns the Lions.

I”m not exactly sure why analogies don”t apply to football, but for some reason Moeller-to-good college football team didn”t equal Moeller-to-good pro football team.

So Moeller was out.

And in came Millen, Mornhinweg and his Harley Davidson, and “a new attitude,” as the Fords advertised. But, after eight straight losses, it looks like only Millen, Mornhenwig and the Harley Davidson are new. The attitude is really just Fontes” old attitude.

Not new, just lovable.

But as long as I”m still hoping for a good final exam grade in History, who am I to judge?

Raphael Goodstein wants to thank Jeff Ponitz and Jordan Stancil. He can be reached at raphaelg@umich.edu.

Raphael Goodstein wants to thank Jeff Ponitz and Jordan Stancil. He can be reached at raphaelg@umich.edu.

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