Dan Reeves to giddy ex-Bulldog: “It’s hard to change Detroit”

They’ve golfed together enough to develop a strong bond. In fact, although Dan Reeves preferred that Matthew Stafford remain at Georgia for his senior season, the former Falcons coach keeps praising the maturity level and the gifted ways of the former Bulldogs quarterback along the way to this weekend’s NFL draft.

“He’s a great person,” said Reeves, owner of a famously honest tongue.

Speaking of which, Reeves is correct to suggest that Stafford has lost his mind. He actually wants to play for the Detroit Lions, the worst pro football team of the past 50 years. The Lions are close to granting Stafford’s wish by selecting him with the first pick in the whole draft.

So why is this brutal?

“It’s hard to change Detroit,” said Reeves, without the hint of a chuckle.

“You can change coaches. You can change owners. I mean, there’s so little difference in winning and losing in the NFL, and one of the big things that teams that I’ve coached have had in Dallas, Denver, Atlanta — and even more so New York — is that people want to live there.

“Nobody wants to live in Detroit.”

I laughed, but Reeves didn’t, and the owner of the famously honest tongue added, “I’m serious. It’s a fact that nobody wants to live there. I mean, there are so many things that go into it. The economy, the weather. What makes a good football team is their ability to work together in the offseason, and that’s not going to happen in Detroit.”

In contrast, much is happening in Atlanta with Reeves’ old franchise that used NFL rookies at general manager, coach and quarterback last season to win 11 games after the Falcons managed only four during the previous season.

That general manager, Thomas Dimitroff, was so efficient that 10 of his 11 picks made the roster and three became starters. He also acquired splendid running back Michael Turner, and Dimitroff’s streak of enlightenment continues. He just traded for star tight end Tony Gonzalez, which is enough to make Reeves’ surgically repaired heart flutter with joy.

“I don’t think you can pass up tight ends, because they’re hard to find,” said Reeves, 65, who expressed his tight-end obsession often during his seven years with the Falcons that included a Super Bowl trip and the Miracle at Green Bay and lasted through the 2003 season. “Reggie Kelly, Alge Crumpler [both tight ends on Reeves' Falcons]. They’re kind of an offensive lineman and a receiver, and that’s a tough combination.

“If I got back into coaching, I’d definitely have me a couple of good tight ends.”

For now, Reeves just talks about tight ends as an NFL analyst on radio. He still lives in Atlanta, where he’ll golf Saturday before he returns home to see what the Falcons do with their 24th and 55th picks overall.

What should they do?

“I really haven’t looked at film and studied guys [like I used to],” said Reeves, who deferred to Dimitroff’s judgment. “Yeah, he has done a great job.”

He’s not in Motown, for instance. Reeves didn’t say that, but he could have.

64 comments Add your comment


April 25th, 2009
11:24 am

So many idiots saying he’s not a leader, he does not possess leadership qualities or physical/mental toughness required. The closest you a$$es ever got to this young man is your tv, and you know all about him!!

I read comments from people who actually KNOW Stafford, and they say exactly the opposite things.

Now who should we believe?

Stafford to Detroit.

April 25th, 2009
11:22 am

Good luck to Matt Stafford but I feel Reeves is probably right about Detroit. While I admire Stafford’s willingness to be positive and go to Detroit with the full intention of being a winner I think Detroit is just going to swallow him up like a black hole.

I lived in downtown Detroit near Greektown in a nice hotel for a month while training for a company headquartered in Detroit. Of the cities I’ve lived in (Miami, San Diego, Atl) and visited and spent time in or lived in Detroit is the absolute cesspool by a wide margin. I didn’t have one decent night’s sleep there with all the police sirens going off in the middle of the night all night long. God only knows what all the cop calls were responding to.

As for the people I met there I honestly can’t remember many friendly people there and that includes the people I worked with. They seemed to absolutely freaking hate life except for maybe 2 people.

When I look at Detroit I think of DC. The mayor is an embarrassment and is on his way to jail if he is not already in jail. He is in the same vein of azzclowns as Marion Barry was to DC. It makes me wonder what on earth is wrong with these people who elect guys like this? I don’t want to get racial like go braves above but there is something seriously wrong with these people.

When I look at their economy I see a state that was in a 1 state recession for years long before the rest of the country went into recession. Yet these people keep electing the same people to office over and over like with the clown mayor of Detroit. They just don’t seem to get it.

I also see stagnant, rustbelt auto mfg, corrupt unions, and union members who will not budge on their unreasonable demands for benefits and want the rest of the country to inevitabaly pick up the tab for their vaious benefits if the car mfgs go under. I hate to say it but this is just a city that is rotten to the core from what I’ve seen.

The latest and greatest the Detroit has produced is the likes of Kid Rock and Eminem. If you ever look at the lyrics of these 2 guys music then you clearly understand Detroit values.

What's worse

April 25th, 2009
10:58 am

I don’t know what’s worse. The go braves guy making a racial statement that the blacks in Detroit have made the city unliveable or the response by DirtyDawg.

