Lions coach Jim Schwartz should have been fired on Monday morning. But it didn't happen.
It's not a shocker, though. After all, it's the Lions where most aren't held accountable. Let's not forget that Matt Millen, considered the worst general manager is pro sports history, was allowed to run the franchise for 8-plus years.
In this case, it's been five seasons for Schwartz and the Lions have basically been bad since he got here. They made the postseason once under Schwartz in 2011, but the team has been brutal the past two seasons. On Sunday, the Lions lost 23-20 in overtime to the hapless New York Giants at Ford Field. To make matters worse, Schwartz lost his cool and cursed fans after they booed him for not trying to win the game at the end of regulation.
Despite having two timeouts and 23 seconds left, the Lions decided to play for overtime rather than take a few shots downfield.
TV cameras caught Schwartz cursing at fans who booed his decision to play it safe. "I was disappointed to hear the boos," Schwartz told the media after the game. "We're getting ready to go to overtime right there and our crowd is great for us and support us.
"The team needed a lift right there. We didn't need to feel bad at that point." He added, "That's tough, situations when your players are getting booed and you want them fired up. That's what I was trying to do right there."
It didn't work. The Giants (6-9) prevailed. The loss was the Lions' fifth in the last six games and eliminated them for the postseason.
Many thought it would have been a layup for the Lions, especially after they started 6-3, plus the fact that their division rivals both lost their quarterbacks - the Bears' Jay Cutler and the Packers' Aaron Rodgers.
Instead, the Lions (7-8) will play out the string, finishing the season at Minnesota. It's a good chance they will lose that game, too. That game will mark the final game at the Metrodome. You can bet the Vikings will be up for the emotional moment.
Still, it's hard to ignore what Schwartz-led teams have done the last two seasons at the end of the season.
Last year, the Lions lost their last eight games to finish 4-12. This year, they've lost five of six. That's means the Lions have lost 13 of 14 when it mattered most.
There's no defense for that terrible play down the stretch. The Lions have talent with Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford, Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley. No one is saying the team is good enough to win the Super Bowl, but they should be better than they have been.
Nobody cares that Schwartz took over this team after they were 0-16. Many want to give him credit for making the team respectable. The team had to get better with all the high draft picks they got for being lousy for so long.
The bottom line remains that enough progress wasn't made. In fact, you can make an argument that they have regressed the last two seasons under Schwartz, especially Stafford. The Lions often were able to beat the also-rans, but never the best teams in the league.
The Lions didn't play any of the Super Seven teams this season - Denver, Kansas City, Seattle, San Francisco, New England, Carolina and New Orleans.
And the two 10-win teams that the Lions did play - Arizona and Philadelphia - they lost both games.
Players, of course, back Schwartz. That's not shocking. It happens all the time. Instead, players shouldered the blame.
"It simply comes down that we didn't execute, we didn't get the job done," Suh said. "It falls on the players. That's how I see it.
"For whatever those reason are, we will have to go out in the offseason and figure it out and make some changes with us as players and fix it."
The easy fix is replacing Schwartz, who has $12 million left on his contract and has only won 29 of 78 games.
"We knew we were going to roll," LB Stephen Tulloch said. "After the 6-3 start, things just started to unravel."
The same can be said about Schwartz's tenure as Lions head coach. The end is clearly here.
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