I have watched this football season with great interest. There have been some amazing things that I have witnessed. Not with the Lions, but with Lions fans. I have watched some of the most manic depressive behavior of any fan base that I have seen in sports. So let's talk about it.
When the Lions started out hot I posted this article...
You don't need to go back and read the article, unless you feel like it, of course. The relevant portions that I was hoping for people to understand were...
It's only two games, It is a long season.
We need to always keep in mind that the goal is not to win the first two games. We have not really succeeded until we are hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. In the NFL, that is the only measure of success that does not have any qualifiers to it. So until we win it all, we need to keep our perspective. Once we do win it all, we can enjoy that for one off-season. Then we have to prove it all over again.
When the going gets tough, the tough get going
Always keep in mind that the players feed off the energy of the fans. It is when the team is struggling, that they need the help of the fans the most. Being a fair weather fan is one of the worst things you can do. Don't boo the team unless they really earn it, and one bad play, or even a bad game, does not qualify. Help keep the mood positive, but realistic, going forward.
We need to build an environment that breeds success
The fans need to realize that success is measure against expectations. If your expectations are unrealistic, then you are setting yourself, and the team, up for failure. This is one of the most critical things we need to do as fans. When the expectations of the fans get too high, we create an environment that causes coaches to lose their jobs and players to get traded. That is not always a good thing.
Don't get me wrong on this. I am not saying we should purposely keep our expectations low in order to be sure the team will meet them. I am saying that we should expect exactly what the team should be capable of producing. By keeping our expectations realitic, we set them at a place that continues our progress toward a championship instead of derailing it by setting expectations too high, too soon.
Did you understand what was meant by those paragraphs? I know that many people here did not. I can see the obvious results when I read Pride of Detroit these days. There are a lot of folks here that are suffering from the inflated expectations that they placed on the Lions because they started so well. Now you can see their bitterness all over these pages while they vent the frustration they created for themselves by expecting too much, too soon.
I even tried a second time to temper the expectations of fans at these pages when I posted this article...
In this article I said...
While hope is always a good thing, it can also lead us to disappointment. The disappointment comes when our hopes turn into expectations, and those expectations exceed what the team accomplishes. Certainly, it is too early to say the Lions will not make the playoffs this season, but that possibility exists. The Lions season is not necessarily a failure if they miss the playoffs.
It is a virtual certainty that the Lions will win more games this season than they did last year. We need to remember that the Lions have already shown significant progress this season, even if they do miss the playoffs. The very fact that you even have expectations of competing for the playoffs at all is a testament to how far this team has come.
If there were ever a season that you could see this being set up, it was this one. The Lions schedule was relatively easy in the early going and then got much harder as the season progressed. The problems were made even more serious by the resurgence of the 49ers. If you did not realize that the Lions were going to make most of their noise early in the season, you simply were not paying attention to the schedule.
Sure, the early success made a lot of people giddy. But what were you really expecting? The Lions are young. They are just learning how to run. Yet many fans were expecting them to sprint right through the season like they were born to be great. That simply is not how this works. Young teams need to learn how to win.
So I really don't understand some of the stuff I am reading on PoD. Some people want to fire Jim Schwartz? Really?
Sorry, but that is just flat out emotion running your brain and not sense. The guy is doing fine. People who are complaining about the coaches need to get a grip. Some of the same culprits were there last season making noise too. The facts are plain that the Lions have made strides each season under Jim Schwartz and Martin Mayhew. If it isn't fast enough for you then that is not the fault of Jim Schwartz. That is because YOU have set a deadline that nobody is discussing in Allen Park. I guess the Lions were supposed to get the message from osmosis or something. How about you guys realize that YOUR timetable is not the timetable of the Lions organization.
If you are disappointed then you need to get a grip. This team already has more wins than last season and they have three very winnable games coming up. It is very possible that the Lions will finish the season with ten wins. I said it in the quote above from my previous article and I am going to say it again for those who need it repeated to let it sink in.
The Lions ARE making progress. They ARE a better team than last season. Even if they miss the playoff you should be amazed and happy that it took only two season for the Lions to become competitive again after the debacle of the historically bad 0-16 season. If you aren't then shame on you, not the Lions. Because you are disappointed by your own overly aggressive expectations, not by the actual facts.
Yes, the Lions are beating themselves in some games, but that is what happens to young teams. it is a part of growing. Some folks are just not willing to go through that somewhat painful growing stage where the youngsters learn how to take that next step to become true professionals.
The outlook for this team is good. We are at an important stage and the coaches need to learn how to temper the enthusiasm of the players. The mistakes that are being made are because the players are too pumped up and too emotional. The guys need to learn how to step on the line with their aggressive play, but not cross it. Yes, this is a coaching issue. It is also much much too early to say that Jim Schwartz is the problem and that he cannot get it under control. Schwartz will return for next season so get used to it. You can scream about it all you want, but you are just flapping your gums.
What you should feel good about is that the Lions can do better next year by improving things that are completely in their own control. The Lions could still win ten games this season despite all the stupid mistakes. The Lions might even make the playoffs with ten wins.
The outlook is even better next year. Just by being a more disciplined team the Lions could add some wins. They will probably have an easier schedule next season since we will play the NFC West and AFC West. In addition, they will also get back some pretty good players from injury and add a few more guys with talent to the roster.
This is not the time to get crazy and rip things apart. If you are frustrated then blame yourself for not looking over the schedule and seeing this coming. It was there for you to see all season. The failure is not the Lions, at least not yet. They are still moving in the right direction. The failure is your own for just jumping the gun and expecting the Lions to be elite this season. Sorry, but that is still a season or two away.