We Lions fans sure are a crazy bunch. Not just because we cheer for a team that's won one playoff game in the Super Bowl era and tends to lose in comical or heartbreaking fashion. But perhaps it's because we keep coming back for more year after year, like gluttons for punishment.
Being a writer has given me the opportunity to engage with other Lions fans like never before. Whether it be on Facebook, Twitter or what have you, I've always noticed certain trends arise around the same time of every year. Today I want to talk about the ten that I've found can be pretty annoying, especially to outsiders. I want to quickly clear one thing up first. I do some of these things too. This is not an attack on Lions fans, and I'm not "Lions hater." It's okay to laugh at yourself every now and again. That's what we're doing today.
Now that you've put your pitchforks and chainsaws back in the shed, let's jump right into it with one everyone sees at least once a week.
"The Lions should sign _____"
Go onto Facebook right now and find a Lions group. I guarantee you see this come up within the first five or ten posts. Forget the "one before I die" T-shirts, we should have a bunch of these printed up. Because any time a 36-year-old player is cut, or a player is suspended for domestic abuse or drugs, there's always a Lions fan to jump in and say, "the Lions should sign him."
There's a reason these players are being cut or suspended. That's usually the same reason the Lions will never sign them. It's fun to dream, but reality must come into play at some point.
This isn't everybody. But it is a large amount of people. These are the type of fans that are just angry. Sure, they have a right to be. Things haven't always, or ever, gone the Lions' way, but if you say SOL more than 19 times a week, maybe there is something else wrong. Maybe you just hate football? Who knows. All I can really say is equating the 2016 Lions to the team that lost in 2008 is kind of dumb. But I know this will never go away. I've made peace with that.
Every year around this time, a great majority of Lions fans tend to get in their own heads about the possibilities of what this team can do during the regular season. There's absolutely nothing wrong with believing that the Lions can do great things. But some may be ahead of themselves when they go out and get their Lions Super Bowl tattoo or proclaim on social media that this 7-9 team will win it all with rookies all over the offensive line and a defense with several holes.
It's not completely out of the realm of possibility. Crazier things have happened in sports over the years. It's just a little unlikely. See what's happening to me here? The Lions fan in me won't let me just say it won't happen.
For every ten fans that think the Lions are going to win the Super Bowl, there are ten fans that think the Lions will go 0-16 every year for the rest of their lives and that Martha Ford is going to toilet paper their house in the middle of the night. Geez people, the season hasn't even started yet and you're in full blown "we're all doomed" mode.
I suppose this is a completely human reaction. It's safe to say that some of these under-believers were once over-believers that were scorned by the Lions. When that happens, these fans shut it all down and prepare for the worst. This way the Lions can't emotionally hurt them anymore. Actually, these fans may have the right idea.
Blame the Refs
There's a time and a place for this, and it's right after the game. The picked up flag in the playoffs, the batted ball, the facemask that wasn't, the Calvin Johnson rule. It would certainly appear as though the refs and the NFL really have it out for the Detroit Lions. I must admit, I was appalled after the picked up flag and the face mask. I went on and on about it for weeks and just wouldn't let it go. It's easy to blame the refs for a loss.
But at some point you have to look at the Lions and wonder why their offense broke down against Dallas, why Calvin couldn't hold onto the ball or why the Lions offense couldn't get going against Seattle. Why didn't Jim Caldwell defend the Hail Mary properly and how the Lions let Green Bay back in the game? Yes, the refs made bad calls. But did the Lions put themselves in the position to lose a game on a bad call in the first place? The answer is always yes.
Blame one player
Poor Matthew Stafford. This cat takes the blame for every loss and rarely gets the credit for a win. Lions fans are world famous for blaming their quarterback for losing games and believing in the infamous fake "quarterback wins" stat. I'll be the first to tell you when Stafford had a bad game. But I'll also be the first to tell you that it wasn't all his fault. While quarterback is the most important position on the field, it means nothing when a defense is leaking like a sieve and your punter shanks the most important punt of his career or a kicker misses three field goals. Football is a team game; blame the team for the loss.
Apologize for a player
On the other side of that last coin, a lot of us tend to protect Stafford more than any other player or athlete in Detroit. If Stafford did have a bad game, there are always Lions fans ready and willing to blame anyone on the field not wearing #9. I get it. There is a constant civil war between Lions fans that love Stafford and those who hate him. You can't show any weakness by admitting he didn't play so well. But let's be honest, five interceptions is enough to not blame anyone else but the guy who threw them.
Everyone's favorite player in town is always the backup. Fans pined for years over the thought of Kellen Moore taking the field as the Lions starter. These fans were 100 percent sure he was the key to success and that Stafford and the coaches were just holding him down. You see that same theory with Zach Zenner, Kickalicious, Joseph Fauria and on and on and on.
What makes me laugh the most is that 32 teams passed on Kellen Moore seven times in a row during the draft. He couldn't beat Dan Orlovsky for the backup spot and was eventually cut. Yet there are still Boise residents that believe every team's scouting department, front office and coaching staff is wrong. Interesting.
In my lifetime (30 years), the Lions have had ten different head coaches. I can say with all certainty that as far back as I can remember, there isn't one that Lions fans felt shouldn't be fired. I can remember my step dad complaining about Bobby Ross or Marty Mornhinweg on a regular basis. It's just a normal topic in Detroit. Turn on sports radio anytime during the season and somebody is talking about who needs to be fired. Even during winning seasons. It's a like a mother who doesn't believe anyone is good enough for her son.
Jim Caldwell is the newest recipient of this. It doesn't look like it will be ending any time soon. Even if it did, what are the chances of everyone liking the new coach? Not so good.
You have probably seen me bring this up before. It's because I think this is the dumbest thing anyone could do in the whole wide world of sports. What do you think will happen when you burn a jersey? A genie will appear and grant you three Lions themed wishes? If that's what you think then by all means, burn away.
But in reality all you're doing is wasting money and looking like an idiot. As of this moment, a Matthew Stafford jersey goes for $109 on NFL.com. What you're showing me is that you got on your computer and spent about 15 minutes ordering a jersey. You then waited two weeks to receive that jersey. You then proceeded to set it on fire after the first loss upon receiving it. What about that seems logical? You just wasted $109 and two weeks so everyone could make fun of you online and in public. Just don't buy the jersey.
So there you have it Lions fans. I'll say it one more time, it's all in good fun. The fact that so many of us do these things is what makes us so great. Lions fans are without a doubt the most loyal and interesting fans in all of sports. Please stay that way. In the meantime, what should have been on this list? What shouldn't have? Be sure to leave your comments below or come chat with me on Twitter @POD_Payton.