The Watchtower: Lions At Giants

>> 10.15.2010


On Sunday, the Lions will make their first trip to Your Company Name Here Stadium, colloquially referred to as “New Meadowlands.”  There they will take on New York Giants and Justin Tuck—who dramatically guaranteed on Tuesday that there would be “no ties.”  The Lions are 1-4, coming off of a 44-6 blowout of the previously-surprising St. Louis Rams.  The Giants are 3-2, feeling their oats after two consecutive wins over the Bears and Texans—during which their fierce pass rush netted 13 sacks.  What will happen with the Lions’ red-hot offense meets the Giants’ red-hot defense?  As always, I turn to the track record each coordinator has against the other . . .

Scott Linehan vs. Perry Fewell

Okay, you know what?  Let’s just get this out of the way right now.

Perry Fewell and Perry Farrell are NOT the same dude.

Lin Few Ornk PgG YpA YpC Drnk PpG DYpA DYpC PTS YpA INT YpC FumL Sack
MIN STL 6th 26.0 7.60 4.75 17th 20.5 6.15 3.64 17 6.88 1 7.27 3-2 8-54
STL BUF 30th 14.5 5.67 3.95 14th 21.4 6.65 4.28 14 7.15 1 5.76 2-1 2-23
DET NYG 6th 25.2 5.95 3.63 14th 19.6 5.33 3.55            

Perry Fewell’s coaching track record is short and sweet. He was initially hired by Tom Coughlin in Jacksonville, in 1998, to serve as the defensive backs coach.  Fewell held that post through under defensive coordinators Dick Jauron (!), Dom Capers (!!), Gary Moeller (!?!), and John Pease (???).  When Coughlin was broomed after the 2002 season, Fewell caught on with Lovie Smith in St. Louis for 2003 and ‘04, and came with Smith to Chicago in ‘05.  When Dick Jauron got hired as the Bills’ head coach in 2006, he tabbed Fewell, his old DB coach, to run the defense.  When Jauron was broomed after last season, Tom Coughlin tabbed Fewell, his old DB coach, to run the defense.

What jumps right out at you is the number of “mentors”  Fewell has had, and the variety of alignments and systems they play out of.  Jauron, Moeller, and Pease ran variations on the traditional one-gap 4-3, Capers runs a 3-4 zone blitz, and Smith is a Tampa 2 disciple.  More confusingly, Jauron hired Fewell to install a Tampa 2 variant in Buffalo, and Coughlin hired Fewell to run whatever Fewell wanted in New York.  Fewell is one of those rare coaches who is a mixture of the sum of his influences, rather than the heir of a coaching legacy.

One of the most interesting things Justin Tuck said during Tuesday's Subway event was that Fewell listens intently to the players, and tweaks his scheme and playcalling based on what they feel is working, and what they’re seeing on the field.  Kawika Mitchell, the former Bills’ linebacker, Tweeted this about Fewell upon the Giants’ hiring of him:

"on the rise. Creative. Listen 2 his players. Gr8 experience especially when u add n his time as interim HC. A lot of respect 4 PF"

So we know that Fewell is flexible and creative, favoring zone defenses behind a one-gap four-man front.  The best possible data to use for comparison would be from within this season with New York, or his early Jacksonville days under Coughlin and Jauron.  Unfortunately, Scott Linehan didn’t take over an NFL offense until 2002, so there’s no Jacksonville data.  Instead, we’ll use Fewell’s time with the Rams (an aggressively-called, but  archetypal, Tampa 2) and the Bills (a mix of T2 and traditional 4-3).

In 2003, the Vikings’ offense was in full bloom: 6th in the NFL and scoring 26.0 points per game.  The Rams’ defense was 17th, allowing 20.5—though they were likely having to defend more possessions than most, thanks to The Greatest Show on Turf scoring quickly and often.  When the two teams met, the Vikings mustered a pathetic 17 points against the Rams’ 48.  A first-quarter Culpepper-to-Moss TD pass, a second-quarter field goal, and a 1-yard Moe Williams TD plunge on the next possession accounted for all of the Vikings’ points.

The thing is, the Vikes moved the ball like crazy: 330 passing yards at a 6.88 YpA clip, plus 186 rushing yards at a stonking 7.27 YpC each.  This includes a 42-yard scramble by Culpepper—but even without that, we’re talking 5.88 YpC, total domination on the ground.  As I noted in my Watchtowering of the Bears, this performance is part of the historical evidence of a systemic advantage for Linehan-offense rushers against Lovie Smith defenses.  However, that advantage wasn’t evident against the Bears in Week 1.  With the Lions rushing for a limpid 3.63 YpC so far this season, and the Giants not even allowing that much, on the average (3.55 YpC), things look dim for the Lions’ ability to run the ball on Sunday.

