The Detroit Lions — Marketable?
We all know the New England Patriots would have been plenty marketable if they had beaten the New York Giants in the Super Bowl and became the first team since the 1972 Miami Dolphins to go undefeated. Just look at what those Dolphins have done for the past 36 years.
But how about the Detroit Lions, who on Sunday could become the first team to go 0-for-season since the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers?
You'd think not. I mean, all the NFL would tell me was that the top Lions player in jersey sales, Calvin Johnson, is ranked in the top 75 in sales in the league. Top 75? And you certainly don't see those team-signed 1976 Buccaneers helmets on eBay (though I do have one of those jerseys).
But people are bitter in Detroit, and it has become fashionable and cool to hate on the Lions with more than a bag on your head.
A guy named Johnny King has a Web site called DetroitLions0and16, where he's selling 0-16 season shirts with a drawing of a lion sprawled out on the floor.
"We've sold about 300 shirts and when they do lose it's going to be crazy," said King, who says he was a Lions season ticket holder for 20 years and was ready to make a new statement with the shirts.
"We believe it is time for the people of Detroit to stand up and say we are not going to take it anymore. If we the people can boot (Mayor) Kwame (Kilpatrick) out of office, why can't we put enough pressure on old man Ford to do the right thing by selling the team to someone who will make it a winning team — or hire someone like Parcells? Give him the check book and total control and it would happen."
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