The Anxiety of Being Popular

As a Lions fan, this is very much unfamiliar territory. It's supposed to be Detroit vs. Everybody (TM). National media aren't supposed to like us, they're supposed to shit on us and we develop a collective inferiority complex. It's the tried and true method that has been our standard of fandom living for the past 22 years, and to a lesser extent dating back to the 1960s.

I will take a moment to point out that we had a period of relative (and temporary) success, interspersed with mediocrity, throughout the 1990s, and it was really the Millen era that broke this franchise's back. The SOL bullshit really wasn't a thing before then, or at least not like it is now. Moving on...

We're also trained to mistrust good press, good news, and anything else "good" that comes our way. Oh, the Lions got a sweet FA signing? He'll probably suck or get injured. We landed the steal of the draft? No matter, the team will still fail. We as fans know that we had a top 3 RB all time and only ever won 1 playoff game with him, AND we had a top 5 all-time WR and never got out of the WC round. So what difference will a couple of good picks make? This is the essence of SOL-ness, and it permeates our fandom regardless of whether we accept or reject the SOL mentality.

I hate the SOL mentality, yet I can't help but feel my sphincter tighten every time I feel hope for this franchise. When people like Rich Eisen, Kyle Brandt, Louis Riddick, Mina Kimes, etc. start monologuing on how awesome the Lions are going to be, I feel some joy, but also trepidation. Some of my joy is stolen by that nagging doubt in the back of my mind. I've been optimistic about this team before and they've let me down EVERY time. This time feels different, but then that nagging thought, the itch I can't scratch, comes back and says, you've said 'this feels different' about this team before too, homie.

So I can talk myself into it all I want, present the facts why and how and wherefore this time shall be different, laying it out point-by-point:

  1. Sheila is clearly different from her dad and actually building this in a smart way
  2. Brad Holmes isn't just the best GM the Lions have had, he's a top 5 GM in the NFL right now
  3. Dan Campbell is actually changing the culture
  4. Our OC and our DC are among the best in the game, and that's never happened at the same time
  5. We built through the trenches successfully for the first time ever
  6. Goff is probably the 3rd best QB the franchise has ever had
  7. This is all happening at a time when our NFC North competition has never been weaker
...and it doesn't matter. All the points are there, but we still haven't been to a Super Bowl. We still haven't won a playoff game since January 5th, 1992, and we still haven't won our division since the 1993 season. It sucks that I can't just enjoy this, but the simple fact of the matter is I just can't trust my hope in this team. It's the hope that kills you. Like I said, I can't scratch that itch. Only the Lions stacking up successes into a 'ship run will do that.

I will apologize for writing a Monarrez/Drew Sharpe style "turd in the punchbowl" article, but it's the sad reality. Enjoy the anticipation of success as much as you can, recognize that you can trust it AND that your mistrust is not your fault, and get ready to see it fulfilled. Nobody loses forever. That's really where my hope is.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Pride Of Detroit or its writers.