How could the 2003 Vikings generate 519 yards of offense and only score 17 points?  Well, Daunte Culpepper was at the helm, so the answer is easy: 8 sacks for 54 yards, 3 fumbles, two of which were lost, an interception, and 11 penalties for 65 yards.  Now, the fumbles and turnovers are par for the course with the Culpepper-era Vikings, but 8 sacks is egregious even for Daunte.  This indicates another factor I’ve seen in previous Watchtowers of aggressive Tampa 2s: an inordinate amount of sacks surrendered.

The other data point we have is much more recent, and likely a better representation of what Fewell’s doing these days (as he was the DC): 2008, when Dick Jauron’s Buffalo Bills took on Scott Linehan’s St. Louis Rams.  Unfortunately, this is the worst possible sample of Linehan data: the Rams were rock-bottom awful, and this game is the last one he coached for them.

30th in the NFL, scoring just 14.5 PpG, Linehan’s Rams were the definition of a stoppable force.  Their scoring that day was exactly you’d expect when a team scoring about 14 points a game faces a 14th-ranked defense: 14 points.  However, they once again dominated on the ground, racking up 167 yards and 2 TDs on 29 carries (5.76 YpA).  Their passing effectiveness was well above their season average, too: 7.15 YpA (5.67 on the season).  Our conclusions must be similar to what we saw with Lovie Smith's tendencies:

Given greater or equal talent, Perry Fewell's aggressive 4-3 front, zone coverage defenses will surrender a disproportionate amount of yards to Linehan's balanced offense, but also generate high numbers of sacks and turnovers, disproportionately disrupting scoring.  Additionally, regardless of talent level, Scott Linehan's inside running game is disproportionately effective against Perry Fewell defenses.

Mitigating/Augmenting Influences:

The first factor that mitigates these results is the Lions’ evident lack of a power inside running game.  Steven Jackson is Steven Jackson, and the Vikings’ offensive line in 2003 was a thing to behold.  Unless Stephen Peterman suddenly regains his 2009 form, Jahvid Best will again struggle to find creases inside.  However, Michael Schottey brought up an excellent point on Twitter: The Lions may well use Kevin Smith much more in this game, since he’s the stronger blocker.  Smith also runs harder—and he’s clearly much stronger now than he was at the beginning of the season.

The key to the Lions’ offensive performance will be in the running game’s ability to make the defense stay home and contain, rather than pin their ears back and attack—and if Smith (or Best) can make hay in between the tackles, the Lions could be in business.  If not, it could be a very long day.  Also—turnovers.  If the Lions do not turn the ball over at all, they’ll get to turn all those yards between the 20s into points.

Expectations would be that the Lions underperform their season average (25.2 points), and the Giants would allow more than theirs (19.6).  Given the Lions’ systemic scoring disadvantage, I project the Lions to score 17-21 points, even while outpacing their season averages through the air (6.50-7.00 YpA) and on the ground (4.00-4.25 YpC).  I have medium confidence in this projection.

Gunther Cunningham vs. Kevin Gilbride:

Gil Gun Ornk PgG YpA YpC Drnk PpG DYpA DYpC PTS YpA INT YpC FumL Sack
PIT KCC 7th 22.0 6.86 4.78 19th 22.1 6.32 3.83 13 5.64 0 5.80 1-0 3-28
BUF TEN 30th 15.2 5.35 3.90 13th 20.2 6.60 3.79 19 5.60 0 4.45 1-1 3-16
NYG DET 14th 21.2 7.12 4.49 23rd 22.4 7.13 4.79            

Kevin Gilbride is even more infuriating than Fewell.  Gilbride came up as a pure Run ‘n Shoot guru, even working with June Jones.  He was the architect of the pinball R&S offenses in Houston, opening up the throttle with Warren Moon, and putting up huge numbers.  Gilbride was also Tom Coughlin’s offensive coordinator for his first two seasons in Jacksonville . . . noticing any trends here?  Unbranched coaching trees aside, Gilbride used journeyman Steven Beuerlein to great success, and the Jags’ air attack helped them reach a 9-7 record in just their second year of existence.

