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A Lions Festivus: It’s now time for the Airing of Grievances

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Lions football for the rest of us!

The magical time of Festivus is upon us. Here we gather before the Festivus pole, the traditional dinner set before us.

Last year we unveiled our proud tradition and now we continue with a second consecutive year of Festivus merrymaking. This is a real goddamn holiday and you will have to sit here and eat this red meat on lettuce.

As with keeping in the time-honored tradition of Festivus, I open our celebrations with the Airing of Grievances. While naturally this website already serves as an outlet for complaints, declarations of wrongdoings and feuds of all manner, this time is meant for something more special; that is to say, we’re doing the exact same thing as we always do but it’s also Festivus.

Now, we’ve talked enough. Let’s begin Festivus!

Andrew Kato

My grievance is against all the people clamoring for New England Patriots coordinators or former coordinators to replace Papa Jim. I'm just gonna leave this here:

In the 2009 season, the Patriots did not have an offensive coordinator and posted the #6 offense by total yards and #6 scoring offense. Still went 10-6 and won the AFC East.

In the 2010 season, the Patriots did not have an offensive coordinator and posted the #1 offense by total yards and #1 scoring offense.

In 2010, the Patriots ALSO did not have a defensive coordinator and yet had the #8 ranked defense in the league. The team went 14-2.

In 2011, the Patriots ALSO did not have a defensive coordinator and yet had the #15 ranked defense. Still went 13-3 and went to the Super Bowl.

So all you Matt Patricia and Josh McDaniels stans, just stop. The most successful former Patriots coordinator stayed a coordinator.

Alex Reno

Here is a live look at those unhappy with DeAndre Levy:

Oh, and to all of those that would rather see the Lions lose out just so they can fire Jim Caldwell, just to start over with a new coaching staff. Screw y'all. This team has a chance to make the playoffs and do something special. I'm not the biggest Caldwell fan either, but how often do we actually get to sit with our loved ones on Sunday's and enjoy a Lions win? Sit down, shut up, and enjoy the ride while it lasts.

Chris Perfett

I got a lot of problems with you people, and now you’re gonna hear about it!

I’m here to address myself. Yes you, you goddamn philistine. You’ve been battling this writer’s block for close to a full calendar year. This has to stop. Spurts of inspiration peter out, you get maybe a piece every month or so and just enough is leftover to write the mailbag posts and, uh, maybe a funny Five Questions now and then that just usually ends with very confused people who take football very seriously in the comments. But how about some more, huh? Your output’s been crap and you’re not gonna get any younger.

Put that rotting brain to use and make some goddamn content for once.

As always, the curse of Bobby Layne is dumb and stupid.

Kent Lee Platte

Airing my grievances is simple since they aren't very large. This has been a great season for the Lions, sitting on the verge of winning the NFC North for the first time ever, potentially winning a playoff game which they haven't done in two decades, or firing Jim Caldwell if they fail both of the first two. There really isn't a losing situation that I can see, so I have only little gripes. I don't like how the team withholds injury information, which led fans to ostracize not only DeAndre Levy, but players like Jimmy Landes, who played hurt. The nature of their injuries added context to their level of play or availability that was only found out after the fact for each. Instances like Landes made no sense to disclose the injury at cut time instead of earlier because the idea that they were going to keep Don Muhlbach through 2016 didn't provide any strategic advantage over other teams. Likewise, the decision to keep Levy active despite an injury that understandably kept him off the field makes sense in the context of the team having the opportunity to activate Ameer Abdullah or Jon Bostic. Withholding the injury information provided no benefit, strategically or otherwise. You take the bad with the good, so this is the price you pay to net a general manager who hit on at least three of his first year draft picks with several more that have contributed.

Kyle Yost

My grievance is with the national media and the angles they choose to take when viewing this team. Heroic comebacks are merely seen as cover-ups for mistakes made earlier in the game. Injuries across the board have nothing to do with struggles running the ball or defending the middle of the field. Consistently comical refereeing is not even worth mentioning. The Lions are experiencing success? That means we must talk about how Calvin left the team.

I get it—Detroit is not the most exciting city to cover in sports. This may not be Dallas or Boston or even Green Bay, but fans across the country deserve to jump on this ride that we loyalists rarely get to experience. Instead, the attention is shifted to another late surge by Rodgers & Co. If the worst does come to happen, I cannot wait to hear the only takeaway of the Lions' season become about choking away the division title. That would be the perfect bow for the media’s Detroit narrative.

