The Detroit Lions have a reputation for losing. It is a long and well earned reputation and to rise above it will take a whole team effort, from owner, to front office, to coaching staff and ultimately the players all must take ownership and responsibility to overcome this tradition. But, for now, at this moment, there is one former Lions player who hopes to continue to hold on to losing as a way of life.
Former Lions quarterback Scott Mitchell is going to be a part of the next season of the NBC reality show The Biggest Loser. From his playing weight of 240lbs in the 1990’s with the Lions, Mitchell has ballooned up to 366lbs and was inspired to join the cast by the passing of his father to weight related issues.
For Lions fans, calling Mitchell the biggest loser has an entirely different ring to it. Mitchell came into Detroit as the highly heralded backup to Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino (who, incidentally, has been doing weight loss commercials for Nutrisystem) and the Lions made an attempt to make a splash by grabbing Mitchell in free agency. It seemed at first to be the right move as after an injury riddled 1994 season that saw the Lions make the playoffs with Mitchell on the bench, Mitchell proceeded to tear apart the Lions record books in 1995. He became the first Lions passer to surpass 4,000 yards (4,338 to be exact) and threw for 32 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions. Mitchell led the Lions to the playoffs that season with a 10-6 record and were widely considered by many to be favorites heading into that postseason with their stellar offense that also included Barry Sanders, Herman Moore, Brett Perriman, Johnnie Morton and David Sloan.
What followed was one of the most embarrassing playoff losses of all time as another former Lions quarterback, Rodney Peete, led the Philadelphia Eagles to a 58-37 victory that wasn’t nearly as close as the 21 point difference. Mitchell never really got it together again after that game. His completion percentage and touchdown to interception ratio got worse until he was finally replaced by Charlie Batch during the third game of the 1998 season.
Hopefully all goes well for Mitchell and he is able to drop the life threatening weight and have a productive, healthy life going forward. He is only 46 years old and has five children while working as a bill collector in Utah. Sadly, he will be ridiculed for this and during this, and of course, so will the Lions. We’re used to that here and hopefully for one more season, albeit a television season and not a football one, Mitchell continues his losing ways.