Enamored of the Jags’ success, the Chargers fired the staid, stuck-in-the past Bobby Ross, and hired Gilbride to be their head coach.  They wanted Gilbride’s wide-open passing attack to lead them into the future, and drafted him the triggerman he needed to do it: Ryan Leaf.

That worked about as well as might be expected.  Two seasons later, Gilbride was run out on a rail—but was then picked up by none other than Bill Cowher and the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Gilbride realized that Kordell Stewart’s slow decision-making ability and often-inaccurate passes wouldn’t be a great fit for the run ‘n shoot, so he simplified and customized his offense, using “Slash” all over the field to great effect.  Just look at the first row of season numbers up there: 22 points per game (in the mid-90s, that was 7th-best in the NFL), 6.86 YpA, and—with a mix of Jerome Bettis and Kordell Stewart running the ball—4.78 YpC. 

Unfortunately, that offense bears no resemblance at all to what Eli runs in New York, so comparing Gunther’s relative success (or lack thereof) against it would be folly.  No, the the only even sort-of comparison we have is 2003, when Gilbride was running the offense in Buffalo under head coach Gregg Williams.

It’s a wretched data point for Gilbride, as Drew Bledsoe really struggled to execute Gilbride’s multi-WR sets.  Even with an elite target in Eric Moulds, and a running game featuring Travis Henry and his 1,356 yards, Bledsoe only completed 58.2% of his passes, for 2,860 yards, 11 TDs, and 12 INTs.  The Bills were 30th in the NFL in scoring offense, averaging just 15.2 points a game—and Gilbride would be headed for the bread line again at the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Cunningham was working with Jim Schwartz in Tennessee, and their defense was fairly decent: 13th in the NFL, with 20.2 PpG allowed, and especially stout against the run, surrendering only 3.79 YpC.  The result seems to blow away expectations, 26 points for the Bills—but 7 of them came on a 28-yard  fumble return by Pat Williams.  Yes, that Pat Williams, the larger half of the Williams Wall.  Has he run 28 consecutive yards before or since?

So, 19 offensive points for the Bills; still mildly above expectations. We see that passing effectiveness was right in line with the averages, but the Titans allowed the Bills to gain over a half-yard more per carry than the Bills usually did—is this indicative of something systemic?  Without a second data point, I can’t be sure—and unfortunately, these two coordinators were in and out of work at similar times; I simply don’t have another time they faced off while running anything like the schemes they run today.

Given that Kevin Gilbride now runs a more conventional “New York Giants” offense that includes tight ends and multiple running backs, I do not have enough data to draw any firm conclusions about Gilbride’s offense against a Schwartz/Cunningham defense.  There may, however, be a mild systemic advantage for the Giants’ ground game.

Mitigating/Augmenting Influences:

Well . . . without any firm conclusions, there’s really nothing to mitigate or augment, is there?  Given the paucity of data, I can only conclude that the Giants’ offense will meet expectations against the Lions’ defense: scoring 24-27 points, gaining 7.00-7.50 YpA, and 4.50-4.75 YpC.  I have low-to-medium confidence in this projection.


The Lions haven't lost in the Meadowlands since 1990 (H/T: Tom Leyden, via Twitter), which is an incredible thing—but the Lions’ road losing streak is an incredible thing, too, and unless the Giants simply fail to motivate themselves for this game, I don’t see it stopping.  With sadness in my heart, I must admit that the mostly likely outcome of the game is a 20-24 Lions loss.


Tinderbox: Watchtower today!

I’m working feverishly on the Watchtower post; I’m being tripped up because both Giants coordinators have run, or been taught under, several distinct schemes.  I’m trying to figure out what’s relevant data and what isn’t.  In the meantime, here are some excellent links to tide you over:

  • Dave Birkett of the Free Press wrote a great piece on C.C. Brown's understanding of Eli Manning's game. I'd forgotten that C. C. played with the Giants last year, and has seen an awful lot of reps against Eli.
  • Tim Twentyman wrote a nice story for the Detroit News about Jeff Backus, and his 150-game starting streak.  Backus has overcome a lot of physical adversity, yes, but this season has also wrestled with some serious personal stress.  Definitely worth a read.
  • Big Al of The Wayne  Fontes Experience did a cool Q&A with UltimateNYG, Bloguin’s Giants blog.  They have not forgotten that C. C. Brown played for their favorite team last year.  Also, they have similar feelings to my own about their OC, Kevin Gilbride.
  • If you haven't been following the Adventures of the Great Willie Young, Armchair Linebacker's chronicling of Lions DE Willie Young's epic feats throughout human history, the latest installment reveals Willie’s adventures in the heart of 8th-century China.  Fair warning: Willie (according to the legendary tale of his epic legend) was involved in some seriously not-family-friendly stuff, so if that kind of thing isn’t your thing, don’t bother.
  • EDIT TO ADD: Oh, one more thing. I don't have a Homecoming post up yet—but this is Homecoming Weekend for Michigan State.  So, if you’re in to MSU football, check out my new MSU football blog, A Beautiful Day for Football.  Wolverines, fret not: I’ll keep TLiW Spartan-free.


