The Detroit Lions have not had enough good news in recent weeks to warrant getting excited. There has been more than enough drama coming from within the ranks to give the media a proverbial smorgasbord of rumor and satirical commentary. Once in a great while, however, history dictates that something eventually has to give and something good, ultimately, emerges.
On Friday, June 29, the Lions announced, though rather inexplicably, the multi-year extension of head coach Jim Schwartz. Schwartz, having reached the final year of his deal, had been one of the team's serious question marks, going into this offseason. Though the team is still reluctant to release any details on the negotiations, much as they had the last year, Schwartz is rumored to be locked up for a time frame between four and six years.
Since taking control of the Lions, Schwartz has proven himself to be the one thing the team has not had in several years - a true leader. After taking a team that had recently been an 0-16 nightmare and leading it to 2-14, 6-10 and, eventually, to the playoffs in 2011, he has begun to solidify the team into a potential, year-after-year contender.
Much like his mentor in New England, Schwartz appears to be man who values loyalty, above all else. To many, including myself, it is no stretch of the imagination to think he could, potentially, remain with Detroit until the end of his career. That, itself, would bode well for the boys in Honolulu Blue and Silver.
Schwartz, and team president Tom Lewand, are in the early stages of doing what many Lions' fans have been praying for, season after season - creating a contender. The main catalyst has been Schwartz, with his "take-no-prisoners" attitude and "get-down-to-business" approach to readying his players. They thrive and feed off of his emotion and enthusiasm, which is a sight to behold. The team, with a nucleus of quarterback Matthew Stafford, wide receiver Calvin Johnson and Schwartz, should have a core to rally around for the next 5-10 years.
Since his arrival in Detroit, Schwartz has faced his detractors head-on, proving, at least to this fan, that he is the right man for the job. Detroit has long since needed someone with the guts, dedication and determination of Jim Schwartz. The Lions are far better with him at the helm than they have been, with any head coach, in the last 20 years.
The author, D. Benjamin Satkowiak, is a successful entrepreneur and published, freelance author, who has tailored works on various sports, health and fitness topics. He currently serves as a Yahoo! Contributor Network "Featured Contributor" and writes on the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Lions, Great Lakes Loons and Notre Dame football.