As I’ve said before, I don’t get the chance to go to many games. For starters, I live in Lansing, not Detroit; it’s a just-too-far-to-be-convenient 90-minute drive to the stadium. For seconds, I lead the praise band at my church—making it to Detroit in time for a 1:00 p.m. game means I either have to take the day off, or duck out entirely. For thirds, I have three young children—taking a family of five to a game means a bare minimum of $220 just to walk in the door. Add gas money there and back, parking, food before, during, and after and . . . well, it takes more than a just an exhortive Tweet from Jim Schwartz to get me to Ford Field.
One of the best things about having small children, though, is that parents become grandparents. On Sunday, I will be the beneficiary of some of the attendant spoiling; part of a three-generation Boys’ Day Out. We’ll be watching the Lions play battle the Jets in living color—and we want you to join us.
The Lions are on the verge of something they haven’t been since Barry left: being nationally interesting. With surprisingly strong showings against Philadelphia, New York, and DC in the books, plus this week’s New York game, a visit to Dallas, and a Thanksgiving Day game against Boston yet to come . . . the Lions are touring the nation’s biggest sports media cities, and showing them one by one we aren’t who you thought we were.
Check out this gem of a video preview from the New York Daily News immediately prior to the Giants game—and get ready to either seethe with red-hot anger, or bust a gut laughing at how foolish this guy now sounds. I’m ready for talking heads like that to get words like that crammed down their throat. I’m ready for the national media to be grabbed by the lapels and shaken awake, clued in to what’s happening in Detroit. I’m ready for these Lions to announce their arrival on the NFL scene with a roar. We want to roar with them—and we want you to join us.
Some of the same New York guys who pooh-poohed the Lions’ arrival into Your Company Name Here Stadium a few weeks ago will be flying into Detroit, while trying vainly to conceal their contempt. All of the same national-media types who’ve expelled gallons of breath and ink on Donovan McNabb’s benching, while ignoring the defense that forced it, will have one eye on the monitor displaying this game. Every NFL fan who can’t get enough of Rex Ryan, the Sanchize, and Revis Island will be tuning in to see the Jets take out their just-got-shut-out frustrations on the Lions. I want the Lions to teach them all a lesson while we’re there to cheer them on—and we want you to join us.
I want Ford Field to be filled to the rafters with fans ready to roar. I want to show the world exactly what kind of fans we are—and the Lions to show the world exactly what kind of team they are. I want the blue bonfire to wax and surge and roar high and tall and bright; a great pillar of flame to be seen a thousand miles away. I want the Lions to beat the Jets at their own game, pounding the quarterback into submission, feeding off the crowd, resonating with power and strength and energy that’s saturating the air they’re sharing with us. We’re going to radiate every last watt we’ve got on Sunday, powering the players as much as we can—and we want you to join us.
As I said, I understand well the real-world limitations that face Lions fans. I understand well how hard it can be to get everything in place to attend a game live. But do me a favor—if you can attend a game, but were waiting for just the right game, or just the right time? If you were waiting for them to prove to you they could win before you invested fiscally as you already do emotionally? Don’t shy away from competition. Don’t abandon the team when they need you the most. Don’t sigh when your local Fox affiliate flips over to infomercials because the game’s blacked out again. Make the call. Hit the Web. Smash the piggy bank. Let’s show the world just how bright this fire roars.