    Watchtower review: Lions vs. Rams

    >> 10.13.2010

    Let's begin with the conclusion of last week’s Watchtower:

    The numbers tell me that the most likely outcome will be a 20-24 loss.However, I just can’t believe it. All of the factors besides the raw data point towards the Lions both scoring more, and allowing fewer, points against the Rams. My instincts tell me that the team that fell two points shy of beating the Packers in Lambeau has the edge over the Rams at home—and Vegas agrees with me; the Lions are three point favorites. Either way, it will be a closer game than we thought it’d be going into the season—but I’m going to depart from the numbers. I’m predicting a 27-17 win for the Lions.

    As commenter Angus Osborne said:

    Ty: this Watchtower proves that despite the diligent detailed work you put in you're more a fan than a statistician.

    That’s true, I am a fan more than a statistician.  In fact, I’m no kind of statistician; I’m terrible at this stuff—but I’m so fascinated with the ways statistics can reveal hidden truths in football, that I’m researching and learning and gleaning everything I can to try and play with the statistical big kids.  However, I also believe that all the numbers have to be grounded in reality, and my eyes and instincts revealed the numbers’ lies.

    In this case, the numbers were telling me that Shaun Hill was going to play like an average of his performances against Chicago, Philly, Minnesota, and Green Bay—and I knew the Rams weren’t going to put up that kind of a fight.  Second, the numbers were telling me that the Rams were going to play like an average of their performances against Arizona, Oakland, Washington, and Seattle—and I knew the Lions were going to put up more of a fight. 

    The “mean” (average) of a given data set isn’t always the most telling number; sometimes it’s the “median” (the one in the middle), or the “mode”) the most frequent number.  If there were a defense that gave up seven points in each of its first five games, then 42, then seven again, the average would tell you that team typically allows 13 points—when really, it typically allows seven.  As I said in the Watchtowering of the Rams:

    The Rams have faced the Cardinals, Raiders, Redskins, and Seahawks, and allowed 17, 16, 16, and 3 points in those games. I’m inclined to believe that allowing about 16 points to a mediocre offense is where the Rams’ defense “really” is, and the Lions have a slightly-better-than-mediocre offense. They also have Calvin.

    As it turns out, I was right that the Rams were an "alllow 16 points to a mediocre offense” kind of defense, but I was wrong about the Lions.  They aren’t a “slightly-better-than-mediocre” offense, they’re the sixth-best in the NFL; now scoring 25.2 PpG.  That Lions offense against a middling Rams defense (with a likely systemic advantage on the ground) projects out to 27-30 points; 30 offensive points were exactly what the Lions scored.  Of course my work last week could only take into account Weeks 1-4:

    Given theoretically-lesser-but-probably-really-equal talent, and a nonexistent-but-probably-really-existent systemic advantage, especially vis-a-vis the run game, I project the Lions will score 15-to-20 points, pass for 6.25-to-6.50 YpA, and rush for 4.5-to-4.75 YpC.  I have low-to-medium confidence in this projection.

    . . . and yeah.  Not what happened.  What about the defense?

    Given no real systemic advantage or disadvantage, I project the Rams’ offense to meet expectations against the Lions’ defense: 23-26 points, 6.5-7.5 YpA, and 4.00-4.25 YpC. I have low-to-medium confidence in this projection.

    I got nothin’ here.  The Lions only sacked the Rams once in 74 dropbacks (though they did score countless pressures and hits on the quarterback).  They forced three turnovers, but one was immediately returned for a score, so snaps and drives weren’t terribly depressed.  The Lions simply shut the Rams down, regardless of averages.  I’m trying to nail down exactly what is was that enabled this kind of performance—but for the meantime, just be happy about it.


