So much for replacing Madden with Millen

April, 16, 2009
4/16/09
2:32
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

Thanks to the magic of a 24-7 news cycle, our preceding entry was rendered obsolete about 1.6 minutes after I posted it.

Not long after I asked you whether Matt Millen should be a candidate to replace John Madden on NBC's Sunday night football production, the network announced that Cris Collinsworth would get the job. (A choice I can't argue with on any level. Collinsworth is excellent.)

But in the interim, more than a few of you accepted the offer to express your views -- most of which are still relevant as other opportunities figure to arise. Perhaps Millen could replace Collinsworth in the NBC studio or on NFL Network's Thursday night games.

If he does, some of you will dismiss everything he says. Torgo112 wrote:

No, no, no, a million times no. You can't build the worst team in the history of the NFL and then get a job analyzing the game on TV nine months later. His mere presence would be an embarrassment to whatever network he worked for.

Doug Pretty compared the situation to taking business advice from a once-successful CEO who ran his last company into the ground: "His recent failures taint his credibility."

JR of Gilbert, Ariz., wants to give Millen the benefit of the doubt but said Millen's failures were too stark:

If he was just a bad GM, fine. But this guy was statistically the worst GM ever in football and probably in all major sports. This is like saying, "Slingblade isn't the most articulate guy but can he take over for Chris Berman on Sunday NFL Countdown?"

But your responses weren't as one-sided as I thought they might be. Brett of Houston, Tex., is willing to give Millen a chance -- in a house-arrest kind of way:

As a Vikings' fan, I'd take Millen as a broadcaster. Sure, it may take awhile to forget the atrocities he committed in Detroit, but just because he's a bad General Manager doesn't mean he's a bad broadcaster. I just wouldn't listen to his thoughts concerning player talent very much. Or just think the opposite of what he says, until he proves otherwise. Detroit fans, on the other hand, are totally validated in hating him forever.

Of course, part of Millen's failures in Detroit were based on the eight-season stretch he was given to make them. Had he been fired after three years like most unsuccessful general managers, we probably wouldn't be having this discussion. Writes nicky_gumbatz:

People forget that it is real easy to say what should have been done and what should be done. There have been a lot of GMs who stumbled like Matt, but in his case the owners kept bringing him back. If you ask me the Ford family is to blame just as much as Matt because they should have fired him a long time ago.

My take? It would have been excessive to bring Millen back into a broadcasting role more prominent than the one he held before the Lions hired him. And while I agree with nicky_gumbatz, I also think Millen could have ended the misery himself by resigning long before he was fired. He shares some blame for that issue.

On the other hand, I don't think Millen's failure in Detroit makes him ineligible to ever broadcast again. There should be a place somewhere if he wants it, either in a studio or on Sunday afternoon assignments.

The only unanswered question is whether the Detroit experience lessened Millen's passion for the game. During the NBC broadcasts earlier this year, his style seemed more clinical and less entertaining than the way I remember him from his first stint. Half of the job is to elevate the fun factor, especially in Millen's case. Is he still capable of that?

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