Detroit Lions running back Kevin Smith either has too much time on his hands or is too much of a wide-eyed optimist for his own good, but in a recent blog post, he predicted the Lions would make the playoffs this season.
"I won't make a prediction about how many games we're going to win," he wrote at smith34.com, "but I will say this: We will definitely make the playoffs this season."
Smith continued: "Believe it or not we weren't far off last year. Almost every game we could have won, we were one play or one player short. Except for Tennessee on Thanksgiving, they just came out and beat us to sleep. They manhandled us, but nobody else did."
Smith might want to check the definition of "manhandled." In 2008, the Lions lost games by the scores of 42-7, 47-10, 38-14, 34-7, 31-13 and 48-25.
He might also want to check the NFL record book. In the entire history of the league, no playoff team had ever gone 0-16 during the previous season.
When did the Lions last win a playoff game?
At least there were no paper cuts
The Lions have had more than their share of embarrassing defeats, but say this for them: They have yet to lose to a crumpled piece of paper.
Not so for the German soccer team Hamburger SV. Trying to advance to the UEFA Cup final, Hamburger was foiled when a soccer ball about to be cleared by defender Michael Gravgaard hit a crumpled paper ball on the field. The soccer ball bounced over Gravgaard's swinging leg and went over the end line.
Werder Bremen scored on the resulting corner kick and went on to defeat Hamburger, 3-2.
Beckham saga continues
As David Beckham winds down his first season with AC Milan, the midfielder says he cannot wait until January, when he will be able to rejoin the Italian club.
From July through November, Beckham must deal with a pesky annoyance known as his MLS contract with the Galaxy.
"I want to come back and play for Milan as soon as possible, even if it doesn't happen quickly," Beckham was quoted as saying in Corriere dello Sport. "I have to respect the contract I signed with Galaxy. I don't want to do badly for them, just as I haven't for Milan. To stay here I've had to make important financial sacrifices."
AC Milan is virtually assured of finishing in the top four of Serie A, which would earn the club a spot in next season's Champions League. Beckham would like to play in that competition, as well as to represent England in next year's World Cup.
"It is the most prestigious trophy a club could win," he said, about the Champions League. "I would also like to finally win something with my country. In 13 years it hasn't happened."
The 1991 Lions defeated Dallas in the divisional round of the playoffs, 38-6.
Hall of Fame pitcher Ferguson Jenkins, to the Chicago-area Daily Herald, on late Cubs manager Leo Durocher: "He was tougher than a night in jail."