    Getting Fresh with Ndamukong suh (. . . at Subway)

    >> 10.12.2010

    Ndamukong Suh and Ty from The Lions in Winter, a Detroit Lions blog

    I swear, I was happy about this.

    This morning, I got the opportunity to meet up with some other bloggers and media folks at a Subway Restaurant near Ford Field, and break bread with Ndamukong Suh.  It was an awesome event for me as a fan—to meet, talk to, and shake hands with the big man at the heart of the Lions’ defensive line.  It was also an unbelievable experience as a blogger; I got to attend a “media event,” as actual media, and both chronicle it as an observer, and participate in it in an amazingly meta, Web 2.0 kind of way.

    Those of you who’ve been reading for a while know I’m based out of Lansing, so I had to hack and slash my way through I-96 traffic to get down there in time.  I was a little late.


    When I got there, Suh was getting a crash course in sandwich artistry, and made Al Allen from Fox 2 a sandwich from start to finish.  This led to a completely awesome situation where I took this picture here:


    . . . and across the room, Rob Widdis from the Free Press was taking Suh’s picture there, while I was Tweeting the picture I took.  In the gallery at the link above, you can play Where’s Waldo with me, Big Al from the Wayne Fontes Experience, Zac from SideLion Report, etc.  After the sandwich-making experience, Suh talked with Allen about the importance of breakfast, getting a quality meal to start your day, especially in regards to children’s nutrition.  These are issues near and dear to my heart—with three little ones of my own, I see a lot of kids their age who aren’t eating well.  Proper nutrition is essential for long-term health; I love when people with platforms, like Suh, take up the banner.

    With that out of the way, the folks at Catalyst Public Relations set up a Skype link between us and a Subway in New York doing the same thing with Justin Tuck.  Tuck was running late in traffic of his own, so the gathered New York bloggers and media took the opportunity to  interview Suh.

    Ndamukong Suh talks with Detroit Lions bloggers and media, while Skyping with New York Giants bloggers and media

    Someone asked Ndamukong what he did with Jake Delhomme’s head; he said “I gave it back.”  He was also asked about his run towards (if not actually to) paydirt on his interception of Sam Bradford, and if he was lobbying to play offense.  I was stunned to hear Suh answer that they actually had an offensive package for him in the playbook, it just hadn’t been called yet.  I got the sense that he’d relish a chance to touch the ball again.


    While we waited for Justin Tuck to arrive, some of the assembled bloggers took the opportunity to meet and greet.  This is one of the interesting layers of the event: as a fan blogger, I’m both there to meet a player I’m a fan of, and there to observe and report.  This is blurring the lines in a way that many aren’t comfortable with; there have been several dust-ups this year where credentialled media members have asked for athletes’ autographs, with vociferous reaction from respected bloggers and media alike.  I didn’t want to be “that guy,” you know?  But then I remembered my mission statement and manifesto:

    But me? I'm a fan. I was born a fan, and I will die a fan. The hooting and derision of the American sports culture has set my resolve. I'm sick of getting snickers on the football-y corners of the Internet. I'm sick of getting reaction takes when I wear Lions gear around town. I've thought about starting this blog for years, but this morning I knew that today was the day. I've pulled my hood tight, I've loaded up the sled with wood, and I've got fuel and spark to spare. I'm going to reclaim my Lions pride. I'm going to fan that little blue flame into the great big bonfire it ought to be, and nobody's going to be prouder than me when thousands are once again carrying torches to rally behind this team.

    So yeah—no pretensions about who I am or what I do; hand shaken, picture taken, autograph gotten (H/T to Big Al).  Besides, the whole event was so incredibly meta it beggared belief:

    Detroit Lions bloggers and media gather around Ndamukong Suh at Subway

    I Twitpic’d this picture of bloggers Twitpicing, and media filming, Ndamukong Suh simultaneously texting and Skyping with bloggers and media in New York, and all of us talking football together.  How awesome is this?  Again, major credit to Catalyst PR for putting together this event!

    Justin Tuck talks to The Lions in Winter and via Skype

    Ndamukong had to leave for a scheduled live appearance on ESPN First Take; shortly afterwards Justin Tuck arrived.  We took the opportunity to ask a few questions of Justin, who was happily noshing on a freshly-made Subway breakfast sandwich throughout.  I managed to get one question in . . . and I asked him if he could take down Suh in a sandwich-eating contest.  He said “he’d be sick for two weeks afterwards,” but through pure effort he’d take down the big rookie.

