Sunday, November 24, 2013

Same Ol' Lions Fans

I know plenty of "fans" around here.  The kind of people that as soon as the Lions slip like they did last week against an improving (as of late) Pittsburgh Steelers, it's back to "Same Ol' Lions."  They're the Same Ol' Lions Fans.

I have friends, acquaintances, and co-workers like these.  They tell me at work, on facebook, or at the bar. Even on the radio, the callers call in. Just when you think they've turned the corner, they get smacked in the mouth and the SOLF cries out "SEE?!?! SEE?!?! I TOLD YOU! SAME OL' LIONS!!!"

Why?  They think it gives them credibility. SOLFs are like the people who don't follow politics and rely on fallback cliches like "All politicians are liars/crooks/bought and paid for," "The system is rigged," or "They're just in there to get re-elected."  It's these stupid cliches that do nothing but absolve people from having to think critically.  After all, it's so much easier to think that than to actually use your brain and understand the nuances of politics, or in this case, football.

It's much easier to say that a historically bad franchise hasn't made positive steps when you watch them blow a 27-point second quarter performance the week before against a team that's been underwhelming.  Yes, it sucks.  SOLFs are only doing it to insulate themselves from the torment they've endured the last half-century. They can't be blamed totally, but even they need to recognize that change is inevitable.

The Lions are 6-4.  They're not just in the thick of the playoff race, but have the best chance since 1995 to actually win the division, thereby host a playoff game.  Green Bay and Chicago's starting quarterbacks are injured and GB's Aaron Rodgers may not even be 100%, let alone ready for the Lions in four days at Ford Field.

The Lions still have to play Tampa Bay (home), Green Bay (home), Philadelphia (away), Baltimore (home-Monday Night), NY Giants (home), and Minnesota (away).  Tampa Bay and Minnesota have nothing to play for.  Baltimore is a shell of its Super Bowl winning team from a year ago.  Philadelphia and New York are in the worst division in football, and Green Bay's season may end up being a wash.  The scariest game for me is in Philadelphia, but even that game's winnable (assuming Nick Foles' play comes back down to Earth).

10-6 is likely, but 12-4 becomes a real possibility with each passing win.  12-4 could mean even a first round bye if New Orleans managed to slip up in the final six weeks.  This could be progress, but I would say "progress" is actually winning a playoff game.

SOLFs need to face reality: this team is better than what you've seen in the last 50+ years.  Yes, William Clay Ford is a terrible owner.  The worst, in fact.  But it's possible that just maybe, it's finally time for the Lions to make their run.

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