DETROIT - Miami Dolphins' head coach Nick Saban didn't think too highly of the treatment showed to his starting quarterback on Thursday, and he wasn't speaking of the boos that rained down from the stands.
Saban was referencing the cheap tactics used by Detroit's front office brass to poke fun at former Lions' quarterback Joey Harrington. After entering Detroit as the third overall pick in 2002, Harrington's tenure in the Motor City was abysmal, and he was usually held accountable for the team's shortcomings.
In the traditional Holiday game, the Lions used Harrington's return as a charade to entertain the fans -- perhaps because the team failed to do the job.
Harrington was the only Dolphins' offensive player announced during pre-game introductions -- to the tune of Billy Joel's "Piano Man." The scheme was developed by Detroit's public and media relations staff and an obvious reference to Harrington's piano playing ability and assumed soft nature.
While Harrington shrugged off the apparent insult, Saban wasn't nearly as forgiving.
"It's a shame people can't appreciate what he tried to do for this organization," quipped Saban. "To be honest for you, I don't have a lot of respect for what they did."
But the Lions took it a step further.
During the game, the Ford Field video boards would be used to display close-ups of Harrington's face both on and off the field, a tactic to encourage frequent booing throughout the contest.
Harrington responded by tossing for 213 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in Miami's 27-10 drubbing of the Lions.
Lions' public relations director Bill Keenist, nor media relations director Matt Barnhart, were immediately available for comment.