    Phil Zaroo of actually asked an actual football question, “Any predictions for Sunday?”  Tuck predicted that the two teams would take the field, either the Giants or the Lions would kick off, either the Giants would try to score while the Lions tried to stop them, or the Lions would try to score while the Giants tried to stop them, and then they would switch, and then they would pretty much alternate like that until time ran out—and at the end, one team would have more than one point more than the other team.  Phil wouldn’t let him off the hook: “So, no ties?  You guarantee no ties?”  Tuck considered this for a moment, and then capitulated: “Yes.  I guarantee no ties.”


    After a little more back-and-forth and joking around, time ran out—and all the pros in the room packed up with incredible speed.  Honestly, as amazing as it was to get to see Ndamukong Suh, shake his hand, and talk to him outside of a football environment, it was just as awesome to meet some of my friends and colleagues I’ve known only through the Internet.  Being a fan of, or covering, the Lions is a unique curse—but it’s also a blessing, because those of us who are so cursed support each other like no other.  Thanks again to Subway, Catalyst PR, Ndamukong Suh, and everyone else involved in this awesome event.


    Three Cups Deep: Lions vs. Rams

    >> 10.11.2010

    Hire Steve Spagnuolo.  Don’t draft Matthew Stafford, wait for Sam Bradford next season.  Pick up Jason Smith instead, and make sure your franchise quarterback will be protected his whole career.  Fix the middle linebacker spot by taking James Laurinaitis in the second.  Next year, after Bradford, take a physical tackle (who could play a little guard) in the second to complete your offensive line.  Pick up a big, physical corner in the third.  Sign O.J. Atogwe to a long-term deal.

    At some point over the past two years, most (or many loud) Lions fans were screaming for the Lions to do all of the above.  Incredibly, the Rams took their advice.  At every step of the way in the two franchises’ mutual rebuilding, the Rams have done what the majority (or extremely vocal minority) of Lions fans wanted the Lions to do.  The Rams did all of the above—they hired Spags, took Jason Smith and Little Animal, picked up Rodger Saffold and Jerome Murphy, and re-signed Windsor native FS O.J. Atogwe.  If the Lions had done those things, I bet Mayhew and Schwartz would be even more popular with the fanbase than they are today. 

    On Sunday, the Rams visited Ford Field, and the Lions kicked their ass.

    The sixty-minute woodshedding the Lions put on the Rams was a thing of beauty; a joyous celebration of victory in progress.  Not only did they get a lead in spectacular fashion, they built it—through consistently excellent play in all three phases of the game, the Lions not only failed to lose the lead, they kept pulling farther away until the final gun scored!  Despite visibly changing mood from “desperately hungry” to “having a good time out there,” the Lions managed to take their foot off the gas without allowing the Rams to catch up.

    It’s been said elsewhere that the Lions need to “learn how to win,” need to learn how to play as a team to preserve a victory once it’s been gained.  To use the scoreboard to their advantage, to take control of the game and put it away.  To, once an opponent has been knocked to the ground, put their boot on its throat, and claim victory.  Today, we saw “Learn How to Win” class in session.  I’m not sure the Lions have graduated yet—but they passed their this test with flying colors.

    Yesterday was an incredible release; the Lions took their (and our) pent-up frustration out on an unsuspecting opponent.  They brought everything they had to bear on the Rams--and, as is often the case with superior talent and effort--caught a few breaks.  Everything went right for the Lions yesterday; now everything IS right in the world today.  Tomorrow is another story, of course, but let's not think about that now.  On this day, in this moment, the Lions reign victorious--and we rest comfortably in the knowledge that the Lions' leadership has been making excellent choices, with or without our help.



    >> 10.10.2010

    For the first time ever, the Fireside Chat Podcast reviews a GLORIOUS VICTORY!

    . . . guess my baseless premonitions are on-point, eh?


    Gameday Post: Smells Like Victory


    On Friday, I felt an irrational sense of impending doom; a baseless, primal fear. My friend Neil at Armchair Linebacker writes often of this clawing dread. The Fear sits in the pit of every Lions fan's stomach on gamedays--maybe never more than on days when the Lions are favored to win. Today's mix of desperately needing this victory in every way, and the theoretical attainabiility of said win, is a deadly cocktail, indeed.

    But today, I am peaceful. Today, I am blissful. I have a quiet, unshakable confidence that's likely just as irrational as The Fear. Perhaps it's temporary insanity, perhaps it's the afterglow from yesterday, but whatever it is I feel as though nothing can touch me--and no one can beat the Lions.


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