This is our fifth year doing “Song of the Game” here at Pride of Detroit, and as part of the rotation between myself, Chris, Ryan and Alex, I’ve never had the chance to choose the finale of the playlist. (To be clear: I’ve never requested to, either). I’ve never had the option to pick one song that puts a nice cap on the season and sets up the new year with a message about the franchise.
But seeing as this will be my last submission to the 2020 playlist and I sat here a week ago saying I was not going to take these last four weeks of Matthew Stafford for granted—and it now appears we may not even get that much—I’m shooting my shot early at risk of ruining the flow of this year’s playlist.
Detroit Lions Week 14 Song of the Game: “We’ll meet again” by Vera Lynn
The song “We’ll Meet Again” was appropriated by military in 1940, using the song as a mournful-yet-hopeful message that servicemen would eventually reunite with their loved ones. It was not a matter of if, but when.
Since then, the song has been used effectively and ironically in pop culture. Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove popularized it again in the 60s, closing out his movie, which had ended in a nuclear hellstorm with the the song. Vera Lynn’s powerful vocals also closed out an episode of “Stranger Things,” as they revealed a horde of awaiting zombies in a basement. The song has been covered by Johnny Cash and Frank Sinatra.
But I was introduced to the song almost exactly six years ago: December 18, 2014. It was the last episode of “The Colbert Report,” and instead of ending the show with some biting snarkiness or a parting shot at the ugliness of partisan politics, Stephen Colbert simply dedicated the final four minutes of his show to an ensemble version of the delightful song with various celebrities and politicians. It was a beautiful send off despite the ugly divisiveness in the world around us.
The world is crumbling around the Detroit Lions. The foundation is being ripped apart, and it’s impossible to know who will survive. Will interim head coach Darrell Bevell make his case to stick around? What about special teams coordinator Brayden Coombs? Or any of the handful of positional coaches that don’t deserve to be lumped in with the team’s overall failures.
Of course, at the front and center of all of this is Matthew Stafford. His day ended as his entire Lions career has gone. He was beat up, he had just kicked ass for the better of 60 minutes, and Detroit sill had absolutely nothing to show for it as the Green Bay Packers left Ford Field with yet another NFC North title.
His complicated legacy, to some, will just be another footnote in the Lions’ endless history of failure. For others, he’ll be another Lions legend that never got the respect or accolades he deserved.
We’ll meet again
Don’t know where
Don’t know when
But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day
Matthew Stafford may be the Lions starting quarterback in 2021. He may not be. Hell, given Matthew Stafford’s history, he may be the starting quarterback this week. The man has been endlessly loyal to this franchise despite being given just about every reason not to be. He’s fought through broken bones, dislocated shoulders and fingers, and bleeding limbs all to play a game he loves, even with the stakes incredibly low for most of his career. He’s never complained. He’s never disrespected his teammates or coaches. He’s essentially given everything for this franchise and even more to the community.
So whether it’s on Sunday, in 2021, or when the Lions eventually induct you into their Ring of Honor, Stafford, we’ll meet again some sunny day.