Originally posted by @mchill
I follow college football more than the NFL, but can't help noticing the classless Detroit Lions. For most of 50+ years this sad excuse for an NFL franchise has managed to finish with a losing record, and though they were 9-7 last year this was one of the few exceptions. Year after year this team gets high draft choices due to their dismal performance, yet s ...[text shortened]... one wonders why Detroit has managed to remain the NFL's favorite chew toy. It's a mystery.
There's not a very big incentive for the Lions ownership to put a good team on the field. They are interested in TV ratings and league-wide incentives like forcing the Raiders to move to Las Vegas.
I might be wrong about the specific numbers, but I think the Redskins and the Jets, two of the most inept NFL teams over the last decade, also happen to be in the top tier of profits (more than $50 million per year for the owners of perennial losers). Teams like the Rams and Chargers are so bad they can't even get fans to attend their games, yet the value of their franchises increases every year.
When you remove the motivation for team owners/executives to at least try to be successful, you end up with the Lions.