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Thread: NFL: Mornhinweg Fired / Mariucci new Lions Coach!

  1. #1
    Starbucks is your friend Bill's Avatar
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    NFL: Mornhinweg Fired / Mariucci new Lions Coach!

    Two weeks ago he was still going to coach next year, but now he is fired... what changed? Could it be related to a certain change in SF?

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    ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Marty Mornhinweg was fired as coach of the Detroit Lions on Monday after a 3-13 season, the second-worst record in the NFL.

    Detroit was 5-27 under Mornhinweg over the last two seasons, including a road record of 0-16. The Lions lost their last eight games this season, and only Cincinnati finished with a worse record.

    Lions chief executive Matt Millen, with the blessing of team owner William Clay Ford Sr., said on Dec. 31 that Mornhinweg would return as coach.

    On Monday, Millen said Mornhinweg was fired as part of the process of moving forward.

    "We have to continue to make the best decision to get this franchise going in the right direction,'' Millen said.

    "I want to win, and I want to win now.'' he said.

    Mornhinweg became the fifth NFL coach to be fired since the end of the season, following dismissals at Cincinnati, Dallas, Jacksonville and San Francisco.

    Mornhinweg matched Chris Palmer's two-year record of futility for a new coach since the NFL went to a 16-game schedule in 1978. Palmer coached the Cleveland Browns in 1999 and 2000.

    Palmer, though, was coaching an expansion team. Mornhinweg took over a team that went 9-7 and narrowly missed the playoffs.

    Possible replacements include former Minnesota coach Dennis Green and former San Francisco coach Steve Mariucci, a Michigan native, who was released earlier this month.

    "I spoke to Steve and I would like to speak to him again,'' Millen said.

    Asked if Mariucci's availability was a factor in firing Mornhinweg, Millen said, "It's certainly a factor, but I don't think it's a big factor or a main factor.''

    Millen said he would consider minority candidates, a process mandated by the NFL this season.

    Mornhinweg had never been a head coach at any level before taking the job with the Lions. He replaced Gary Moeller, who took over for Bobby Ross midway through the 2000 season

    Mornhinweg was widely criticized this season for choosing to take the wind instead of the ball after the Lions won an overtime coin toss against Chicago. The Bears got the kickoff and drove to the winning field goal.

    When Mornhinweg was hired he set the team's sights on a first Super Bowl trip. The Lions have had only one playoff victory since winning the 1957 NFL title.

    "The bar is high,'' he said. "The goal for this organization is to win Super Bowls.''

    Mornhinweg had insisted the team's weak record stemmed from failed drafts from the previous regime, along with aging or injured players.

    The past two years, the Lions have gotten rid of five one-time first-round picks -- Herman Moore, Johnnie Morton, Bryant Westbrook, Terry Fair and Aaron Gibson. The Lions also lost Ron Rice, Kurt Schulz and Stephen Boyd to career-ending injuries.

    The Lions will have the second pick in April's draft, and expect to have enough salary-cap space to sign a couple free agents.

    The Lions began the season excited about rookie quarterback Joey Harrington and returning downtown from suburban Pontiac for the first time since 1974 to play at Ford Field.

    Harrington, the third pick in the draft, showed some flashes after he became a starter in Week 3, but he regressed before being sidelined with an irregular heartbeat in the 14th game.
    Last edited by John; 02-04-2003 at 01:15 PM.
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  2. #2
    The race is back! John's Avatar
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    Ugh, is all I can say. I hope they hire Mooch, and I hope he makes some better decisions on personnel.

    The Lions have gone from a team that I never missed a game, to a team that I will turn the channel if I see them playing, in just a couple short year (beginning with Bobby Ross).

    Now that my favorite players are gone, the heart and soul is gone from this team. They really need some key personnel changes to make them competitive again.

    It really bugs me that NFL teams will bring in players just because they're "good", when they're obviously not a good fit for their particular style of gameplay. Take, for example, Keyshawn Johnson for the Bucs. Now, he's turned INTO a Bucs player, but when they brought him in, he was the polar opposite of what a Bucs player should be. They brought him in just because he could catch the football and make big plays, but that wasn't the Bucs style at all.

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    Mornhinweg 'shocked' at firing

    By LARRY LAGE, AP Sports Writer
    January 28, 2003

    PLYMOUTH TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) -- Marty Mornhinweg is stunned that he was fired after going 5-27 as the Detroit Lions' coach.

    Well, stunned at the way it happened.

    ``I was shocked. There was no explanation. That conversation took two seconds,'' Mornhinweg said Tuesday, a day after team president Matt Millen dismissed him.

    ``The timing is suspect, but a lot of things aren't fair.''

    His team went 3-13 this season, and his two-year mark is the worst in franchise history. The Lions went 0-16 on the road during his tenure.