Mike Payton

I have a lot of grievances. First of all. The title of the article series is "What just happened?" I'm not asking anyone what just happened? I'm telling people what just happened.

Secondly I have a beef with radio guys. Stop making everything a six day topic. Yeah the Lions lost. Stop making everyone freak out about "so and so getting traded" or "Caldwell is pompous." Just talk about other stuff. Like Lebron James.

Third, read a newspaper, people. Stop getting news from Facebook. No the Pistons aren't getting Paul George. Come on!

Lastly, this one is for the Lions: Stop underachieving. Just go out there and win a damn game convincingly. This team fills me with a white hot rage every weekend, to the point where there isn't enough Fresh Prince in the world to calm me down. Just win. Score more points. Win by 10 for once. Just win this damn division and let me have my life back, you monsters! Don't you see what you've done to me? To my family? You're killing me!

Joseph Buszek

My grievance this Festivus is a simple one. It concerns the inability of the Lions to have a decent running game. It doesn’t even need to be a good one. I’m just asking for OK! Is that too much? Just for one year can’t we have one lead tailback who can rush for more than 500 yards or not destroy his brain or stay off the operating table or not steal another player’s luggage or score more than 4 TDs or not get pulled over and eat a bunch of weed. Oh sure, but what about this year? THEO! The only reason Theo Riddick has lasted playing well this long is the fact that he’s a running back in name only. We don’t really want him to run. He’s no good at it. And Ameer? Did anyone watch that Cardinals documentary series when Bruce Arians and his staff were so sad when they missed out on drafting Ameer Abdullah and then just ‘settled’ for David Johnson? How are they feeling right about now? In reality, though, it wouldn’t matter. If things had gone according to their plan, Abdullah would be the one leading the league in yards for the Cardinals and Johnson would be fumbling his way to 250 yards and an ACL tear for the Lions. You know it’s the truth. We got a really, really nice thing for 10 years and now get to spend eternity being punished for wasting it.

Jeremy Reisman

At a time of year, I actually feel so thankful for having a team in the playoff (and division!) race, so it's hard to muster up a grievance truly worth airing. However, 'tis the season, and I don't want to be a Festivus Grinch.

For my airing of grievance, I would like to say one final word on a topic I have railed against all year: DeAndre Levy haters. When news finally broke last week that Levy had surgery for a torn meniscus, the anti-Levy crowd suddenly backpedaled and redirected their bottled up anger back at the coaching staff. "If we would have known the injury was so serious, we wouldn't have been so mean to Levy." This is such a weak, bullshit excuse that I really don't want to address it at all. But the magic of Festivus is that it pulls us out of our comfort zone and prevents us from holding true feelings inside.

First off, if you were doubting the severity of Levy's injury just because you didn't have the information about it, that makes you the bad guy. You are assuming a player that has worked his ass off to get into the NFL is faking an injury for what? Just to pick up a paycheck? You think he would risk his brand and his NFL future for that? You should trust a guy who sits out because of an injury, because for the large majority of football players, all they want to do is play. They've worked for decades to get to this point, and they absolutely deserve the benefit of the doubt. Plus, players know their window to play and earn money is limited. No one will purposely risk making that window even smaller.

Secondly, I just flat out don't believe you if you say you would have supported Levy if you knew his diagnosis. The sad majority of football fans want two things out of their players: to play, and to play well. Considering Levy will now miss the majority of two consecutive seasons, fans will continue to hate him. Consider this: Levy, after missing basically the entire 2015 season comes into 2016, plays one game, then the team comes out and says he will miss 2-3 months. What happens next? Fans go crazy and call for the team to cut him at the end of 2016. Maybe the issue doesn't linger as long as it did this year, but as he started inching closer to a return, fans would still doubt his ability to get back on the field, still hate the Lions for continuing to pay a player who isn't playing, and still get mad every time Levy opened his mouth about a social issue, claiming he should "stick to not playing football."

The problem with the Levy situation wasn't the team's refusal to be transparent. The problem was the fans who were unwilling to trust one of the hardest working players on their team and their impatience with the healing process. Levy doesn't deserve an apology from the team, he deserves an apology from the fans who couldn't see through the rumors and speculation and see a player that was clearly--and openly--frustrated with his own mounting injuries and was doing his damnedest to play the game he loves.


And with that, the grievances have all been aired. Now, we begin the Feats of Strength. I select Ryan Mathews to attempt to pin me. Until he does so, Festivus shall go on!