January 06, 2009
It seems that no one in Detroit wants to see Matt Millen on television unless it's during a public execution. It's Tuesday, and the articles killing Millen for taking the job and NBC for hiring him are still coming.
Today, it's Tom Kowalski of mlive.com, but he isn't quite as vicious as Drew Sharp of the Free Press or Brian VanOchten of mlive.com were yesterday. Non-Detroit-centric takes on Millen are a little bit more even-handed, like Richard Sandomir's in the New York Times. And ESPN's Tony Kornheiser positively gushes about Millen's ability as a broadcaster.
Of course, Kornheiser giving his opinion on someone else as an NFL broadcaster is a little bit like Millen giving his opinion on someone else as an NFL talent evaluator, but that's a story for another time.
I really hate to not take a side here, but I think the anger that the people of Detroit have is completely justified (not to mention hilarious). And Millen's side of things is valid, too. He is a good broadcaster, and just because he was a disaster as GM of the Detroit Lions doesn't mean he can't ever have a job again.
What do Lions fans want, Millen to lock himself in his house, never work again, and live the life of a hermit? It's punishment enough that he'll be forever regarded as a failure, and if he does continue broadcasting, he'll be fighting that label for the rest of his career.
But then, I put myself in the shoes of a Lions fan, and I think, "Yeah, if he did that to my team, I'd want him to have a little shame. I'd want him to keep his mug off my television for a while."
But you can't tell the guy what to feel, and you can't dictate what he does with the rest of his life. He's got a right to work. He's actually very good at that work. Not being a Lions fan, and not being emotionally invested in the Millen era, I have no problem with him continuing that work.
And given that he won four Super Bowls as a player, whether you want to admit it or not, Millen possesses a ton of football knowledge. The fact that he's able to parlay that knowledge into a good performance as a broadcaster, but could never apply it in the front office, is unfortunate. But that's reality.
Eventually, Lions fans, you will get to a point where you no longer care about Matt Millen. You will. I can say this with confidence, because I'm a Chargers fan who has long since forgiven Ryan Leaf. Time passes, and sometime, way, way, way down the road, a day will come when you no longer hate him. And hopefully, then, you'll be able to listen to him call a game without wanting to put your fist through your television.
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