    ``It is a results-oriented business,'' Mornhinweg said. ``I understand that. I'm the first to understand that -- now. I've been at the very, very top, I've been in the middle, and I've been at the bottom.''

    Millen hopes former 49ers coach Steve Mariucci will be a candidate for the job, and Mornhinweg said he would not be bothered if his former boss in San Francisco were to succeed him.

    Mornhinweg was the 49ers' offensive coordinator for four seasons before being hired by Detroit -- his first head coaching job. And now he's just sorry he didn't get more time to try to rebuild the Lions.

    ``Now I find myself in a position where I'm unable to finish the job, and really that is the only disappointing thing,'' he said.

    Mornhinweg was widely criticized this season for choosing to take the wind instead of the ball after the Lions won an overtime coin toss against Chicago. The Bears received the kickoff and wound up driving to the winning field goal.

    Asked if he thought his Lions legacy would be that much-criticized decision, Mornhinweg said: ``Oh, no. I'd do that again.''

  4. #4
    Starbucks is your friend Bill's Avatar
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    I am sure Millen just wanted to get it over with quick lest they keep going and fire him for being a flippin' idiot.
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    Mariucci interviews with Lions
    January 30, 2003

    DETROIT (AP) -- Former San Francisco 49ers coach Steve Mariucci interviewed for the Detroit Lions head coach vacancy Thursday.

    Mariucci arrived Wednesday evening in Detroit to tour Ford Field and meet with Bill Ford, team vice chairman and Ford Motor Co.'s chairman and chief executive. Mariucci spent most of Thursday at the Lions' training facility in Allen Park before heading home, team president Matt Millen said in a statement.

    ``Steve and I will continue to discuss this opportunity over the next few days,'' Millen said.

    Ford will be in San Francisco on Saturday to give the keynote speech at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention, but it's not known if he'll meet with Mariucci while in town.

    Lions spokesman Bill Keenist said Mariucci is the only candidate that has had an in-person interview. However, the team is also committed to the NFL's policy of interviewing at least one minority candidate.

    ``We're doing our best to comply with that initiative,'' Keenist said Thursday night.

    Marty Mornhinweg, who served as offensive coordinator under Mariucci with the 49ers, was fired Monday, a month after the Lions finished 3-13.

    Mornhinweg had a record of 5-27 over his two seasons, the worst two-year stretch in team history.

    Mariucci, who was born and raised in Iron Mountain, Mich., had a 60-43 record in six seasons with the 49ers, and he guided the team to the playoffs four times.

    Gary O'Hagan, Mariucci's agent, said Thursday night that Mariucci's ties to Michigan have played a part in his interest in the Lions after he initially said he would take next year off from coaching. Mariucci did not want to be considered for the position in Jacksonville.

    ``I will talk to him in the morning after he returns from Detroit. Every day he moves beyond what happened in San Francisco and feels better about things. Certainly in any endeavor, it's important to feel needed and wanted,'' O'Hagan said.

    Mariucci clashed with 49ers owner John York, however, and the team fired Mariucci three days after a 31-6 loss at Tampa Bay in the divisional playoffs. He had one year left on his contract.

    O'Hagan would not say whether Mariucci was offered a contract by the Lions. O'Hagan, who also represents former Minnesota coach Dennis Green, would not comment on reports that Green refused to interview with the Lions because they appear to have their sights set only on Mariucci.

    While Mariucci had just a 3-4 postseason record, he has won three times as many playoff games as the Lions have since winning the 1957 NFL title. Detroit beat Dallas 38-6 in the divisional playoffs on Jan. 5, 1992, and lost to Washington in the NFC championship game.

  6. #6
    The race is back! John's Avatar
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    If Mooch becomes the Lions' Head Coach, and makes some decent personnel changes, I might actually cheer the Lions this year. I've had my hopes and dreams dashed against the rocks so often with the Lions, though, it's hard to muster any enthusiasm for them.

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    The race is back! John's Avatar
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    Headline in today's local paper. Lions hire Mariucci, hope to have formal agreement in place by the end of the week.


  8. #8
    It ain't easy being green Wayner's Avatar
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    Sadly John, I think they'll still struggle to finish over .500 next season. But then, I thought the same thing about the Rams in 1999. And 1998. And '97. And 96'. etc, etc. But I was wrong once.

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    I agree, they will, Wayner. They just don't have the talent on the team. But I'm hoping Mooch will make some trades and good draft picks, and compile himself a decent team. They have plenty of room under the cap, I believe, now that most of their star talent is gone (Moore, Boyd, Morton, etc.).

  10. #10
    The race is back! John's Avatar
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    Just saw on the noon news, that Mariucci and the Lions are hammering out one last detail, but that it's not a deal-breaker, so they expect to announce it officially this afternoon.

    He'll be paid $4 million or so for each year of a 5-year contract. And he'll have control over personnel and players.

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