Eric Thomas: Searching For The Bright Side In The Lions And Saints Game
Sports Fan Insider
I guess I am happy the Lions are in the playoffs. It’s more or less what I have been hoping for a decade and here it is: sitting on my doorstep with a shiny red bow on it. I get to watch an actual Detroit football team in the actual playoffs in the actual NFL. The problem is, I feel more like my team is being led to an execution. The Lions are playing the part of Sydney Carton, and I hope they can keep a stiff upper lip and say something clever before the NFL razor drops.
In Roman coliseum terms it feels like the reverse, where the Saints feed on the Lions in front of a blood thirsty crowd of toga wearing lunatics, pointing their thumbs at the ground. Undertakers are measuring them in the locker room. Lions fans plan to watch but have mostly moved on emotionally. Many of us are discussing Virginia Tech running back David Wilson, and whether or not he can be taught to run forward before being drafted into Honolulu Blue.
I am among the Lions fan unfaithful. I am raising my hand with those who say the Saints will 86 the Packers and represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. The Saints are an offensive monster, and their defense is not the Packer defense. Jonathan Vilma and Aubrayo Franklin are good defensive players and Shaun Rogers (also making his debut playoff appearance) is old but he always seems to gather his motivation against the Lions. The Saints also boast an excellent defensive secondary. Our D line gives us a chance, but the Saints are sending 3 offensive linemen to the Pro Bowl. Even as I type these words I am actually getting depressed.
In order to cheer Lions fans (and at this point, myself) up, I decided to write a blog focusing on the bright side. Sure, my TV is going too covered in rage spit on Saturday. Sure I am probably not watching any football on Sunday out of pure depression. I am also sure that whoever is playing the Saints will become my new favorite team, out of pure spite. I know these things, but for the purpose of this blog I have elected to ignore them. Here are the bright spots to the Lions v Saints game on Saturday night. I will remember none of these near game time.
1. The game is on Saturday night at 8 p.m. You can get drunk. You can get really drunk if need be. There are bars that do $1 specials during Lions games and you can take full advantage. Everybody likes to drink during games, but being sloshed at 4PM on a Saturday can throw your whole weekend out of whack. Luckily, this game is neatly packed into time reserved for drinking anyway. It might help. Plus, if the game is out of hand in the second quarter you can immediately shift focus to the hot brunette at the end of the bar.
2. The Lions are actually in the playoffs. I know this is a bit like finding out the “hot girl” you have been chatting up on Facebook is actually a “creature beast” with an Orson Welles-like gift for camera angles, but we have wanted a playoff run for over a decade. Sure the Lions will likely be the guy on all fours in the paint and the Saints just need the boost so they can pull off an acrobatic Super Bowl dunk, but at least they are in the dance. It beats another 2 to 6 win season. It’s not like we are the Vikings.
3. The Lions are not playing Matt Flynn. And Thank God for that. If I were Matt Flynn I would follow the Lions around like an ambulance chasing lawyer, doing whatever I can to play against them every week. For Matt Flynn, playing the Lions was like playing Madden against your girlfriend, where even the bubble screen goes for 80 yards. I am sure he was campaigning for the flea – flicker because he always wanted to try it. The good news is that Drew Brees and the Saints will probably win the Superbowl. This gives Lions fans all kinds of chances to delude themselves. “We lost to the eventual Superbowl champions…”
4. Next Year. With the season over with, we can finally go into an off season with a playoff team on the rise. There is something very comforting about that. The Lions have made giant steps forward in the past three years and they show absolutely no signs of stopping. We can also put away the whole “if Stafford stays healthy” nonsense. There is always a chance a player gets injured but #9 has put his China Doll label away. Few guys have their shoulders taped back together and have the beastly season that Stafford just had. He is tough, people and the guy could be elite. There are a lot of things to be thankful for Lions fans, and if Saturday is awful, we should not lose sight of that.
5. The Lions could win. Ha! Sorry. Didn’t mean to get your hopes up there. I guess it’s numerically possible, but I find it’s better to be prepared for reality. It also felt like I needed a fifth point on which to end the blog.