Former Detroit Lions Head Coach Rod Marinelli Wins Prestigious Award

What is the first thing you think of when you hear the name, Rod Marinelli? Probably the Detroit Lions going 0-16 back in 2008, right? Not exactly something you’d like to be remembered for.

The second thing I think about when I hear Rod Marinelli’s name is what I like to refer to as his iconic speech. During that horrific 2008 season, Marinelli continued to stand in front of the media like a punching bag. As you’d expect, Marinelli continued to give a generic answer to the abundance of negative spirited questions. But one day, Marinelli gave a speech I will never forget.  Yes, the ‘my shovel is sharp’ rant.

“And I guess the best way I can answer this is with something I talk about to the team a lot and I think it will describe what I am about — how I go through this. If I put all of you here in a nice, dark tunnel, right? You’re in this dark tunnel and you’ve got no way out. You’re waiting for light and you see that light, what do you do? What do you do? You start digging and getting out.

“You’re waiting for somebody to do something for you. See, I’ve always believed you stay in the tunnel and you keep digging when you expect no light. You have the same faith when you expect no light. You have the same belief in what you’re doing when you expect no light. You believe in the people you’re with when you expect no light. I sum that up. It answers how I go through all this every day. It’s dark and I’m going to dig through. My shovel is sharp and my pick is sharp and my will is outstanding.”

Marinelli Should Not Shoulder All Of The Blame For Those Lean Detroit Lions Years.

Midway through the 2008 season, the Detroit Lions sat with a record of 0-9. At the time, the organization had lost 16 of their last 17 contests dating back to 2007, so if you can recall, things were tense.

General Manager Matt Millen failed to provide the Detroit Lions head coach with many assets. Still, Marinelli, similar to Matt Patricia, proved to be stubborn and stuck in his old ways. A coach failing to adapt to the now can be very detrimental to an organization.

Former Detroit Lions Head Coach Awarded A Prestigious Award.

The ex-Detroit Lions head coach has earned the Paul Zimmerman Award winner courtesy of the Football Writers of America. The ‘Dr. Z’ award is given out yearly and is considered a lifetime achievement award for NFL assistant coaches.

I am happy coach Marinelli who is now 71-years old, is being rewarded for his service in the league as an assistant.  A very nice feat for the 25-years and counting of NFL coaching service. He’s had success in the league as a coordinator, and currently, he is set to begin his second season coaching under Jon Gruden as the Las Vegas Raiders defensive line coach.

Also receiving the award in 2021 is 49ers running backs coach Bobby Turner.

Detroit Lions Odds At Sports Betting Sites

Per DraftKings, the Detroit Lions are +6,000 to win the NFL Championship in 2024.

About the Author

Bob Heyrman

Bob's writing is comparable to the third starter in a rotation. Sometimes he throws junk that finds the barrel of the bat and gets smacked over the fence, but the odd time he can toss a complete game shutout. Bob is an avid lifelong Detroit sports fan. Bob loves the city and can often be found downtown taking in a sporting event or a cold beverage at a local watering hole.