Living in Tampa, I had to listen to Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans blame last years loss to Detroit on a bad call. The call Tampa fans are clinging to is the offensive pass interference on Kellen Winslow II. Now I will admit, it could have easily have been a no call, but it WAS there. I have to giggle when they speak of this because they have NO idea the calls Lions fans had to endure last year.
We endured Stephen Peterman getting called for something that every camera in the known world couldn't capture. Because it simply didn't happen. He was called for engaging a d-lineman low while already being blocked. Pretty straight forward, except when the broadcast went show his mistake, it showed Peterman backing up to pass block and didn't engage a single person. There was two to three feet of space on both sides of him. If that wasn't bad enough, it happened again! Exactly! It was like "Groundhogs Day". Following the game, we found out Peterman was being FINED for it. What the...?
We endured Suh being called for playing two hand touch on Jay Cutler. At full speed, I admit it looked bad, but slowed down you could see he shoved the guy. So I don't blame the referee for making the call in the instance. But the NFL still fines Suh. Didn't they review it before making that decision? What the...?
We endured Suh being called for a horse collar when he clearly grabbed Marion Barber's hair to slow him down before tackling him. You can see Jim Schwartz signalling to the refs "it was the hair, it was the hair". The officials looked like "we know, but we are not going to pick up the flag, you are the Lions". Most people who watch football on a regular basis understand that it is perfectly legal to grab the hair. I don't remember what game it was, but a few years earlier Ricky Williams was yanked down by his dreads. It was highlighted quite a bit that week and the rule was clear, it's like grabbing his shirt. It's part of the uniform. Until Suh does it. Makes me think the officials were so bored officiating a Lions game they were daydreaming of good times. Days when they were in elementary school, they had daily recess(I am sure Hoculi had a Six Million Dollar Man lunchbox with a thermos filled with some anabolic potion). The good ole days when the stripes on their shirts were horizontal not verticle. Days when they could frolic about ... until little Billy is pushed down from behind or Betty's hair gets pulled. SNAP wake up! Back to reality! Suh was fined again. What the...?
The whole world knows knows about the "Calvin Johnson Rule". Calvin catches the ball in the end zone to beat the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. We are off to a great start. First win. First away game win. First divisional victory.....wait ...what do you mean he didn't...What the...?
I could go on, there were plenty more ridiculous calls and fines against the Lions last year but...
I am saying it now, the world has tilted back to it's correct axis. Those days are over for Lions fans. We have been getting enough positive press that even the referees think we have a chance. They will actually pay attention to the game they are officiating! The culture HAS changed. We aren't hoping to be good, we can't wait to see how good we are. Things ARE different. Those four preseason wins extending the row of "w's" DOES matter. We lost all three draft picks in camp. We collectively started to say "What th...?" But we caught ourselves and stood up and said NO MORE.
The Detroit Lions WILL impose their will this year and the refs will call the games correctly. The determined Lions, the coaching staff, the City of Detroit, the state of Michigan and all of you living vicariously through the internet or television will giggle along with me when our first victim this year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers say ......."What the...?"