by | Nov 21, 2008 | Detroit Free Press | 0 comments

The Lions play their last game of the season tonight, and then we find out just how much Christmas spirit Wayne Fontes can count on.

Fontes and owner William Clay Ford have always had a good relationship, but a season like 1996 could make Romeo and Juliet sleep in separate bedrooms.

So perhaps Wayne is looking to tweak Mr. Ford’s holiday cheer. Why, I can just envision their meeting Christmas Eve, when Wayne will suggest — before they do anything rash — that they share a few Christmas carols.

Christmas carols?

But of course. Wayne will do the singing. Such as this classic, to the tune of “O, Christmas Tree.”

Oh, Mister Ford, Oh, Mister Ford,

How very well, you’re looo-king.

You say you want, to talk to me,

First won’t you try my cooking?

We’ll talk about, the olden times,

You’ll drink your wine and maybe mine,

And when the room, begins to spin,

Let’s talk about my contract.

Or he could appeal to Ford’s friendly side, with this version of “Winter Wonderland.”

People talk, I’m not listenin’,

When they point, I’m a whistlin’.

I’m coaching along, singing a song,

Countin’ on my buddy, Mr. Ford.

Or this one to “Frosty the Snowman.” Bill Ford, the owner,

Is the greatest guy I know.

When he picks his staff

people laugh,

He tells them where to go.

Bill Ford the owner,

Is as wise as he can be,

And he’d never fire

His favorite hire

If that hire would be me — would he?

If the owner is not amused, Wayne can go with the product loyalty angle, doing his version of “Blue Christmas.”

I’d have a blue Christmas, without Ford.

What would I drive, if I were, without Ford?

Other teams, they might call,

They’re not tempting to me.

Football ain’t football

Without my friend Bill-y

Naturally, Fontes can only go to the friendship well so many times. Pretty soon he’ll have to address his actual team. I suspect he might sing the blues about his injuries, perhaps using the old tune “The 12 Days of Christmas.” On the sixth day of Christmas,

This franchise heaped on me,

6 limping corners,

5 hurt linebackers,

4 sore receivers,

3 aching linemen,

2 useless tight ends,

And a quarterback who imitates me.

And if that doesn’t work, Wayne can blame his assistant coaches — he has done it before — giving a spirited rendition of “Deck the Halls.”

Fire the guy who ruined my offense!

Fa-la-la-la-la, it’s all his fault.

And the guy who ruined my defense!

Fa-la-la-la-la, it’s all his fault.

Special teams, QBs and DBs?

Gotta go, gotta go, gotta go,

Next time I won’t hire such losers,

Fa-la-la-la-la, it’s all their fault.

Of course, Mr. Ford has heard the assistant coach excuse before. Wayne may have no choice but to point the finger at his players, and suggest they change the roster, to the tune of “Let It Snow.”

Oh, the cornerbacks here are lousy,

And the safeties sure are drowsy,

Our linebacking corps is slow,

Let ’em go, let ’em go, let ’em go.

Oh, my quarterback is a head case,

And my guards are often red-faced,

Who got these guys I don’t know,

But let ’em go, let ’em go, let ’em go.

If Mr. Ford asks him to pinpoint the problem, he can always sing about the

secondary, to the tune of “White Christmas.”

They’re dreaming of an in-ter-ception,

Just like the ones that some teams do.

How we all would cackle,

If they could tackle,

Or once, knock down a pass or two.

Fontes could also blame his bickering receivers, in “Little Drummer Boy.”

Brett says, please throw to me, I’m


Herm says, no, throw to me, I’m

op-op-op-en. Johnnie says, throw to me, I’m


Pick option 1-2-3, they’re


Each is the one!

This is not fun.

And when we run they say, boy, are you dumb,

We were op-en.”

Finally, when he has fired his best shots, Fontes can move in for the kill. Put on the red suit and the white beard and sing “All I Want for Christmas.”

All I want for Christmas is just one more year,

A year so dear,

Please have no fear.

All I want for Christmas is just one more year,

So, Bill, what do you say? . . .

And the answer is . . .

Sorry. No opening presents until Wednesday.


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Mitch Albom writes about running an orphanage in impoverished Port-au-Prince, Haiti, his kids, their hardships, laughs and challenges, and the life lessons he’s learned there every day.

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