Thursday, September 8, 2011
The Time is NOW!!!
This is the year. This is the year the Lions finally will make the Super Bowl. If I had a dollar for every year I said some variation of this, I would have about $22. (I can't imagine I was totally concerned about the Lions postseason dreams between the ages of birth and four. But at five, it was on!)
The Lions start another season Sunday at Tampa Bay and expectations are as high as ever. And why not? Look at their roster.
Matthew Stafford has a rocket for an arm that NASA (or the Russian space program, or whoever is still going to space) should envy.
Calvin Johnson is a physical freak.
Ndamukong Suh is arguably the most dominant defensive lineman since Reggie White. He is big, strong, and I am pretty sure could snap the neck of a water buffalo by just looking at it.
The entire D-Line has Pro Bowl potential.
Nate Burleson is a high-end second receiver. Jahvid Best has the ability to be Barry Sanders-light. The revamped linebacker corps is full of young talent. The plethora of tight ends is maybe as dynamic as you will find in the NFC.
And those are just the guys who line up on the field.
Martin Mayhew has proven he has front office savy. Jim Schwartz has the respect of his players and fans who have fully bought into his system. And Detroit has Gunther Cunningham leading the defense. How can you not love this guy?! (See below at the 1:40 mark).
If buying into the Lions is drinking Kool-Aid, I want a whole pitcher. I want that big glass man to bust through the walls of my apartment and pour me a glass of Rocky Raiola. I'll drink like Kid Cudi at a nightclub.
But, I've done this before. I've believed in Lions teams of years past.
I was convinced Scott Mitchell was the second coming of Dan Marino. (He did throw for 4,000 yards one year, then plop.) I watched in awe as Marty Mornhigweg told the NFL that Mother Nature was better than his offense and picked the wind in overtime instead of the ball. Believe it or not, the Lions lost that game. When they drafted Joey "Blue Skies," I looked up and thought I saw angels. (Now he can't even avoid getting tackled when on bike!) The last time we went 4-0 in the preseason, I looked at flights for where the upcoming Super Bowl was to be held. The Lions didn't win a game in the regular season that year. I didn't do any traveling. And again, another NFL season was a disappointment.
And, let's not even mention this joker.
So here I sit. Again, in early September with a level of excitement I haven't experienced since my college roommates and I got a special invitation to the Alpha Phi sorority house at Michigan State.
I can't take any more disappointments. No it's not Super Bowl or bust for me. But, it's certainly playoffs or bust. I deserve it. All Detroit fans deserve it.
True fans have stuck with this franchise no matter how bad it's gotten. And it's been bad. Lions fans are like Lindsay Lohan's rehab sponsor. You always hope for the best, but know it's just a matter of time before she falls off the wagon.
Well no more, DAMN IT! We are DETROIT! We make vehicles, maybe not wagons (anymore), but vehicles and ours are supposed to run seamlessly and with power! Just like our football team.
I have not lived in my beloved state of Michigan for four years because of jobs, but have watched 90-percent of Lions games in that time.
My dad and I twice went to games against the Vikings in Minnesota and proudly sported our Honolulu Blue. It wasn't easy, especially after Dan Orlovsky's mental GPS died and he ran out of the back of the endzone for a safety. But we stayed. We cheered. We believed.
I hope the 2011 Lions realize they are playing for more than just a paycheck, pride, and wins. They are playing for the spirit of a city, state, and fans that need to experience success.
Michigan's unemployment rate is nearly eleven-percent and Detroit's is almost double that. Good news is hard to come by in the Mitten.
But hard times are no match for Detroit fans. The Tigers continue to pack Comerica Park as they close in on a playoff berth and as much as Michiganders love the boys of summer, a playoff run for the boys of fall would be 100-times more exciting, because it's so rare.
The Lions have won one playoff game since the late 1950s. One!
Think about what has happened since then. Americans have walked on the moon and then said, 'eh that's not all that exciting, let's shut that program down.' The Internet was created. Minka Kelly and Halle Berry were created. The world has experienced amazing days, yet Lions fans have waited for more than a half century for their special one.
This is our time. It's a chance to change from the butt of jokes to the head of the class.
The state of Michigan and city of Detroit is tough. It's rugged. It's blue collared. This year's Lions need to play with those same qualities.
And if they do, THIS. IS. THE. YEAR!!! RESTORE THE ROAR!