On Tuesday, Lions coach Jim Caldwell called Detroit the most negative media market he’s been in during his coaching career.
Caldwell didn’t draw a line between that negativity and the Lions’ 1-7 start to the season, saying that the negativity “has always been here” during a tenure that got off to a much better start with a playoff run during the 2014 season. Quarterback Matthew Stafford hasn’t made as many stops around the football world as Caldwell, but he’s been in Detroit longer and agrees with Caldwell’s take on the local media.
“I don’t have the experience that coach Caldwell does, not only in this league, but in life, but I would back that,” Stafford said on “The Mitch Albom Show” on WJR, via MLive.com. “The second we’re 0-4, it’s like, ‘Hey, do you remember 0-16?’ to all the guys that were there. Things like that. That’s the fact of the matter, in 2008, they went 0-16. I understand the factual aspect of that question, but 0-4 is 0-4, it’s not 0-16. That kind of stuff happens quite often. Then you’re on a winning streak and it’s, ‘Are they for real?’ Things like that.”
Stafford wasn’t there for the 0-16 season, arriving a year later with the first overall pick attained by their epic futility, and says that “every year is a different year.” The problem for the Lions has been that whatever unique twists and turns might happen along the way, every year winds up feeling like the same year and it’s inevitable that will be reflected in the way media and fans respond to the team.
That may make for an atmosphere that’s too heavy on negativity, but you can only get kicked in the gut so many times before you come to expect it.