Matt Millen broke his silence Saturday.
While as an in-studio analyst for NBC, Millen made his first public comments since he was fired as Lions president Sept. 24. He was interviewed by Dan Patrick.
Millen said he was qualified to be Lions president "in some areas," but not all, and would have fired himself, but not during the season. The four-time Super Bowl champion shrugged off a question about how he is viewed now.
"If you're just going to say, 'Oh, that's the stiff who used to be up in Detroit. They lost all those games. It's got to be on him,' I would say, 'Yeah, I was in Detroit, and you have to blame me. But there's a lot more to it than that,' " Millen said.
"Suffice it to say, listen, I could give you excuses. I'm not going to do that. I could give you the explanations. To me, that's just an excuse after the fact. So you take the hit and you move on. How they look at me, I know what I am. You can say whatever you want about me."
Millen was a standout at Penn State. He was a good NFL player who won four Super Bowl rings -- two with the Raiders, one each with the 49ers and Redskins. He was considered an excellent broadcaster for Fox.
But before he was hired as Lions president in 2001, he had no experience as an executive. The Lions went 31-84 until he was fired three games into this season. The Lions finished the season as the NFL's first 0-16 team. They are 31-97 since 2001 -- the worst eight-year stretch in the NFL since World War II.
Millen always said he would never quit. But asked if he would have fired himself, he said: "Yeah, I would have, actually. Probably not this year until after the season, because I think when you start having changeover in an organization, it filters down to the locker room and that's tough to do, and I thought that that was a tough position for Rod Marinelli to be in."
Marinelli was fired as coach Monday. "Rod's a stud," Millen said. "I mean, Rod's an outstanding football coach, and obviously the thing went the other way on him this year, but that's a tough position for him."
Asked if he was qualified to be Lions president in the first place, Millen said: "In some areas, yes. In some areas, no. Certainly from a football point of view, the X's and O's, and that's something that you study for a long time and you understand. But there's a whole other side to that job that you have to learn and frankly I didn't understand going in, and I had to learn it."
Millen constantly changed coaches, not to mention systems and players. He went from Gary Moeller to Marty Mornhinweg to Steve Mariucci to Dick Jauron to Rod Marinelli.
Asked about the changes, Millen said: "You change coaches because obviously you're not having success. But that's a great point that you make because any organization that's going to have a winning record, it all comes back to not only stability but consistency. You have to have consistency in philosophy. You have to consistency with scheme and that type of thing. So when you're changing things over, that's tough to do."
Millen always said the Lions had enough talent, and he didn't change his tune Saturday.
Asked how close the Lions are to winning, Millen said: "A lot closer than people think. I mean, right now, it's easy to just sit around and say, 'Oh, the Lions. They stink,' and kick them when they're down. But if you take a look around this league right now -- in fact, we're going to watch one today -- Atlanta had four wins a year ago, one in Miami. I mean, it's doable.
"Is there enough talent up there in Detroit? Absolutely. You've got one of the top receivers in the league right now in Calvin Johnson. You've got a good young running back. There's some pieces in place in the offensive line. Defensively, do they need some help? Yeah, they need some help. But it certainly can be done."
Millen did not hold a news conference after his firing and declined interview requests. Besides speaking about the Lions, Millen helped preview Saturday's games and appeared on NBC's Toyota Halftime Show.
http://www.freep.com/article/20090104/S ... /901040385
Matt Millen doesn’t get off the hook that easily.
NBC should insist that the erstwhile Lions chief executive wear an 0-16 stamp on his forehead for future network appearances. It should introduce a segment for its three-day Super Bowl pregame show, “How to Build an NFL Door Matt with Matt Millen.”
Here’s a novel concept. Why not demand that Millen do his job as a studio analyst? His role as a “football expert” is to explain what occurs beyond the range of public eyes, breaking down what went right and what went wrong with simple clarity.
