During the player introductions, all of the offensive players for the Dolphins were introduced by the number on their jersey only....except for one player. The Ford Field Public Address Announcer called Dolphin QB Joey Harrington by name which resulted in Harrington being greeted with a resounding round of boos and catcalls. For those of you who are fans of the NFL, you know the story of Harrington and the Lions. For those of you who aren't....here's a quick cliff notes version of the story.
Harrington was a highly touted NFL prospect as he played QB at the University of Oregon. In 2002, the Lions made him a high draft choice and touted him as the savior of a franchise that has had a history of floundering as soon as they approach anything that could remotely be considered success. Through a series of horrible personnel decision made in the front office and the sometimes intentional underperformance of other highly payed team members, the Lions continued to suffer through losing season after losing season, becoming an embarassement for the city of Detroit. During this time, Harrington was expected to carry this team on his shoulders and turn this group of losers into winners. Throughout his 4 year stint in Detroit, Harrington kept his head held high, a positive attitude, and never publicly utterred a negative word about his employers, his teammates, or the city he called home. Then in May of this year, just when it looked as though the Lions had drained all of the life they could from the talented Harrington, they traded him to the Dolphins. A decision that would come back to haunt them.
More to the point of this post though, are the two men in the photo above. Genral Manager Matt Millen, and team owner William Clay Ford. These two men have collectively taken a team with a storied history and run it like the Ford Family has run it's little part of the american auto industry.(Yep! It's the same family.) Ford has a track record of horrible business decisions where the Lions are concerned. Rather than sitting back and letting the people he hires do their jobs, he loves to micro manage from the top. Front office staff members are a dime a dozen to Ford. He's also had 6 head coaches in the last five and half years. Notable names on that list include Bobby Ross, Steve Mariucci, and currently Rod Marinelli . Matt Millen is not any better as GM, plus he has a reputation for a fiery temper and a vengeful streak that I believe was instrumental for the attempt at embarrassing Miami Dolphin Joey Harrington. Yes, the same Joey Harrington that, earlier this year, the Lions discarded because thought they had no more use for him and who Millen blames for much of his horrible record(23-67) as a GM. As for the pa announcer yesterday at Ford Field......pa announcers (in any sport) don't do anything in the course of their duties that isn't planned out well in advance. In the professional ranks they usually take their cues from the front office.
Back in May, when the Lions traded Harrington to the Dolphins, he received a new "lease on his career." The signature on that "new lease" came in the form of Harrington's best performance ever on Thanksgiving Day. Joey went 19 of 29 for 213 yards, 3 tds, and 1 int. leading the Dolphins to a 27-10 victory over the Lions and "two of the NFL's biggest classless acts!"
Originally posted 11-24-06 on Yahoo 360