For most of the last decade, the Detroit Lions have been difficult to digest on Thanksgiving Day, a debacle the NFL usually does a good job of hiding with 1 p.m. kickoffs and fourth-rate announcing crews.
But change is in the air in Motown – at least the Ford family really hopes so – and there’s a buzz that the team might be ready for a little more exposure in 2011. Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press raises the possibility that the Lions could be placed on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” for the first time in a decade. Yes, it’s been that long since the Lions littered the Monday night landscape. Heck, they haven’t been on in prime time since 2005.
“If we play Monday, I’ll say we’re jacked as hell,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said.
“The goal isn’t to get prime-time games. The goal is to win the game, regardless of when they play them. I mean, I got enough to worry about without worrying about when we’re playing our games and stuff like that. I think that, with success, comes that, but we’re not at the point where we need to be worrying about when we’re playing. We need to be prepared for it, but we don’t even know what the schedule is.”
Schwartz has the right idea. The last time the Lions appeared on “MNF” was in 2001. They were thrashed by the St. Louis Rams 35-0. Surely, ABC executives didn’t appreciate all of the viewers checking out at halftime.
Coming off a 6-10 season, maybe the Lions will rate a look in prime time. They’ve got attractive NFC North matchups with the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions. Stay tuned.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune