Last week saw the release of one of the more revealing episodes of A Football Life on NFL Network as former Detroit Lions general manager Matt Millen was profiled in a way that not many fans had seen him portrayed since his days in Detroit came to a merciful end. While fans have thought for years that Millen is just an incompetent moron of an NFL executive, A Football Life painted Millen as a football genius too stupid to realize it.
Millen spent almost an entire decade in Detroit seemingly running the franchise into the ground, but A Football Life took us back to the beginning of Millen’s career where he was a fierce linebacker who not only loved the game but knew how to play it and motivate players to play unlike any other.
A lot of people nowadays have an image of Millen as football dope but when he was hired by the Lions at the beginning of the 2000s. he was going to be their saving grace.
Unlike most people who get run out of town and demonized the way Millen was, he was very open and blunt when speaking about his time in Detroit. He actually seemed to agree with Lions fans that he totally messed up what could have been a sweet gig, which should both enrage and enlighten Lions fans.
It should enrage them to think that Millen screwed the pooch with the team and openly acknowledged as much, which in a way makes the burn hurt worse. But the enlightening comes in the form of Millen admitting that while a lot of mistakes were on him, most of the more embarrassing ones were mistakes he made for other people.
At one point in the episode, Millen notes that former colleague John Madden told him that Millen needs to make his own mistakes, and not ones made by others as at the end of the day he’s the one who will pay for it. While it’s revealed that Millen wanted to draft DeMarcus Ware and pass on most of the receivers the team reached for during his time, the mistakes have had his name plastered all over them and rightfully so.
Still, you can’t watch A Football Life: Matt Millen and not come away with a different opinion of the man. That’s not to say he’s absolved of his football sins, rather we now know that he was merely too stupid or timid to build a Matt Millen football team in Detroit and instead built a disaster he got blamed for.
Next week check back for a recap of A Football Life: Michael Strahan which airs on NFL Network this Tuesday.