Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The MSM does the math: The Lions continue to lose + I'm still a fan = The losing is all my fault

I watched the Detroit Lions - Chicago Bears game on Christmas Eve, for several reasons. I was curious to see how successful the fan walkout would be, and if the NFL's mouthpiece, FOX, would mention anything about the fan backlash here in Detroit. The GF was preparing for later in the day, when we would be heading to her parents for dinner, and I needed to stay out of her way. I had a third place game in the blogger league against Twins15, the man in charge of "Thank You Brian Sabean," and "Complete Sports," and I had both Roy Williams and Mike Furrey in my starting lineup.

But what was the main reason for me to watch a meaningless game? Despite the Lions current state of suckitude, I'm still a fan. Through very little thick and way too much thin, I'm a fan of the worst run franchise in sports.

That's the great thing about fandom of any kind, that there isn't much logic to it. The Lions have, for lack of a better term, shit all over us for decades. For most of my life, the Lions have done nothing but heap disappointment upon disappointment. Yet I remain a fan of the Honolulu blue and silver. I'm not going to be "Lions free," as some sports rant radio hosts encourage.

That doesn't mean that I'm happy with how the Lions have been, and currently are being, run. In fact, like most of you, I'm furious! I'm vocal in my frustrations. That's why Terry Foster's Detroit News blog post after Sunday's game made me absolutely incensed.

Foster says that the Lions current state of awfulness is the fault of the Lions fanbase. He claims that we, the fans, won't make the sacrifices needed that would encourage William Clay Ford to make a change.

The sad thing is more bad days are coming and you will be partly to blame because you are not willing to sacrifice. Fans won't give up their season tickets. They won't give up a Sunday afternoon and they won't even leave a meaningless game early to send a message to the Lions and Ford family.

What a load of bullshit. Total and utter bullshit.

First off, reports from people who were there, and judging from the FOX camera shots, Ford Field was full of Bears fans. Those were seats that, for the most part, were bought from Lions fans who decided they had better things to do. My Lions season ticket holding brother in law, who drops a good sized wad of cash for 4 seats, was one.

He attended all of 2 games this season. The rest of his tickets, he sold off. He is not at all happy with the Lions current direction. So he doesn't go to many games. But in Foster's mind, he's an enabler, he's a fault. Weird logic, if you ask me.

Here's a line from Foster that really bothers me.

The fans anger hit a boil when rumors began to circulate that the Lions plan on bringing Millen back.

"Hit a boil?" The anger has long boiled over, and has since boiled away. Where was Foster 12 months ago? Last season's protests, the "Millen Man March" and the "Orange-out," were the high point of fan frustration. The walkout protest, while a worthwhile endeavor and generating national attention, was flawed from the start.

Between the stadium being full of Bears faithful, the difficultly in having fans who paid their hard earned dollars for tickets to just up and leave, and the general lethargy of much of the Lions fanbase who think that nothing they do will make a difference to the Fords, led to a walkout that the media said didn't live up to the (media generated) hype.

Reports varied in the size of the protest, from 100 to 500. Thus, Foster says the walkout "Failed."

Foster's throwaway comments was more knee-jerk media bullshit. So thousands didn't up and walk out. That's not the point. The walkout generated tons of local and national MSM attention, made the AP wire before and after the game, and was a topic of conversation for weeks. To me, that's a resounding success for a grass roots, internet based, loosely organized, protest.

Foster goes on to say the following...

You are all talk and no action. So you get what you deserve. When the Lions are struggling through more 5 and six-win seasons you are partly to blame. You keep waiting for the Calvary to come in and save the day. Folks I got news for you. They ain't coming. You will have a losing season next year too. The Lions are going to break this thing up again before they become a playoff contender.

So to say I deserve this, that I'm to blame for the ills of the Lions? That pisses me off to no end.

First off, only the most blindly faithful and deluded would believe that the Lions are close to having a winning record. Second, to call out Lions fans by calling us "All talk and no action" is totally unfair.

Just read the blogs and message boards, listen to the radio. No one is supporting the Lions and Millen at this point. No one. Take away the Bears fans, and you have a half empty stadium. Factor in the protests of the past 2 seasons, and I think that is a fairly proactive fanbase, one that is more than "Just talk."

I think what raised my ire the most in Foster's post was that it was coming from someone who doesn't have to pay his way into a game. Games that we fans pay a high price, figuratively and literally, to attend. Foster chides us for being fans, the same fans that allow him to make a very good living writing and talking about something we obviously care about dearly.

Foster is clearly ripping us for caring about the Lions. Yet he'll spent 4 hours a day, 6 days a week, whipping us into a frenzy, talking about those same Lions on WXYT. Seems to me that is someone who is talking out of both sides of his mouth.

Thing is, I can't just shut off my Lions fandom. I'm sorry, but it doesn't work that way. Just as I couldn't stop being a Tigers fan despite their 2 decades of mediocrity, or stop rooting for the Wings during the "Dead Things" era.

Like any true Pistons fan, I despised Micheal Jordan, his caddy Pippen, and the Chicago Bulls, while the Pistons were having some lean years. Root for Jordan? After he rudely dissed the Bad Boys Pistons? Never.

I grew up during the Pittsburgh Steelers dynasty, and the years where the Dallas Cowboys were considered "America's Team." But I wasn't ever a bandwagon fan, cheering for the "It" team of the moment. I remained, steadfastly, for rarely better and often worse, a fan of the Lions. I'm not, nor will I ever be, "Lions free."

Bandwagon fans, those that can switch allegiances at will, are in my mind, the lowest of the low.

So when it comes to the Lions, I'm pissed at what's happened to them. But to rip me for remaining a fan, for continuing to watch a team I've rooted for since childhood? That's just thoughtless bullshit from someone who just doesn't get it.


  1. OUTSTANDING POST, Big Al!!! And you thought I only read posts that involved the Tigers......although they were mentioned...hmmmmm

  2. Excellent post Big Al. I couldn't agree more.