The life of a Detroit Lions fans seems unnecessarily cruel. Put the officiating controversies and the years of ineptitude aside. Every single moment of joy in Lions fandom is short-lived. You can spot Lions fans in a crowded bar easily. They’re the ones that don’t immediately celebrate a pass breakup, because they know there’s already a flag off-screen hurling towards the turf.
The other shoe, like an Eric Ebron pass attempt, is perpetually getting dropped.
So when the Detroit Lions enjoyed their moment in the sun after a big road victory over the Minnesota Vikings, the natural inclination was to meet it with skepticism. The No. 2 team in the entire NFL? Really?
But despite so much evidence to the contrary, we all eventually fall victim to the hype. We cling to vague signs that “this is different,” whether it’s a new general manager or a franchise-level quarterback. This is finally the year we get rid of those nasty “Same Old Lions” fans, right?
Then Sunday happens.
Lions-Panthers Song of the Game: “Back to Life” by Soul II Soul
Back to life
Back to reality
That opening is going to seem like I’m down on the Lions after their 27-24 loss to the Carolina Panthers, but that’s not exactly true. This week just feels like a comedown from an artificial high. The Lions were never the No. 2 team in the NFL and they likely won’t be again this season. They’ve had flaws all along, but the warm comfort of a win tends to gloss those over.
Detroit is still very much a flawed team, but it’s still frustrating from a fan’s viewpoint. We’re all so desperate to believe after decades upon decades of waiting that at the first sign of success, we bite, fully acknowledging the illogical nature of our actions.
But it’s not like there weren’t legit reasons for there to be belief. The Lions defense, which had allowed a record-breaking 72.7 completion percentage last season, had that number all the way down to 61.4 prior to Sunday’s game. The Lions ranked dead last in defensive DVOA in 2016, but entered the Panthers game at fifth. Something looked different and maybe it actually is.
But Sunday’s game against the Panthers had all the makings of a 2016 Lions game: A porous defense beaten up by a tight end, an inconsistent offense that chose only to wake up in the final minutes of the game, and a team that looked a full step behind one of the better teams in the NFL.
Back to the present time
Back from a fantasy
This Lions team isn’t doomed to repeat all of its former mistakes and I refuse to believe it has plateaued to its highest level under Jim Caldwell. But it’s time for this team to make up its mind. Are they contenders or are they pretenders? As a fan, it would really help ease my weekend stress if you just gave us a clear answer for once.
Let's end this foolish game
Hear me out, don't let it waste away
Make up your mind so I know where I stand
Check out the full Song of the Game Playlist for the 2017 season below:
Note: Week 3’s choice of “Sober” by Tool has been replaced by “Popcorn” by Hot Butter because Tool is not currently available on the platform and “Popcorn” is hilarious.