Sean Yuille at Pride of Detroit noticed that WXYZ’s Tom Layden fired off a very interesting Tweet on Monday Night. It said that the Lions would make an announcement tonight at 7 pm, and it would be “something big.” Sean, though, followed the breadcrumbs amazingly well. Since it’s a scheduled announcement rather than an immediate release or presser, it’s likely not anything having to do with the on-field product. Since it’s an WXYZ talent that broke the story, it may well have something to do with that channel. Therefore . . . the announcement is likely that WXYZ will get the broadcast rights to the Lions’ preseason games this year.
Tom Kowalski said he couldn't confirm it, but Sean's guess was his guess too. Paula Pasche of the Oakland Press said that’s her best guess, too. John Niyo of the Detroit News flatly stated, “Lions ditching Ch. 62 for Ch. 7 for preseason games.” This, as Sean said, would be welcome news; last year’s preseason game broadcasts were flatly awful. Sean even chronicled all of the wretchedness of the WWJ production last year:
Perhaps I'm being a little too tough on WWJ considering they aren't used to covering football games, but I'm sorry, this is the NFL. The quality of the broadcast should not rival that of a public access show. Heck, I think my local high school's TV station does a better job of covering football than this. There's no excuse for having so many errors and in general just doing a terrible job of covering the game.
I’ve had some folks ask things along the lines of, “But what if that’s not it? What if it’s [insert something about player or coach movement]?” Here’s the thing: there is no free agency. There are no free agents right now, restricted or un-. There may, or may not be, a salary cap going forward. I suppose the Lions could come to terms with a player already under contract, but doing so in this uncertainty would be foolish, at best.
Further, I don’t think there are any openings in the Lions’ coaching staff—OC Scott Linehan and DC Gunther Cunningham did amazing jobs in the past season; even with the staff meltdown in Tennessee, I don’t see a coach who’d be an upgrade at any of the Lions position coach spots (not counting never-gonna-happen silliness like former Titans OC Mike Heimerdinger coaching our WRs). I could see a front office change, something like Shack Harris retiring, and the Lions hiring his replacement, but again—they wouldn’t schedule an announcement like that 24 hours in advance, and leak it to one media outlet; it’d be a press release or a quickie press conference.
No, as desperate as we are for Real Lions News, nothing Earth-shattering will be going down tonight. With luck, WXYZ will be able to give the Lions 2011 preseason games (if, please God, they happen) the professional HD treatment they deserve.