Stop me if you've heard this one.
After a particularly embarrassing and soul-crushing loss, a Detroit Lions coach dug a hole in the ground and called the players to watch while he buried a symbol of that game. When the dirt was patted back in place, the players and the coach could move on, free from the evil that symbol represented.
That scenario has now happened to the Lions twice in three years. First it was former Lions head coach Matt Patricia, who buried a football back in 2018. This time, it's Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn who is trying to free his team from the memories of their disastrous Week 8 game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Glenn told Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press on Thursday that the Lions' 44-6 loss to the Eagles was so awful that he wanted his defenders to completely forget about it — and the winless first half of the season — before everyone went their separate ways for the Week 9 bye. So he gathered his defense outside the Lions' practice facility, dropped a tape of the Eagles game into a hole he'd dug, and buried it in front of them.
"I really wasn’t looking at it as a motivation factor," Glenn told the Detroit Free Press. "I really wasn’t looking at it as a symbol of what other coaches did. I looked at it, myself personally, that, man, these first eight games are over with. All the mistakes, all the arguments, all the issues, they’re gone. They’re done. So now, it’s time to move on to this last part of the season."
Going into Week 10, there's quite a lot for the Lions to move on from. They're the only winless team left in the NFL this season. They've lost numerous games on last-second scores. They allow more passing yards per play than any other team. Of the 24 times opponents have reached the red zone, the Lions defense has given up touchdowns on 20 of them.
Matt Patricia's football burial was not well received
Matt Patricia's first game as Lions head coach in 2018 went pretty horribly. The Lions lost 48-17 to a New York Jets team that would only win four total games that season. It was such a bad loss that Patricia decided to bury a football from that game outside the Lions' facility with his players present so everyone could move on.
It didn't go down well. According to Burkett, players mocked the "ceremony" in conversations with the Detroit Free Press.
But how will players react to Glenn's tape burial? He thinks it was helpful to everyone, especially since the players actively participated.
"I think they really liked it," Glenn said. "Because afterwards, I think every defensive player when we did bury it, they jumped on it. And they stepped on it, they stomped on it. What was funny, our video assistant, Shelby (Hawk), she was last and she jumped on it twice."
Will this help release the Lions defense from whatever curse they're under? Who knows. But at this point, it certainly can't hurt.