Believe it or not, before Matt Millen took over as general manager for the Detroit Lions in 2001, the team actually wasn’t that bad.

Drafted into the Millen mess, poor Joey Harrington never stood a chance.

Drafted into the Millen mess, poor Joey Harrington never stood a chance.

In three of the four seasons prior to Millen’s arrival, the Lions were .500 or better. In fact, the Lions were only below .500 three times during the decade before the Millen Era (all 5-11 seasons).

Then along came Millen and it didn’t take him long to put his “stamp” on the franchise. In his first season (2001), the Lions had their worst season (2-14) since 1979.

In the 2002 draft, Millen took Joey Harrington with the third pick saying, “A kid this good may only come along once every three or four years.” The Lions threw Harrington to the wolves and he responded with a 59.9 passer rating, 12 TDs, and 16 INTs. Detroit went 3-13 that year, making for the worst combined two season win total for the franchise since the 1940s.

Despite hiring the highly-touted Steve Mariucci for the 2003 season, things didn’t get much better. The Lions went 5-11, and didn’t win a road game for the third straight season under Millen (24 games).

Unlike most stories, this one never takes a turn for the better. From 2003 to 2007, Millen drafted a wide receiver in the first round four times. Two of those receivers – Charles Rogers and Mike Williams – currently don’t have NFL jobs. From 2004-07, the Lions posted a combined 14-34 record.

During Millen’s seven-year tenure, the Lions defense never ranked among the league’s Top 20.

Painfully, the Lions began last season with a 6-2 record, but on cue, they lost seven of their last eight games to finish with a 7-9 record.

Somehow, Matt Millen kept his job for seven full seasons and the first three games – all losses of course – of the 2008 season. Finally, he’s been relieved of his duties. He wraps up his tenure as the worst general manager in the history of professional sports in the modern era. Let’s just hope he never gets another NFL job, or something is seriously, seriously wrong.

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