But when he broke his public silence Saturday during the network’s “Football Night in America” show, he told NBC’s Dan Patrick that it wasn’t as easy as merely blaming himself.
“There’s a lot more to it than that,” Millen told Patrick. “I could give you excuses. I could give you reasons. To me, that’s just an excuse after the fact. You take the hit and move on.”
Millen blew it again. Detroit deserves a detailed explanation for what went so horribly wrong from those who perpetrated the deed. Simply saying that you’re responsible for the disaster doesn’t make you accountable. That requires serving a penance. If Millen truly seeks atonement, he must delve deeper into those additional “reasons” of which he spoke.
Was there a lack of uniformity between Millen and his front office, Millen and his coaches? Was there an even greater lack of organizational confidence within the locker room than what already has been documented? Did ownership interfere even more than what already has been reported?
I’m really tired of the Lions’ “There’s nothing more to say” defense regarding past failures.
Coach Rod Marinelli tried it during his farewell. It didn’t work.
Tom Lewand and Martin Mayhew tried it during their introduction. It didn’t work.
Millen tried it in his nationally televised mea culpa. It really didn’t work.
Millen remained in seclusion on his Pennsylvania farm following his firing Sept.24, never returning phone calls from local media. But he called NBC back when the network approached him about returning to the television studio.
A network spokesman said Saturday that NBC kept Millen’s playoff pregame appearance under wraps until the last instant. Millen apparently was worried that, with enough advanced notice, there might be a flock of Detroit reporters waiting for his inevitable exit at the doorsteps at Rockefeller Center in New York.
He sounded subdued, certainly not the gregarious sort that endeared him to television viewers during his days as Fox’s No. 2 game analyst. How can anybody watching him not crack up laughing? Millen’s 31-84 record (not counting the other 13 losses after his dismissal) as president hardly makes him a credible voice when questioning another team’s decision making.
If he ever says that a team needs a wide receiver, Bob Costas’ immediate retort should be “Well, you ought to know about that Matt since you drafted one in the first round three straight years. By the way, Matt, how many of those guys are still in football?”
Millen: “Charles Rogers is starting now for his prison team, Bob. And Mike Williams is a third alternate on the Jenny Craig Pro Bowl team.”
Cue the rim shot.
Millen will turn his Detroit experiences into a joke. He’ll smile through his misery knowing that he already has collected $38 million for those 31 wins and is still owed $12 million from William Clay Ford Sr. for the final 2 1/2 years on that five-year contract extension.
Laugh, clown, laugh.
But it’ll only ratchet up the local anger even more that Millen, who once openly questioned the toughness of one his players, didn’t have the guts to stand before his harshest critics one final time as Marinelli did just hours after the Lions fired him last Monday.
Millen instead hid behind the plumage of the peacock.
hoog wrote:Andy wrote:I couldn't help myself, I wrote a letter.
Let's see that letter...
BUT have you seen my shiny superbowl rings?"
Matt Millen was once a promising TV analyst (at Fox) before joining the Detroit Lions' front office — and then this season was dumped as team president as the Lions slogged to a 0-16 record.
But maybe everybody can just forget about all that and he'll make a TV comeback. NBC will formally announce Monday that Millen — who appeared in the network's studio Saturday — will join NBC's Super Bowl coverage. On that show Saturday, Millen suggested he wasn't initially qualified for his job — and deserved to be fired.
NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol, in a statement, said "many of us have been blessed with second chances" but Millen was picked up because he's "one of the very best football broadcasters of his generation."
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/columnis ... back_N.htm
Asked if he was qualified to be Lions president in the first place, Millen said: "In some areas, yes. In some areas, no. Certainly from a football point of view, the X's and O's, and that's something that you study for a long time and you understand.
Ya Mar wrote:Asked if he was qualified to be Lions president in the first place, Millen said: "In some areas, yes. In some areas, no. Certainly from a football point of view, the X's and O's, and that's something that you study for a long time and you understand.
X's and O's have always been an important thing for President's to understand.
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