By Jeff Riger
The Super Bowl is always fun for Detroit football fans. Most go to a party, some get drunk, some win money gambling while everybody understands that the chances they’ll ever get to see the Lions in that game are slim to the point of nonsensical.
But let’s close our eyes and go to a land where Detroit does someday represent the NFC on Super Bowl Sunday.
What would I do?
I would go to one of our beautiful downtown casinos on the Saturday before the game and stay there at least until 6 or 7 the next morning. Sure it would cost me a ton of money but it would be worth it. I mean, the Lions would be in the Super Bowl. After the casino, I would get some breakfast and then head home to crash. Knowing all the pregame hype would just be too much to take, I would set 7 alarms, take a sleeping aid and then fall asleep until around game time. When I awoke, I would turn on the TV and watch the game in total isolation.
No internet, no tweeting and most importantly, no alcohol. I didn’t want to chance forgetting a single moment of a game that I waited so long to watch.
If the Lions lost, I would then start drinking.
If the Lions won, I would head out, with a couple of buddies and try to tip a car. We always promised each other that if the Lions ever won a Super Bowl that we would turn over a vehicle in celebration. Granted it might have to be one of those small Smart cars, but it would still count.
Don’t laugh! I know you have a similar plan too. Maybe yours doesn’t include heading to the casino or watching the game alone, but I’m sure you too have fantasized about what you would do if the Lions ever were to go the Super Bowl.
Lions followers are a unique fan base. They are tortured week after week and year after year but they continue to come back for more. People can talk about how bad Clippers fans have it or how awful it must be to be a Cubs fan, but nothing can top being a Detroit Lions fan. One playoff win in 57 years pretty much sums it all up.
But people continue to root for them. No matter how bad things get, and they have been awful, people don’t turn their back on the team. They can’t! Detroiters can’t quit the Lions because it’s in their blood. Everybody needs a NFL team to root for and this is the one Detroit was given. You can’t change that.
It’s a law, you root local. If you grow up in the Chicago area, you’re a Bears fan. If you grow up in the Dallas area, you’re a Cowboys fan and if you’re unlucky enough, football wise, to grow up here, you root for the Lions. It’s just how it is.
Of course there is one exception.
Every now and then you come across the worst kind of fan and it just so happens that I’m related to one.
My 40-year-old bother has lived his entire life in the area. He was born in Oak Park, then moved to Southfield, West Bloomfield, Royal Oak and Farmington Hills. He’s a metro Detroiter through and through, but he has one major flaw. He roots for the Denver Broncos.
I don’t know when it happened. He claims he became a Broncos fan back in 1983, but I think he just picked that year so he can always shout out the line “Lions free since ’83!”
He plays the part well. He has so many Bronco hats, shirts, sweats, jackets and underwear that you would think that he works for the organization. If it’s Bronco related there is a good chance that my brother Dave already owns it.
Dave claims he would always watch the Broncos in the 4 o’clock game growing up and fell in love with John Elway. I however, think Dave just thought it was cool that Elway actually looked like a Bronco, but he denies that being the reason as to why he now roots for the team.
So as this year’s Super Bowl grows closer, Dave has become unbearable. He’s not even that arrogant or cocky, but just knowing that he’ll have a rooting interest come Sunday and the great fans of Detroit won’t, drives me nuts.
Why should he get the experience of cheering for a team in a game of this magnitude around people that know it will never happen for them.
But don’t you dare be jealous of Dave!
Sure he gets to watch the Super Bowl with a rooting interest, but there will be something missing.
He’s not from Denver, he’s from Detroit!
He doesn’t have the fan support for a winner that you do for a loser. It’s impossible for him to have the same passion and emotion for a team he choose as you do for a team that was given to you.
How does he celebrate if the Broncos win? Does he call a phone booth in Boulder, and hope somebody picks up that watched the game? Does he go on a Bronco message board and pretend that he’s a lifelong Denver resident? Does he try to find another Bronco fan living in Detroit so he can discuss Denver football related issues?
Nope! He just gets in his car after the game, drives home and goes to work in the morning.
Yes, Dave will have a chance to watch his team try and win the Super Bowl on Sunday. But will it really mean anything if he has nobody to share it with?
So go Seahawks, beat the Broncos on Sunday! And, even if they don’t, rest assured that a championship won’t mean as much to Dave, a pseudo fan, as it would to you, a real fan, if the Lions were ever to do it.
Enjoy the game everybody! Everybody, except Dave that is.