After a few decades, and a few more painstaking weeks, Rod Marinelli finally got his first win as an NFL head coach.
There was no gatorade shower. No Comerica-esque celebration. And no parting shots at late night hosts. The Detroit Lions are now 1-5, with the latter of that statistic keeping Marinelli -- and everyone else -- grounded.
"Well, you know, obviously that's what you want to do," said Marinelli following Sunday's 20-17 win over the Buffalo Bills. "I look at it as that marathon -- it's just that I'm driving a marathon, that's what it's all about - to win. I love winning, obviously. But, I'll watch the tape and you got to be 'we got to do this better,' so that's (what) my process is."
Outside of their lopsided loss at Chicago in week two, the Lions have been stricken with poor luck, missed opportunities and -- such was the case last week -- the activation of an untimely self-destruct sequence. But against the Bills, the team made the proper plays at the right time; winning intangibles that Marinelli believes might help guide the team the remainder of the year.
"I just like this team. I just like them," he said. "Five of these six games have gone down to the wire and now this one is such a big one for us -- come down at the end and find a way to win a game. That's how you want these games to come down to and you force that (the details), the little things at the end of the game and have an opportunity to win them."
But, he added, the goal is still not complete.
"It's just, it's the win, but it's the process to me as much as anything," said Marinelli. "I'm just, I'm so happy for them, because they're working and I keep telling them it's that far, do the little things, stay on course, no matter -- I don't care what's out there -- forget it and just keep playing. That probably of any one thing for myself is the most satisfying, that they can feel that.
"In this game of football you just keep fighting and believing and trusting your skills and your fundamentals; understand your systems and just keep doing it."
Lions' quarterback Jon Kitna, who tossed a touchdown in the win, said after the contest he offered his coach a "congratulations" shortly before Marinelli was awarded the game ball in the locker room.
"He's known this was coming," said Kitna. "I'm sure he felt like we should have gotten this about five weeks ago, but you just had to wait a little longer and he was pretty happy about it."