Sports Illustrated has just published—courtesy of writer Don Banks—one of the most head-scratchingly bonkers essays of all-time, wherein Banks compares Matt Millen to Richard Nixon ... and somehow thinks that a compliment.
I wouldn't normally single out an individual opinion piece for criticism (because if anyone did that to me, I'd be ruined), but ... come on. Why would anyone defend Matt Millen? How could anyone defend Matt Millen? The thesis revolves around the fact that Millen has been hired to do color commentary for the NFL Network, which will keep him steadily employed by football despite that fact that he appears to know nothing about football. He is unquestionably the worst GM of all time. However, Banks is actually happy to seem him back in the booth and thinks his star will rise again, somehow rendering my previous sentence irrelevant.
His model for Millen's redemption? Richard Milhous Nixon.
I know it all sounds a bit preposterous right now, predicting a comeback before he's even done his penance. But when I think of Millen, I just get the feeling he's got a shot to become something of the Richard Nixon of the NFL, picking up the pieces of a colossal failure and re-emerging to prominence at some point in the future. Dare we say it, perhaps even an eventual return to power in some team's personnel department?
First of all, he has not served any penance. He was unemployed for two months and then his friends gave him a job. That's part of the problem. Second, let's clear up the matter of whether Matt Millen was a good broadcaster. May I quote the esteemed Dr. Magary?
The whole reason Matt Millen was laughed at when he started out in Detroit was because EVERYONE FUCKING HATED HIM AS A BROADCASTER. He took John Madden's broadcasting style and somehow managed to make even more inane, spawning a legion of similar broadcasters in the process. Wanna know where fucking Bill Maas came from? MILLEN. Mark fucking Schlereth? MILLEN. Any shithead analyst that has nothing to say outside of, "I tell you one thing, Eli Manning is a COMPETITOR"? MILLEN.
That's all Matt Millen's doing. Why the FUCK would anyone bring him back to TV, especially in light of what he did to the Lions? The man has all the credibility of fucking InventHelp. And anyone who tells you, "Hey, Millen was actually an okay broadcaster!" is fucking wrong.
Every word of that quote is true. (Especially the ones in all caps.) Millen led the revolution of Madden clones that infect our sports world today. Rising to the top of the Fox Sports chain is proof of mediocrity, not greatness. The most hated color men in baseball are Tim McCarver and Joe Morgan, Fox and ESPN's No. 1 guys respectfully. Millen was terrible. The end.
But back to Nixon. He was the vice-president in 1960, lost the presidential election to John Kennedy, lost a governor's race in 1962 and everyone assumed his political career was dead and buried. Then all of the sudden, it's 1969 and he's the President of the United States. An amazing turnaround, right?
Then he became the most corrupt and hated man to ever hold that office and was forced to resign in shame. Maybe Banks didn't read all the way to the end of the history book, but Nixon's second act was actually worse than the first one! If everyone had remembered in 1968 how awful the guy was in 1960, the world would be a better place right now.
When I said that Banks was comparing Millen to Nixon, didn't you assume he meant post-Watergate Nixon, since that historic debacle is the only thing that could possibly compare to the failure of the Detroit Lions? Nope. Banks is saying that Millen has even bigger failures ahead of him. Oh joy.
In the end, I quess I actually agree with Banks. I can see Millen resurrecting his career the way Nixon did ... and then he will perpetrate one of the worst crimes imaginable on the citizenry of this country. The ARE exactly alike. Millen proved it in his phone interview with Banks:
"You're not going to believe this,'' said Millen, laughing heartily. "But one of my favorite shirts I have — in fact, I have it on right now — has a picture of Dick Nixon on it,
The man is wearing a Richard Nixon shirt RIGHT NOW! It's his FAVORITE!! He's a Nixon BUFF!! GRAAHAHA CAPS LOCK!!! STOP DEFENDING THIS MAN!!!!
I hate you all so much right now.
Matt Millen tries to remake image after Detroit Lions debacle [Don Banks - SI]