Everyone can agree that gobraves statement is racist even if there is some truth to it. That’s what really bothers some people, that there actually is a kernel of truth to his statement even if it is racist.

As for dirtydawg give me a break. You’re just as much a bigot as go braves with the term “redneck peckerwood”. What gives you the right to moralize to people about racism and then call someone a racial epithet? You are either a black person who is just as bigoted as go braves or you are one of those politically correct white people who loves to arrogantly look down their noses at poorer, lower income whites.and contemptuously call them “redneck peckerwoods”.


April 25th, 2009
10:52 am

DirtyDawg, as a native American I agree with your comments about the diversity of this country and distaste for racism. I don’t think, however, Go Braves (ironic isn’t it with me being of “indian” descent) was elevating his racism by capitalizing “Blacks”. You, and most others, will capitalize “African Americans”, “Native Americans” and so on. It still doesn’t excuse his ignorance. Actually, I shouldn’t say ignorance because he knows better. He’s just plain stupid.

Anyway, we don’t need to be politically correct to identify or excuse racism. It’s just plain wrong. I was actually quite stunned to see Go Braves comments.


April 25th, 2009
10:41 am

Good God Almighty. For some time it’s been obvious simply by reading The Vent and the comments that are voted up or down that a substantial percentage of the posters here are fundamentally racist, but I never really appreciated the fact that they/you are so damn proud of it. You go after Terence Moore because he’s black and because you don’t like some of his positions, that’s perhaps understandable, but to decide to formalize your bigotry by capitalizing the words The Blacks – that’s right, you ‘Go Braves’ – is the worst. If you don’t know it by now, this country is a diverse, multi-cultural, multi-racial amalgam of the world’s best, and perhaps some of the worst. We are what we are and when you insist on continuing to fight the Civil War and to portray African Americans as sub-standard you and the rest of those in the South, and elsewhere, will inevitably hold this country back from achieving it’s true greatness. Shame on you you redneck peckerwood.

Triple Dawg

April 25th, 2009
10:36 am

Great column, Terence. Dan Reeves is absolutely right about Detroit…it is a miserable city that is riddled with old infrastructure, bad roads, and horibble weather, and that has nothing to do with race, you idiots! I wish you well on your future endeavors.


April 25th, 2009
10:34 am

goblue, good analogy about the problems of ownership. The Smith family proved themselves to be incapable of running a successful pro football franchise. I don’t know much about the Lions but I defer to your experience as a Lions fan.

I will, however, disagree with your comment about evaluating names instead of talent. I believe Stafford went through some of the most intense screening (athletic ability, mental acuity, etc) I’ve seen. He may not be succesful in Detroit, but he surely shouldn’t bear the brunt of the blame if that happens. As much as I like Matt Ryan, I believe a large part of his success was the fact the Falcons had a solid O-line, good receivers, and a punishing running game. I don’t know much about the Lions, but will Stafford have the same?


April 25th, 2009
10:27 am

Iceman, great points. Some people can never accept the truth. For instance, Stafford seemed to always play behind an inexperienced line. No fault of his. Also, for those who imply that he never won anything – it’s hard for Stafford to win an SEC or NC when another SEC won the NC for the past 3 years. For those Bulldog fans who were Staffords’ critics, at least consider the influence of his #1 draft status as it relates to recruiting. It’s pretty impressive to visit a high school quarterback and refer to the fact that you mentored the NFL’s #1 draft pick. Stafford frustrated me at times, but I appreciate his service at UGA and wish him well in the pros.

Terence, I really didn’t like many (if not most) of your articles over the years, but I do wish you as well. Speaking as someone who has experienced the effects of company cutbacks in the past, I never like to see someone lose their job. It’s just not right to rejoice in something like that.


April 25th, 2009
10:24 am

“Famously honest tongue”? Excuse me while I gag. Typical synchophant piece by Moore. OK, so what would Mr. Reeves, the redneck from Waycross, GA, suggest? That the NFL get out of all cities with cold weather? I guess that it’s curtains for Buffalo, Green Bay, Minneapolis, Chicago, and all the rest. Or maybe the NFL should not be in cities with lousy economies that relied on heavy industry- and oh, by the way, afforded, thanks to the unionws that are so despised in the South, decent middle-class lives to ordinary people without advanced educations? God forbid that young millionaire eternally adolescent jocks be expected to play somewhere that they wouldn’t necessarily choose to vacation in. The problem with the Lions isn’t the weather or the economy, it’s the Ford family ownership- which Reeves should know ALL ABOUT, since he worked for the equally inept Smiths early in his tenure here. As a Lions fan, I can only hope that I’m wrong, but I wouldn’t touch Stafford. He’s got a strong arm, but he’s not accurate, and he came up empty in every signature game he played in last year. Same old Lions pattern of evaluating NAMES instead of talent.


April 25th, 2009
10:20 am

Actualy, Maddog, “UGA ALWAYS WILL JUST AVERAGE PROGRAM” will always be just an average speller.