And for that reason, I've got to think of them as really nice guys. You might think they were looking for company in their club of misery, or that they were looking for someone else to assume the burden of worst team ever, but they're not.
They're actively rooting the Lions to win a game, because they don't want the Lions to have to feel what they feel. The Detroit News caught up with a couple of the '76 Bucs yesterday.
"I saw the highlights yesterday and I thought, 'Oh, my God. Again? I mean, just give 'em one win, can't you?' " said [Richard] Wood, 55, now semi-retired and living in Tampa. "It's tough, it really is. I don't wish it on anybody."
Pat Toomay, one of Wood's fellow linebackers on that '76 team, was saying the same thing from his home in Albuquerque.
"It's pretty miserable -- and indelible," said Toomay, 62, a freelance writer and author. "So I hope these guys don't do it. I hope they can pick one off. Because they'll be hearing about it for the next 30 years. Every time somebody approaches it, you get the call."
And right about here is where the person who made the call to Toomay had to feel like a real jerk.
Seeing 0-16, from a fan's standpoint, would be kind of a novelty. It's not the sort of thing you get to see all the time, and it is, in its own special way, historic. A lot of people want to see it, even if it's just for a few chuckles.
But Richard Wood and Pat Toomay are two of the only people on the planet who truly understand what it means to go winless in an NFL season, and according to them, this isn't something that you should be wishing on someone. This one doesn't wash off.
This holiday season, trying to send out some positive vibes to the Lions is something charitable that you can do easily. If you're not giving money to the Salvation Army guys out there with the bells, you can at least root for the Lions this weekend.