Who cares about pronunciation: GIFs are awesome
In the 2016 end of year PODcast following the Lions’ playoff game in Seattle, fearless leader Jeremy Reisman hinted that we had a new tournament in mind for this offseason. Over the course of the excellent 2016 season for the Detroit Lions, there were many tremendous GIF-able moments, and this new tournament lets our readers vote on which ones were the best of the year.
As predicted by Ryan “Motherf**king Rock God” Mathews, the field is dominated by Golden Tate (4 GIFs) and Matthew Stafford (5 GIFs), but there is a strong showing by lovable Papa Jim (3 GIFs). Also, Jeremy said I can seed the tournament however I want, so if you have a beef with the seeding—tough.
The format of the tournament will be a standard 16 team single-elimination tournament. Unlike the annual Name Bracket Tournament, we will not be revealing the full 16 GIF field up front. Instead, as polls go up in the first round, each graphic will be introduced with a short description and context for all of us to remember and relive the moment.
GIFs not primarily depicting actual Lions players or staff like Ryan Mathews showing off his #WeOwnTheBears sign (included here) or my Slaytumbo finger wag mashup were not eligible.
And now, ON WITH THE GIFs!
#6 Are you not entertained? vs. #11 What are we doing?
Starting in the middle of the tournament field, we have 2017 Pro Bowl kicker Matt Prater at the end of the home win against the Minnesota Vikings on Thanksgiving Day. Late in the fourth quarter, with the game tied 13-13, Darius Slay intercepted Sam Bradford to set up the stone cold killa from 40 yards out. Here’s Dan Miller with the call on the Lions Radio Network:
As the ball sailed through the uprights for a 16-13 victory, Prater spread his arms wide in a confident pose now familiar to Lions fans:
Cue the “Africa”!
The challenger in this first round match-up is a reaction GIF from head coach Jim Caldwell during the kickoff week road win against the Indianapolis Colts. Following a big completion to Theo Riddick on an F Post just short of the goal line, Stafford and the offense ran to the line to call the next play. Instead of taking advantage of the personnel mismatch on the field, head referee Ed Hochuli signaled for the umpire to step in and prevent the Lions from snapping the ball.
The Colts would then spend their second timeout to fix their personnel, but both Stafford and Caldwell were upset. When Hochuli walked over to explain why the Lions were being prevented from going with a high tempo offense, Caldwell let loose with his frustration:
#3 Pom Poms vs. #14 Hey stupid, think!
The next match-up features our first appearance of Golden Tate and another Jim Caldwell sideline reaction. During the Week 6 win at home against the
St. Louis Los Angeles Rams, Golden Tate busted out an excellent celebration for his first touchdown of the season. Per Michael Rothstein of ESPN:
“I was running back to the sideline and saw these ladies here that we just hired so why not party with them, you know,” Tate said. “Just having fun, man. That’s all that matters. Obviously execute your assignment and have fun, man.”
The challenger image comes to us from the second preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals. In spite of an outstanding preseason which flowed into a breakout year on the defensive front, converted defensive tackle Kerry Hyder was called for a roughing the passer penalty. Here is Rothstein at ESPN again, on the penalty and subsequent fine levied by the league on Hyder:
Hyder was fined $18,231 for roughing Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron in the third quarter of the Bengals' 30-14 win over the Lions on Aug. 18, according to a source close to the situation.
That will likely end up being more than Hyder will make during training camp.
Aside from the financial cost to Hyder, the penalty kept a drive alive for the Bengals. At the time, Hyder was still fighting for a roster spot, and Papa Jim let him have it:
#7 Stafford trucks Perrish Cox vs. #10 Papa Jim reacts to 58-yard game tying FG
This season, the Detroit Lions fanbase got a nice taste of quarterback Matthew Stafford’s unexpected ability to run the ball. He scrambled for numerous long gains in 2016, including a hard trucking 7-yard go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bears in Week 14.
But that was not the first time we were treated to power rushing by “Wheels,” who absolutely destroyed Tennessee Titans defensive back Perrish Cox in the Week 2 loss at home. Although the outcome of the game was not favorable (and the endless penalty flags made it tough to watch), the broadcast produced one heck of a GIF:
Its first round opponent is a GIF that demolishes the “Many Faces and Expressions of Jim Caldwell” meme. Whether we are talking about the original Indianapolis Colts version or a Detroit Lions version, you know the gag: Papa Jim giving essentially the same look over and over with captions running the whole range of emotions. The claim that Caldwell is expressionless and does not show enough emotion when dealing with the team comes up from time to time, and is simply not true.
On the road at Minnesota in Week 9, Detroit’s offense had just 23 seconds left in the fourth quarter to drive 35 yards to set up a game-tying field goal
attempt by Matt Prater:
Prater's 58-yarder was the second-longest game-tying field goal in the final minute of the fourth quarter in NFL history, per @NFL.— Pride Of Detroit (@PrideOfDetroit) November 7, 2016
Did we mention Matt Prater is a stone cold killa?
Prater: "I expect to make everything. They send me out there to make kicks, not attempt them."— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) November 6, 2016
Here’s the “emotionless” Papa Jim as Prater drilled the 58-yard kick:
#2 Stafford plays bass guitar vs. #15 A’shawn lifts Zeke off ground
Midway through the second quarter of the Bears game in Week 14 referenced earlier, Matthew Stafford attempted a pass on first-and-20 at the Detroit 30 yard line to Marvin Jones down the right side. Tracy Porter for Chicago initially drew a flag in coverage, but for some reason the penalty was waved off without an explanation. Unable to believe that, once again, a coverage flag hurting his receivers was being picked up, Stafford raised his left hand in disbelief while rubbing at the bottom of his jersey with a gloved throwing right hand.
Jeremy Reisman, always on the lookout for GIF opportunities, put out the call to the POD faithful and John Whitaker came through in the clutch:
As excellent as that GIF is to begin with, this is the 110 percent that a Friend of the PODcast punches out in crunch time:
The final GIF for the initial set of match-ups in the first round features a very big and powerful dude doing big and powerful things. Lions fans may recall a certain All-Pro defensive tackle who used to play for the team being fined for slamming Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton to the turf back in 2011:
"I really feel like I put the refs in a tough situation because of my strength," he said.
But it's not going to stop his relentless pursuit of players with the ball?
"I'm not going to stop playing hard," he said. "I owe it to my fans, my teammates, the coaches. That's one of the reasons why football is football. It's physical contact, aggression that is made exciting."
Against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football in Week 16 at Jerryworld, A’shawn Robinson executed a clean tackle on running back Ezekiel Elliott but drew a flag for unnecessary roughness. The problem? Robinson—like Suh—is so big and strong that a regular tackle just looks violent. The rookie defensive tackle picked up Dallas’ ball-carrier off the ground to stop his forward traction before both crashed to the turf:
The personal foul call left the television broadcast crew nearly as outraged as Lions fans: Robinson was punished for playing hard but legally to the whistle. Our own Jeremy Reisman broke the play down in detail and concurred: legal tackle, and no penalty should have been called.
These four polls are set to close after 11:59 pm Eastern time on Wednesday the 8th of February. The other eight GIFs will be revealed later this week in a post like this. Thanks for voting, and please share your take on these 2016 GIF-able moments in the comments section below!