Lions eye last chance for win

Updated: December 28, 2008, 1:54 PM ET
Associated Press

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Cornerback Travis Fisher said he won't fly back to Detroit from Green Bay if his Detroit Lions somehow manage to find a way to beat the Packers on Sunday.

"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 482-mile trek.

Lions freeze '09 ticket prices

The Lions announced Friday that they will freeze ticket prices for next season and reduce prices for about 8 percent of the seats at Ford Field.

The reasons? A bad economy and the team's ineptitude on the field, said Bob Raymond, the Lions' vice president of business operations.

"The economy being No. 1, but let's face it, the team performance is also a factor in this," Raymond said, according to the Detriot News. "And our fans have made us aware of that. We have to address that: both the economy and the team performance."

"We see people struggling right now in this economy. And we obviously want to bring our season-ticket holders back," Raymond said, according to the report. "They've been very loyal to us over the last several years. We need their support now and want to continue to have their support."

Details on how much prices will be reduced and which seats will be discounted will be announced at a later date, the team said.

-- ESPN.com news services
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.

When they were drafted, rookies Kevin Smith and Gosder Cherilus knew they were headed for a struggling franchise, but they never imagined a season as pitiful as this.

"It's been a nightmare," Smith said. "It's totally embarrassing."

Cherilus agreed.

"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 picture.

I think we're going to shock a lot of people with a great game. I feel like we're going to win. ... 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 CB Travis Fisher

"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 chance."

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.

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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 players."

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 season."

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."


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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