Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sorry, Lions Fans!

[Takes Official NFL-Licensed Detroit Lions Paper Bag off head]

As I'm sure any of you NFL fans already know, this year my Detroit Lions did what many said could never be done: they finished the season winless, with a record of 0-16. They even made this monumental feat look easy. A couple of times they had a lead going into the fourth quarter, but each time they managed to screw something up and give the game away. Now, you may think this winless season is the fault of the players, the coaching staff (most of whom have been fired), and horrible management of the gladly-departed Matt Millen, but I'm here to confess: it's all my fault.

I wasn't always a Lions fan, of course. I loved Michigan football from the time I was a little girl, but I wasn't really aware of the NFL until 1977, the year I collected team pencils from the vending machine at my middle school. Through careful hoarding of quarters and shrewd trading, I managed to get all 28 teams, even the Baltimore Colts, Los Angeles Rams, St. Louis Cardinals, and Houston Oilers. (I'd hoped to show a picture of my pencils, but they're missing from my school treasures box. I wonder what they'd fetch on eBay.) I didn't really pay attention to the Lions until the 1980 season, when they started with four straight wins and a couple of the players recorded their own version of Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust." Of course, the Lions were the ones who eventually bit the dust that season, missing the playoffs by virtue of tiebreaker. Still, they were on my radar, even though I didn't get much chance to watch them, not being the one in control of the clicker.

It was only in the 1990s that I became a faithful follower of the Lions. Even if the team was stinking up the field, you could always watch Barry Sanders, arguably the greatest running back ever. And actually, the 1990s were good for the Lions: they went to the playoffs six times, even though they only won a single playoff game (against the Cowboys, woo hoo!). But then I moved to London and lost track of the team. I ask you, is it coincidence or karma that the year after I left, Barry Sanders surprised the NFL by retiring early and immediately taking a vacation in London? Then, while I still wasn't paying attention, the owners hired a former sports announcer with no executive experience to run the team. Since I returned home in 2002, the Lions have punished me for my neglect by posting a record of 29-83, the worst in the league. It's like they're saying, "Oh, so now you're watching? Well, we'll only win one of every four games."

I'm not sure what I've done now, because owner William Clay Ford refuses to purge the management and seek the best in the NFL to take over the team, as Mike Illitch did with the Tigers after their record-setting 119-loss season in 2003. Three years later the Tigers were in the World Series; I doubt we'll see the Lions anywhere close to the Super Bowl in 2012. Maybe I should've bought a Ford Escape for my last car.

Whew. I'm glad I got that off my chest. Now, how long is it until Draft Day?*

*115 Days, 21 hours, and counting.


  1. And what makes you think the Lions won't totally screw up the draft? They have the number one pick, and even if there were a player like Jake Long available, they will pick some no-name nothing who will never be a successful player.

  2. Must agree with your mom, I'm afraid.

  3. Yes, but until that day comes, I can delude myself into hoping that one of those five picks in the top three rounds will be worth something. I mean, they can't all be crap picks, right? They used a draft pick to get Barry Sanders, right?


    [goes to put tape on her Official NFL-licensed Lions paper bag]