Saturday, October 06, 2007

What the 2007 Lions can do to convince me that this version is any different from the previous 49 Lion teams

The Lions complain, much as the late, great Rodney Dangerfield did, that they don't get any respect. They say that this team is different, and our faith in them shouldn't be clouded by the lackluster results of previous Lions teams. Unfortunately for them, they have those previous 50 years of suck that prevent most realistic fans and media from doling out that respect.

So what do the Detroit Lions need to do to make this fan think differently?

1. Win in Washington D.C. - The Lions have never won in DC. Let me repeat that for emphasis, the Detroit Lions have never won a game in Washington D.C. They've lost in championship games, in the regular season, late in games, by blowouts, in thrillers, in snoozers. If there is any way you can lose a game, the Lions have found that way against the Redskins. They are 0 for 20 since the 1930's. You can't ignore 70+ years of losing.

Win Sunday, and the Lions may find themselves with plenty of respect, from both the media and fans, come Monday. Lose, and the Lions can expect to hear, "Same old Lions, can't win in D.C. I can't believe I let myself get sucked in...Again."

2. Beat a legitimately good team - We can all agree that neither the Raiders or Vikings are the cream of the NFL crop, more like the bottom of the NFL barrel. The Bears may be the defending NFC champs, but in 2007, they are a team in turmoil that's getting awful play from their QB's. They are far from good, at least so far this season. I'm still trying to figure out if the Eagles are any good. Their 1-3 record says they aren't, but they are the only team the Lions have faced that has a good QB. Donovan McNabb picked the Lions defense apart, completing passes at will.

Washington has played 3 teams, beating 2 with a losing record (The Fish and Eagles) and losing to one at .500 (Giants), so they haven't faced any juggernauts either. But they did beat the Philly team that destroyed Detroit, and have a winning record to boot. Even if the Lions beat the 'Skins, I doubt I'll think that they are a good team. Washington's an average team, at best, and that's all you need to be to compete for a NFC playoff berth.

In fact, the Lions may not play a legitimately "Good" team till November. That's the advantage of playing in the watered down NFC, good teams are few and far between. You don't have to beat good teams to make a playoff run, just a bunch of mediocre ones. The Lions need to take advantage of that fact.

Maybe I should change number 2 to read, "Beat a team with a winning record." Winning in DC would cover the 1st two requirements.

3. No more debacles - This is important. As much as I'd love to believe in the Lions, I can't get that 56-21 loss to the Eagles out of my head. In a league that has few great teams, and just as few horrible ones, with the vast majority being somewhere in the humdrum middle, to lose in such blowout fashion, giving up a month's worth of TD's in the process, really takes some doing. Yet the Lions somehow managed to lose in such a fashion.

If the Lions want to be taken seriously, they need to avoid disaster, and at the very least, remain competitive in their losses. And there will be more losses. But it's one thing to lose 24-17, and still be in the game in the 4th quarter, and another altogether to be out of the game before halftime, as they were against the Eagles.

I know it's not asking for much, but the Lions would go a long way in recovering the faith of their fanbase by not embarrassing themselves. I can accept a loss. I can't accept outright embarrassment.

4. Win - The NFC blows. Blows from top to bottom. Going into week 5, there's only 6 NFC teams with a winning record, and the Lions are one of them. Actually, they are tied for the 3rd best record in the NFC. Stunning, I know. Yet, it's true.

If the Lions can win only 5 more games, they'll be in the post season hunt till the end of the season, and a playoff spot is likely at 8-8. God forbid they win 9 games, as the playoffs are a shoe-in at 9-7.

After 4 weeks, they are a 1/3 of the way to that playoff shoe-in 9-7 record. Considering how bad the NFC is, and looking at the remaining 12 games on the schedule, they could easily get 6 wins. Go .500 the rest of the way, and we'll see post season football for the 1st time in the 21st century.

Thing is, we aren't talking about your run of the mill NFL franchise. We are talking about the Detroit Lions, and nothing is ever easy, or a shoe-in. I should be thrilled with the Lions winning record, but history tells me that their 3-1 record is a mirage. Want to convince me otherwise? Just keep winning...

5. Stop asking for "Respect" - If you have to continually ask for it, you'll never get it. Period. Talk is cheap, as previous Lions teams have confirmed. Respect is earned, and the Lions have a long way to go to earn mine.

1 comment:

  1. "Unfortunately for them, they have those previous 50 years of suck that prevent most realistic fans and media from doling out that respect."

    WHATS THE AVERAGE AGE OF THE LIONS TEAM, 70 YEARS OLD? GEEEZZ. It´s the same team, but not the same players, not the same coaching staff.