The proclamations are bold. Some of you have already made them on this website. People are swearing off the Lions for good this time. With the recent news that Old Man Ford is keeping Mayhew, Lewand and quite possibly Marinelli on for next season, fans are making early New Year's resolutions to drop the Lions for good. But is it that easy?
I think I can say that I've never made a bold "never again"-type of statement after a bad season, but I can't say that it's never been on the tip of my tongue before. It's there right now. But I just can't say it. I know that it wouldn't be the truth. In fact, I have a hard time staying away for more than a day or two. Even after a humiliating loss that drops the Lions to a historic 0-15, here I am the next day, wanting to talk about the Lions. It's hopeless for me. So my question for all of you out there is two-fold...
First... How many of you that have already made the claim that you will no longer support this team are at all serious? Really, the fact that you are reading this means that you came to a website about the Lions looking for information about them. So how serious can you be? No doubt there are fans out there who have had enough of this... especially those rooting for the team for decades. I'm 34 years old, so I can remember the early 80's on with some clarity. My late teens is about the time I would have considered myself as a diehard fan and from about age 25, I've been a fan with undying loyalty, watching every move the team makes - year 'round - almost every day. There's just no way that I could truthfully swear off the Lions for good. Does this actually make me a bad fan??? That's certaintly an interesting question. If I don't stay loyal through all the bad years and boycott them and not go to games and not buy merchandise, am I actually a BETTER fan? I guess this is uncharted water for a sports fan... when to draw the line on loyalty. I've always chosen to support versus ban. I guess this makes me an enabler of sorts. But how does boycotting help? It gets bad enough that Ford sells the team and it relocates? How is that better? At least we have a team to complain about right now. The worst thing would be to have no team to complain about. Now it seems like I'm making excuses for the them. There are, of course, no excuses for the product that this organization has put on the team. For the fan, though, it's a catch 22 of the worst kind.
The second part of my question is... if I can't root for them and I can't boycott them... what CAN I do? I think that some of you will say that you can boycott them, at least through games and merchandise. And that's fair. But I can't boycott them altogether. They are my team and I can't change that. So again, does that make me a bad fan or a good fan? There can't be many other fans that have this sort of conundrum. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
As a fan, there must be something that I (we) can do to help get my (our) point across to ownership that their direction is wrong. Time after time, it seems that fans have tried to put together some type of "strength in numbers" stunt that makes the Fords take notice. All of these ideas have seemed to fail. I have to believe that WCF does care, he just makes poor decisions. If so, how do you get him to make the correct ones? Bottom line is that you can't. It's his franchise and he will make the decisions. That leaves the fan feeling like his "shares" in the franchise don't give him a fair vote in the process. Is the only way to get the point across a total disinterest in the club? If so, how does a diehard football fan like me do that? I don't get from other sports what I get from football. For me, nothing compares. What... root for another team? How can I? It feels disingenuous at best. How can I pretend to not care, when I do? Maybe this is what Ford realizes. This is NFL football and regardless of how poor a product he puts on the field, the fans will crave it and keep coming back for more. I guess I am a bad fan... enabling this poor product to be sold. Sheesh, who knew I was the problem?
So what are all of you current or former Lions fans out there doing to either support or not support this team?