Nobody is perfect. That should be understood by each and everyone of us who is currently breathing, but perfection is not needed in order to be exceptional. In professional sports, players, coaches, team executives and team owners are judged by wins vs losses and really nothing else.
Then there are extraordinary circumstances. When the team you take over has just endured the weapon of Mass Ineptitude named Matt Millen and just posted a historically horrible 0-16 record it’s pretty easy to assume that you have a bigger task at hand than most GMs on the first day of work. But fortunately for the bruised and mentally beaten Detroit Lions fan Martin Mayhew was and is up to the task in a major way.
Martin Mayhew was promoted to general manager December 29th, 2008 after the wildly celebrated firing of “All Talk” Matt Millen and reports directly to Mr. Ford on all football matters.
I’ve sifted through Martin Mayhew’s transactions since he took over the team and picked out some of the highlights. I’ve left out some of the more obvious moves like drafting stars Matthew Stafford and Ndamukong Suh in the top of the first round, even though he clearly still deserves credit for not screwing up top draft picks.
If you think not, let me remind you of Joey Harrington, Charles “puff,puff,pass” Rogers and Roy “first doooooown by 30 points” Williams. Even selecting at the very top doesn’t guarantee a marquee player, you must choose wisely.
There were literally hundreds upon hundreds of moves and transactions that I sifted through, you may remember something that I missed but here are a few highlights that took us from league laughingstock to league upper echelon in 3 short years after a DECADE of sheer misery. Some moves have helped long-term and some were the best that could be done at the time and definitely helped.
Here are your Martin Mayhew moves of note:
01/2009 Hires young up-and-coming Jim Schwartz as Head Coach of Detroit Lions. No more coaches with “M” as an initial!
03/17/2009 The Lions trade DT Cory Redding to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for LB Julian Peterson. At the time Julian Peterson was a definite upgrade at LB for us.
04/2009 The Lions Selected Draft Choices LB DeAndre Levy in 3rd round of NFL draft
04/2009 The Lions Selected Draft Choice S Louis Delmas in 2nd round of NFL draft
04/2009 The Lions Selected Draft Choices DT Sammie Lee Hill in 4th round and TE Brandon Pettigrew in 1st round instead of the Rey Maualuga (which I was mad about at the time, lol).
09/17/2009 The Lions claim DE Turk McBride from the Kansas City Chiefs.
12/09/2009 The Detroit Lions sign T Corey Hilliard from the Cleveland Browns practice squad.
03/05/2010 The Detroit Lions acquire DT Corey Williams AND a 2010 seventh-round draft choice in exchange for a 2010 fifth-round draft choice via trade with the Cleveland Browns. This is just CRIMINAL, lol.
03/06/2010 The Detroit Lions sign unrestricted free agents WR Nate Burleson and DE Kyle Vanden Bosch. Huge signings that are paying off on and off of the field. Players brought in for production and leadership.
03/13/2010 The Detroit Lions acquire CB Chris Houston AND a 5th round pick from the Atlanta Falcons for the Detroit Lions 2010 6th and 5th round pick. Another robbery, lulz…
03/16/2010 The Detroit Lions acquire QB Shaun Hill via trade from the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for a 7th round draft pick in 2011. Best backup QB we’ve had since Eric Kramer who paid dividend when Stafford went down.
04/06/2010 The Detroit Lions trade for G Rob Sims from the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for DE Robert Henderson. (Who is Robert Henderson again?) Rob Sims has quietly been our best O-lineman.
04/20/2010 The Detroit Lions acquire TE Tony Scheffler from the Denver Broncos in a three-team trade that sends LB Ernie Sims to the Philadelphia Eagles. Another Millen draft shipped out for talent.
04/2010 The Lions draft CB Amari Spievey in 2nd round and DE Willie Young in 7th round of NFL draft.
07/31/2010 The Detroit Lions sign LB Isaiha Ekejiuba. Key special teams contributor (should not be overlooked).
08/19/2010 The Detroit Lions trade a 6th round pick for 2008 1st rounder DE Lawrence Jackson out of Seattle.
09/06/2010 The Detroit Lions claim WR Stefan Logan off of waivers from Pittsburgh Steelers.
09/06/2010 The Detroit Lions trade TE Dan Gronkowski to the Denver Broncos for CB Alphonso Smith. Is Gronkowski still in the league? Maybe. Alphonso Smith is still a valuable player that may get traded again.
09/14/2010 The Detroit Lions sign CB Nathan Vasher when Aaron Berry went down.
10/20/2010 Lions sign LB Bobby Carpenter.
07/29/2011 The Detroit Lions sign unrestricted free agents: WR Rashied Davis, LB Justin Durant, C Dylan Gandy, K Dave Rayner, QB Drew Stanton and S John Wendling.
08/01/2011 The Detroit Lion sign LB Stephen Tulloch. Best middle LB we’ve had since Spielman and was signed for less than anyone expected.
I’m sure I missed some important moves, feel free to add any that you can remember in the comment section. And here’s to Martin Mayhew’s next round of moves! From 0-16 to 10-6 to ???