The Detr000000000it Li000000000ns are 0-9 with a real chance at the NFL’s first 0-16 season. They are 1-16 in their last 17 games, the worst stretch in club history, and have nothing but playoff contenders left on their schedule.
Sunday against Jacksonville, Coach Rod Marinelli had this choice at quarterback: Daunte Culpepper, who hadn’t played an NFL game in nearly a year and had only three days of practice with the Lions, or Drew Stanton, who hadn’t thrown an NFL pass. Ten days earlier, Lions offensive coordinator Jim Colletto said he didn’t want to “embarrass” Stanton by putting him into a game.
Then everybody remembered: These are the Lions they were talking about. On this team, embarrassment is a way of life.
So Culpepper started, Stanton came off the bench to throw his first NFL pass for a touchdown, Stanton completed six of eight passes for 94 yards and certainly didn’t embarrass himself, not by traditional Lions standards. Detroit lost, 38-14, a rather generic result, given traditional Lions standards, and goes for 0-10 this weekend against NFC South leader Carolina.
Culpepper was the 11th overall selection in the 1999 NFL draft but the fourth quarterback chosen. Who were the three quarterbacks selected ahead of him?
A heavy test
Meanwhile, the Tennessee Titans are 9-0, although they face a stiff test with Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth appearing on the latest Sports Illustrated cover.
Karmic considerations notwithstanding, Titans linebacker Keith Bulluck told the Tennessean that the idea of the 320-pound Haynesworth on the cover was “Great, as long as it is not the swimsuit issue."
A good goal
Wayne Gretzky offered a few surprises during an interview in the December issue of GO Magazine.
"I love watching hockey, but to this day there’s nothing I love more than going to the park to watch my son play baseball. Being a parent has taught me a lot about being a coach. People say, 'You have to treat all the guys the same.' But they’re not [the same]. It’s like being a parent: All your kids don’t react the same way. You have to work to communicate with them; it’s one of the hardest parts of the job.”
Gretzky’s favorite pastime is youth baseball? Anything more surprising than that?
Well, yes: "I have one goal in hockey," he says. "I want to win the Stanley Cup here in Phoenix."
A cut on cuts
From Cam Hutchinson of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, after the Yankees cut Carl Pavano and Jason Giambi: "The team plans to replace them with an injury-prone pitcher and a player to be named in the Mitchell Report."
Tim Couch was chosen first by the Cleveland Browns, Donovan McNabb went second to the Philadelphia Eagles and Akili Smith went third to the Cincinnati Bengals.
A high point
From Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: "Eagles receiver Hank Baskett is set to marry former Playboy playmate Kendra Wilkinson, reportedly proposing to her atop the Space Needle during his team’s visit to Seattle last weekend. Hugh Hefner immediately declared it the mother of all Baskett catches."
-- Mike Penner
Photo: Detroit Lions quarterback Drew Stanton hangs his head during the during the fourth quarter after being sacked several times by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Credit: Jason Miller / US Presswire