"If we win, I ain't catching the plane back home," he said
with a laugh. "I'll walk back to Detroit."
Chances are, Fisher won't have to worry about making the
A loss would install the Lions in their very own NFL Hall of
Shame as the league's first team to go 0-16 in a season. They're
already the first to go 0-15. A win, of course, would be better,
allowing Detroit the dubious distinction of becoming the ninth
franchise to finish a season 1-15.
The last team to finish the season winless was the 1976 Tampa
Bay Buccaneers, an expansion franchise that went 0-14.
"It's incredible that a team could go that long in the NFL
without winning a game," said Tim Katanski of Ypsilanti, Mich. "I mean,
Tampa Bay was an expansion team, so they kind of have an excuse."
The Lions are 1-22 since the middle of last season and haven't
won since Dec. 23, 2007, when they beat Kansas City.
It doesn't look good. After all, Green Bay is where this hideous
streak began at the end of last season. Since then, the Lions have
lost 16 straight and have been outscored 520-260.
If the Lions give up 48 points (as they did in Week 2 against
Green Bay) they will break the 1981 Baltimore Colts' NFL record
for points allowed in a season (533) -- by a single point.
"It's been a nightmare," Smith said. "It's totally
"It's Week 17, and I don't know what it's like to win an NFL
game," he said somberly. "The situation we're in has to be enough
to give everything you've got in this last game.
"It's our Super Bowl."
Though the Lions were 10½-point underdogs Friday, Fisher
liked their chances and sounded surprisingly confident.
"I think we're going to shock a lot of people with a great
game. I feel like we're going to win," he said. "Not to take
anything away from Green Bay, but we're a great football team. I
know the record doesn't show it, but I'm going to say it."
Lions coach Rod Marinelli didn't talk about the possibility of
going 0-16 with his players until they lost their first 12 games.
When that happened, he told them to think about the team
"He said, 'This could be the picture they send to the Hall of
Fame for the first team that went 0-16,'" defensive tackle Shaun
Cody recalled. "It threw me back."
Marinelli went back to the topic earlier this week, hoping to
motivate his beleaguered team after it followed up two closely
contested games with a 35-point loss at home to New Orleans.
"He said, 'You don't remember who won the Super Bowl 15 years
ago because there's a Super Bowl winner every year. You'd remember
who went 0-16 because there can be only one team that does that,' " Cody recalled. "Hopefully, we can take advantage of our last
The Lions blew cold air into their practice facility this week,
trying to simulate the conditions at Lambeau Field. That seemed to
be the only change Marinelli made.
"It's hard to teach an old dog new tricks," Smith said with a
sigh. "We've been playing for 15 weeks."
Marinelli might be a head coach for only one more game.
Team owner William Clay Ford has decided the leaders of the
front office, Martin Mayhew and Tom Lewand, will be back in some
capacity, but he hasn't revealed his plans for the coaching staff.
Marinelli, though, insisted he hasn't spent time pondering his
future in Detroit.
"Everything is just Green Bay right now," he said. "If you
start worrying about or thinking about [that], it's unfair to your
He was pleased with a good final practice of the season. Then
again, "that's never been our problem," Marinelli said. "We've
just got to take our body of work to the game."
Brian Schefke of Seattle, who grew up in Troy, Mich., and was visiting
for the holidays, said he'll be backing the Lions.
"I think celebrating futility, there's nothing fun about it,"
he said. "I want to see them salvage something out of the
M.C. Terra of Detroit, a die-hard fan who named his fourth child
after Hall of Famer Barry Sanders, can't wait to watch it on TV.
"I'm going to pretend it's my Super Bowl," he said. "It's
like watching a car crash. You want to be there."