By Eric Thomas
Lions season has been freaking awesome. Several times this year, you’ve said, “The Lions really need to win this game.” Then they did! How many times has that EVER happened? Usually, when you cross your fingers and toes, hoping for a victory for the Lions, they lost by a minimum of 40-50 points to a team that hadn’t registered a win yet. That’s what usually happens. That hasn’t happened this year. I don’t know what to do / say / think about that.
Lions fans are floating on an ice floe, trying to figure out this whole “winning” thing. We thought 2011 was a mirage. They had those five games where they went undefeated and limped through the rest. They didn’t look very good after they lost Jahvid Best that year. It’s eight games into the season (or is it nine? I’m so confused. Am I writing in English?) and the team keeps getting better. In a few games, they’ve gotten ahead and held a lead. They gave other teams a chance at the end and won anyway! On the road! Yes, the Lions!
Those of us who’ve cheered for this team have no idea what happens next. We’ve never seen this before. Many of us have developed bank-vault grade scar tissue around the part that cares about football. Lions related PTSD is a real —and this might serve to explain how we’re behaving right now.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Everyone—EVERYONE—in the know said 8-8, 7-9, 6-10, and they broke the news to us like they believed it. I don’t know if that was real analysis anymore, or someone hedging their bets. Ron “Everything I Say is Picked Out of a Hat” Jaworski spent the off-season criticizing Stafford and heaping LOADS of praise on Colin “Maybe We Jumped to Conclusions” Kaepernick, including (I swear) that he may be the best quarterback of ALL TIME. Jim Schwartz was on the hot seat! The Lions were going to go through an overhaul in the off-season! Schwartz should have been fired at last season’s end! Why is Scott Linehan still here? Remember that? REMEMBER ALL OF THAT? IT’S GONE! WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO WRITE ABOUT?
There are still some people who cling to the past. They say, “Oh, it’s just the Lions. This is what they do, they break our hearts and leave us crying in our soup or broth or tea or beer or whatever liquid we have in the inch of space that’s below our chins.” They say that it’s the Lions and they won’t ever turn the corner, or take a step forward, or NOT blow it in the end. They stand with their arms folded and say “Neigh” in a thousand different voices. Who can blame them?
I can. Lift the rock so they can go crawl back into whatever hole they dragged themselves from. Don’t steal my sunshine. This is all I ever wanted for a DECADE. I don’t care about anything else. I want the Lions to be good ALL YEAR. Not a flash in the pan four or five games—the minimum that qualifies them for a Wild Card berth. I want a team that has consistently been the better team on the field because I spent five years praying (yes, PRAYING) that the games would be COMPETITIVE. True Lions fans know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. I wasn’t hoping for a win; I wasn’t hoping for a playoff spot; I was hoping for the Lions to NOT LOSE BY OVER THIRTY points!!
Do you know how the Lions spent the Bye week this year? They GOT HEALTHY. This is the first time in my conscious memory that they DIDN’T spend the Bye SEARCHING FOR ANOTHER PLAYER IN A MAJOR SKILL POSITION.
The Lions play the Steelers at Heinz Field on Sunday. Do you realize it’s not that big of a deal? They could lose that game and it doesn’t really affect that much. They’re 6-3 on the year. 6-4 is still AWESOME for Lions fans, and it wouldn’t hurt their standings in the division. How crazy is that? If the Lions are leading the division, they’re usually scraping for a desperate chance to MAYBE make it. They’re comfortably ahead in the division and Green Bay is starting someone names Scott Tolzien in at quarterback. The Lions BACK UP QUARTERBACK is better than the Packers’ STARTING QUARTERBACK.
I’m yelling because I can’t believe this. I’m not even sure what the point of this blog is, other than to make wet geeky noises and occasionally pump my fist after I finish writing a sentence. I usually end a Lions blog with something to the effect of “don’t screw it up” or “when is the other shoe going to drop” or something. I’m not going to. I’m allowing myself to admit that I’m covered in gravy and exposing myself to the full pain of what comes from the Lions this year. They can win the division. What happens after that? Does anyone know? Should we call someone?