The Lions' consistent losing is unreal

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DETROIT – At least, the Detroit Lions are consistent.

With their ugly 21-14 loss to the lowly St. Louis Rams on Sunday, the Lions are guaranteed another losing season.

In fact, it's the 13th time since 2000 that the Lions will lose at least nine games.

Over the last 16 seasons, the Lions have made the playoffs just twice.  Yes, they are officially the worst NFL franchise since the year 2000.

No team has had less success during this span, including Jacksonville and Cleveland. Ouch!

It's hard to imagine that a year ago the Lions were playoff-bound with an 11-5 record. They had a suitable-for-framing defense, the overall No. 2 defense in the league. It appeared as if coach Jim Caldwell, in his first season, had broken through. The Lions were finally on their way.

It was a mirage. They were frauds.

The Lions are bad. There's just no debate.

Fans, loyal to a fault, wanted to believe in their team, wanted to buy it. Even when some questioned their winning last season, they denounced those analysts as haters.

But now, even the best fans can't deny it any longer. There's something rotten in Allen Park.

The Lions need an overhaul. Caldwell and his coaches need to go. Better yet, it's time to move on from Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson.

Did we mention that the Lions, led by Stafford and Johnson, lost to a terrible Rams team that had lost five games in a row and had an undrafted QB in Case Keenum at the helm for St. Louis.

The Lions are now 4-9 and became the first team to lose to the Rams (5-8) since Nov. 1. For years now, the Lions have been the General Hospital of the NFL. Sick teams always seem to get better after playing the Lions.

It's a trend that has gone on for years. It tell you how deep rooted the problem is.

And while management changes are obvious - owner Martha Ford fires president Tom Lewand and GM Martin Mayhew at the halfway point - the next regime has to go further and be willing to changes the players that actually play, starting at the top.

For sure, it will be hard to part with Stafford and Johnson. Both have given Lions fans thrills for years. Sadly, most of the moments didn't translate into victories.

On Sunday, Stafford passed the 25,000-yard plateau. He reached it in 90 games, faster than any quarterback in NFL history. It was two games sooner than Hall of Famer Dan Marino.

Johnson caught his only pass in the loss in St. Louis with less than three minutes to go. It kept his streak alive. Johnson has caught a pass in 132 straight games - that's every game he's played in his NFL career.

All those numbers seem empty though because the duo wasn't able to muster a single playoff win. The Lions have won just one playoff game since 1957. And 1991 was a long time ago.

Stafford and Johnson were supposed to change things. Plain and simple, neither have.

Let's be honest. The Lions will finish in last place with them. Next season, they can also finish in last place without them.

And if you weren't sure the Lions needed a shakeup in the front office, you saw their terrible drafting play out on your TV screen.

Aaron Donald, the Rams' DT, could have been drafted by the Lions with the 10th overall pick in the 2014 draft.

He had three sacks on Sunday, including a key sack in the fourth quarter that derailed a Lions' drive.

Meanwhile, fans watched TE Eric Ebron, who was selected instead of Donaldson, catch three passes for a paltry 27 yards.

It mistakes like that that have plagued the Lions.

The Lions aren't losing because of bad luck or some dumb curse.

It's really simple. Ownership has hired the wrong executives, including Matt Millen arguably the worst GM in the history of pro sports.

The Fords have hired eight coaches since 2000, none any good here.

They have often drafted the wrong players over and over. That's how you put together a mess that consistently loses in a league built on parity.