I’m going to give this paragraph over to my man Neil at Armchair Linebacker, because he’s already said what I meant to say, only better, so I won’t bother repeating him:
On Sunday, the Detroit Lions, my favorite professional football team, will descend upon Buffalo will furious vengeance in their hearts. They will devour the souls of the living and gnaw upon the bones of the wicked dead. There is no joy in any of this, no beautiful glimpse of the future. The future is irrelevant. So is the past. There is only now, there is only today, and today there is no choice but to win, to crush, kill, destroy.
Saturday morning, I was stopping in to a convenience store on my way to get McDonald’s breakfast. Near the door, I met eyes with a man in his, say, late 50s/early 60s. He saw my Lions hat, and a serious look crossed his face. He nodded with great import, and slowly said “ . . . that’s a good-lookin’ hat.”
I’m not sure I can accurately convey just how important this seemed to both of us at the time—it was a very real, very palpable bond we shared just then, if only for a second. Being a Lions fan is still, at this instant, an underground thing. It’s still, for right now, something you do in private, or risk being ostracized. On the rare occasion you see someone else bold enough to brand themselves with the Honolulu Blue . . . you recognize it.
Today, though, the Lions have a chance to take a big step towards Lions fandom being part of a normal Michigander’s daily routine—and the chance is a great one, indeed. The Lions can win on the road, for the first time in forever. They can beat last season’s win total. They can properly round the corner from one of the toughest first-half schedules in the NFL, to one of the easiest second-half schedules in the NFL.
They can do what decent teams do, which is beat terrible teams on the road. If they do it emphatically enough, they can even, finally, separate themselves from the dregs of the NFL—both in the national NFL hivemind, as well as in the standings. I think they can do it, and I think they will do it.
. . . frankly, they’d better do it. Don’t forget to join me live, via Ustream, at 11:00 pm EST for the Fireside Chat podcast, so we can discuss it either way.