A little bit of self-deprecation is healthy. It keeps us humble, grounded and self-aware. And as Detroit Lions fans, self-deprecation should be our second language. How could we survive a half-century of a losing franchise if we can’t poke a little fun at ourselves?
So while Drew Magary’s “Why Your Team Sucks” series isn’t exactly self-deprecation—he’s a long-suffering Vikings fan—there is something cleansing about absorbing the criticism. Call it thickening of the skin or call it masochism, but it feels good to read the things we’ve all felt about this franchise at some point or another. Some of us choose to continually say it every week, some of us stuff it deep down into our subconscious, but it’s always there.
Magary’s series reached the Detroit Lions on Wednesday, and he holds nothing back. First he channels the self-loathing in us, summoning the 10-second runoff debacle against the Falcons and concludes this team is doomed to lose “at least four games because of the Helmet Rule.”
But once Magary appeals to our self pity, he starts throwing haymakers. Matt Patricia’s sexual assault allegations, the city of Detroit, the Michigan accent (which doesn’t exist, screw you, Magary): Nothing is safe from Magary’s crosshairs.
Of course, a staple of the “Why Your Team Sucks” series is the fan comments that round out the final half of the article. It’s always entertaining to listen to Lions fans tell their stories of torment and strife. Some claim they’ve quit the team for good (yeah, sure), others admit the punishment has given them a sense of peace knowing nothing can hurt them anymore.
But the comment that hit me the most was this heartbreaking story about a fan who was there the last time the Lions won a playoff game:
In 1990 my family agreed to raise a Yellow Lab through the first year of his life so he could then be trained as a seeing eye dog. His name was Zeke, he was awesome and I was 7 years old.
We knew we would have to return him eventually— which sucked, but is what we signed up for. The day that we were to return him was January 5th, 1992. My mom wanted to soften the blow of losing our dog, so she got up early and went to JC Penney to buy Lions playoff tickets when they went on sale.
We drove to Rochester and gave Zeke back to the people who would train him and get him to a blind person. It was gut wrenching even though we expected it… to just hand the dog you raised over to someone and drive away. That’s what we did and I cried and sobbed.
Then we went to the Lions-Cowboys playoff game and it was glorious. Barry and the bunch stomped the Cowboys 38-6 and it felt great.
Over the years I have come to the realization that if you want the Lions to do something good you have to sacrifice your best friend in the name of the Fords and the Football Gawds. Anything less and they will just Lions the shit out of you.
Sometimes being a Lions fan sucks. It’s okay to admit it.