FOR A CHANGE, LIONS DID THE RIGHT THING

MEMO TO: Bobby Ross

FROM: William Clay Ford, Owner

Eureka, Bobby! I think you’ve found it.

Remember that team you talked about when I hired you? The kind of team you wanted to build here, the kind that hits and makes plays and beats teams it’s not supposed to beat? Freeze it right there, Bobby, my boy. Freeze it on this victory against the Packers. You’re onto something here. As my granddaddy said, “I think they’ll buy this model.”

Yes, sir, what I saw on Sunday, Bobby? I like it. You keep this up, there’ll be a little something special in your check at Christmas, if you know what I mean.

Take your defense. Not only did they hold the defending Super Bowl champions to one touchdown, they also recovered a fumble and made three interceptions. And not just any interceptions! How about that one by Reggie Brown, our linebacker, who jumped up when Brett Favre tried to throw from his knees and Reggie swatted the ball into the air, then caught it, then chugged like a locomotive 45 yards to the end zone?

Lemme tell you, Bobby, up in the luxury box we were taking bets on which would expire first, the clock or Reggie.

Heh-heh. Little owner humor there.

Of course, we also enjoyed Robert Porcher’s interception. You know the one. Second quarter. Porcher was on the ground, and he got up just in time to get hit in the hands with another Brett Favre pass. Oh, we loved that! Especially since Robert is a big, bruising lineman, and this was his first NFL interception.

By the way, Bobby, after the game, I heard Robert tell reporters, “I’m ready to play a little defensive back. All the coaches have to do is ask me.”

I hope he was kidding.

I mean, we’d have to pay him extra for that, right?

Barry, Barry, Barry

Anyhow, let me not just harp on the defense, because the offense did a whale of a job as well. I told you when you got here there is no weapon in the NFL quite like Barry Sanders. He is quite a little fella, eh? That play in the first half, where he squirted through the line and somehow burst into the clear for 46 yards? How does he do that?

And in the fourth quarter, the final series, when you gave him the ball nine times in 11 plays and he picked up 35 yards and ate the clock and iced the game? Wow! Talk about versatile! This guy is worth way more than we’re paying him!

Uh …don’t say anything to Barry about that, OK?

Little owner humor there. Heh-heh.

And while I’m in good mood, Bobby, give Scott Mitchell a pat on the back, will you? Between you and me, there are weeks with this guy when I’ve wondered about what we owners call “return-on-investment.” But he played a really sharp game Sunday. Really sharp. No interceptions. Threw for a touchdown. Looked off receivers, checked off coverage, found the go-to guy.

I’m talking a little football talk, Bobby.

Picked it up from Bill Jr.

How’m I doin’?

“This is what the NFL is supposed to be about,” Mitchell said in that news conference thing you guys have down there. And I couldn’t agree more.

Honest to goodness, Bobby, nothing makes me happier than to beat the yellow pants off those Green Bay guys. You’ve only been here a short while, but our history with Green Bay is rather nasty. Goes back to the old “black-and-blue division” days. There were games between our teams when the winners were the ones with the most teeth left in their mouths.

And then, as if that weren’t bad enough, the Packers had to go and win another Super Bowl. And now all those Wisconsin fans come to Detroit with cheese on their heads, entering our building, cheering for their team.

The nerve. Why, I have half a mind to boot them out and give them their money back.

On second thought . . .

Don’t forget Wayne’s World

Now, Bobby, I know that last week I didn’t send you my weekly memo. Then again, be honest, did you really want to hear from me? I mean, after you lost to that lousy New Orleans team, I really didn’t have anything to say that didn’t begin with “What the &%$! . . .” and didn’t end with “…are you doing?”

And, to be honest, I’m still a tad confused, how our team can play so terribly one week, and play like giant-killers the next. You know, we had this problem with your predecessor as well, Wayne Fontes.

I think it’s something in the locker-room water.

I’m having one of my people check into it.

In the interim, well done, Bobby. Well done. Our team was focused and intense and it hit hard and it made plays. As a result, this week, I’m going to allow the players to cash their checks.

Heh-heh. More owner humor.

Anyhow, I know when the guy who owns the baseball and hockey teams in town wants to show his gratitude, he sends free pizza. Since I don’t own a pizza place, I’m just sending a car. You can’t eat it, but you can’t drive a pizza, either.

Thanks again for your excellent efforts, Bobby. As a result, I can now do what I couldn’t do all last week: show my face outside this office.

Which is a good thing, because my suit was starting to smell.

Mitch Albom will sign copies of his new book, “Tuesdays With Morrie,” at 7:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday at Borders in Novi. To leave a message for Albom, call 1-313-223-4581.

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