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Lions Festivus 2021: The Feats of Strength

No pinning required.

We are in the midst of the the proud and honored tradition of Festivus. We have just held the Airing of Grievances, scourging one another with words necessary to the season. That was the mental battle; now in Festivus tradition comes the test of physicality.

The Feats of Strength has not been held previously during Lions Festivus. We discussed matters and decided it would not be appropriate (or at least, feasible) to try to pin one another, and nobody really cares to challenge Jeremy to a Fortnite deathmatch—because that game is for children. [Editor’s note: 1v1 me, you cowards]

Instead, we settled upon our own version of the feats: we each have selected a moment from the past year of Detroit Lions happenings. It can be an exemplary play, or the actions or attitude of a given player. We are asking our writers to define their feat, and explain.


Morgan Cannon: For me, it has to be when Penei Sewell stood toe-to-toe with debatably the baddest human in the NFL: Aaron Donald. Most veteran players would wilt with Donald in their face, let alone a 21-year-old rookie. But as we have found out, Sewell is not most people. In fact, probably sooner rather than later, he too will develop a reputation as a player you don’t mess with.

Mike Payton: The biggest feat of strength for the Lions is that Dan Campbell turned out to be a pretty normal guy and a good leader of men. It’s been a while since you could say that in Detroit. Matt Patricia really wanted to be the type of hard-nosed coach that has a Disney movie made about him 20 years from now and all he wound up being was they type of coach that gets a Secret Base video made about how he dismantled the Lions in three years. Jim Schwartz almost killed Jim Harbaugh that one time, Rod Marinelli still doesn’t know why he was offered the job, Marty Mornhinweg left to follow Bob Seger on tour because he loved “Against The Wind” and Steve Mariucci was just a bad coach. I don’t have a joke there. It’s just nice to see that Dan Campbell isn’t a total nutbar.

Jeremy Reisman: Well, since Morgan stole mine (it’s fine, he’s the new guy, he’ll learn), I’ll have to go with the Lions’ second-most physical player this year: Tracy Walker. Walker has been laying the boom just about every week that he’s played. Even though it hurts watching Quandre Diggs continue to succeed in Seattle, Walker has helped soothe the transition with plays like this:

But Walker’s biggest feat of strength was the hit he laid on Bengals rookie receiver Ja’Marr Chase in a “welcome to the NFL” moment. Sure, he got flagged for a taunting penalty for flexing over him, but rebelling against the Horrible Taunting Rule of 2021 only makes this a bigger feat of strength. Fight the power.

Andrew Kato: While he’s not the largest fellow, D’Andre Swift packs a punch when he wants to. Staying on theme like the other guys with the “big hits,” I’m going to bring everyone back to the truck stick moment Swift that was named an Angry Run of the Week, featuring Bashaud Breeland of the Minnesota Vikings in Week 5 (full clip on YouTube that can’t be embedded here, thanks to the No Fun League).

Erik Schlitt: Nothing says strength to me more than having the cojones to pull off a not one, not two, but three successful trick plays in one game. For years, I have been begging for an aggressive coach that understands sometimes you have to pull a rabbit or three out of your hat in order to stay competitive. Yes, we have seen aggressive Dan Campbell subdued at times, taking on offensive play-calling duties seemed to castrate his creativity for a few weeks there, but he’s been back of late, and I’m here for it.

Ryan Mathews: Aaron Glenn. That’s it. He’s the feat of strength. For a guy who lost two of his most impact players in Jeff Okudah and Romeo Okwara so early into this season, the defense has solved a lot more problems than I thought they would have while in-season. Before Jerry Jacobs’ injury, he looked like a bonafide contributor in the NFL, not a guy on the outside looking in on the 53-man roster like he was in August. After the injury to Romeo Okwara, it was former first-round pick Charles Harris who has stepped up in his place, leading the team in pressures and sacks after signing a one-year deal barely worth more than the vet minimum. And Aaron Glenn is the man behind it all.

Chris Perfett: The Dan Campbell coffee order is a feat of strength worthy of the Festivus spirit, a challenge to quaff without crapping yourself to death. We were introduced to this harrowing Kilimanjaro back during the preseason, when we found out our beautiful muscle-stud coach has a Starbucks order of two Ventis of Pike Place roast, each with two shots of espresso (known on the secret menu as “Black Eye”). As someone who works regular overnight shifts, I am a connoisseur of caffeine consumption habits. I’ve done terrible things in my quest to stay alert. DC does not have to stay up and work overnights. I say this with all my experience: what he drinks is lunacy. It is the equivalent of nearly 10 cans of Red Bull. He greets the dawn like this. One guy tried it and failed.

In the spirit of the season, Festivus is not over until someone finishes Dan’s damn coffee.