The Team: Detroit Lions.
Quick Recap: Because I have the misfortune of living in the Detroit area and thus watch Lions games, I was asked to write the season preview for them.
You can sum it all up by saying: this is the team that went 0-16 3 years ago. That’s right, ZERO and sixteen. They’re the only non-expansion team to not win a game in NFL history. Which also makes them the most successful failure of all time, so they have that going for them.
Now the “experts” who inexplicably make hundreds of thousands to make predictions that rarely ever come true unless they’re blindingly obvious will pick the Lions as their “sleeper” team to go 13-3 or 12-4 or something like that and win their division and get to the playoffs. This is because the “experts” like to sound smart by throwing around words like “parity” and pretend to know things you don’t. In a league where most every team is equally mediocre, the Lions have to have a shot, right? Right?
No, because this is still the team that went 0-16 three years ago. Parity can’t level the playing field that much. Let’s be more realistic and predict 7-9 at best.
But if there is cause for hope it’s because last year they closed the season by winning 4 straight games. That was their longest winning streak since Clinton was soiling Lewinsky’s dresses in the Oval Office, people were hailing James Cameron as a genius for “Titanic,” and we all talked ourselves into not thinking that McGwire and Sosa were doping. (I have no actual idea when was the last time the Lions won 4 in a row but it feels like that long ago, so I’m going with it.)
The most notable thing about that 4 game winning streak is that they won with a combination of something called Shaun Hill and Drew Stanton at quarterback. No one except Shaun Hill’s mom would recognize him and Drew Stanton was so far down the bench people at games thought he was a tailgating fan wearing a customized jersey.
That brings me to the biggest reason why the Lions have won 1 playoff game since 1957. Since their 1 playoff win in 1991, they’ve started this group of Hall of Famers at quarterback:
• Erik Kramer
• Rodney Peete
• Andre Ware
• Scott Mitchell
• Dave Krieg
• Don Majkowski
• Frank Reich
• Harry Woodyard
• Charlie Batch
• Gus Frerotte
• Mike Tomczak
• Tim Cooper
• Mike McMahon
• Joey Harrington
• Ty Detmer
• Jeff Garcia
• Jon Kitna
• Frank Hemsky
• Daunte Culpepper
• JT O’Sullivan
• Dan Orlovsky
• Drew Stanton
• Henry Barton
• Matthew Stafford
• Shaun Hill
Just for fun I inserted the names of four fictional characters in there. Can you pick them out from the names of actual Lions quarterbacks? (Answers at the end of the article!)
The only list more pathetic is to go through the starters for the Cleveland Browns 2.0. It’s especially sad when you think since 1992 the Packers have had what, 3 starters? Four? (Favre, Rodgers, and then did Flynn start one and maybe one other guy?) Since 1998 the Colts have had 1 starter and since 2002 the Patriots have had 2 starters. And they have six Super Bowls between them since 1996.
This year the Lions are turning the ball back over to Stafford, who’s been in and out of the hospital so much he’s probably eligible for a free vasectomy by now. What this really means is that whoever is the “backup” is going to get eight to ten starts, until he gets hurt and then it’s the backup’s backup followed by the backup’s backup’s backup until it becomes an old Three Stooges sketch.
Now the “experts” will point to their defense and say that’s where they’re going to win because “defense wins championships” right? (Also, videotaping the other team’s practices.) The “experts” will point to the defensive line with Rookie of the Year N-whatever Suh and this Fairley guy they drafted in the first round. Except thanks to the lockout Fairley’s probably been sitting around since April eating Twinkies.
After that killer defensive line, what is there? Short answer: nothing. I could go find player names, but that would be a waste of time because you won’t have heard of any of them. If I inserted my mom’s name in that list would you even notice? Heck, if my mom said she was suiting up at linebacker I wouldn’t be a bit surprised because their lineup is that weak. They apparently cut Julian Peterson, who was the only linebacker I remember. For all I know they could be starting Rudy at inside linebacker.
Not to get too deep into football analysis here, but if you want to beat this team, I’d say just screen pass every single play. Dump it off to a running back or fullback before the defensive line can get you because with the troupe of no-names behind that line, you can probably run all day on them.
Perhaps the most serious problem plaguing the Lions is that they still don’t have a cheerleading squad. Come on, Fox Sports Net is using bimbos to advertise Tigers games and you can’t hire a few girls to wear skimpy outfits and jump around with pom-poms? It’s not like it’d even cost much; just go down 8 Mile and pick up a few strippers.
[NOTE: Rogue may want to re-think that advice. Here's the #1 result on an image search for "Detroit Strippers."
Frankly, I'd rather see Drew Stanton in a thong. And I don't even know who he is.]
Also, the Lions have the worst fight song perhaps in football history. I’m not sure there’s a clip of it—I hope not. Hearing it certainly wouldn’t make me want to score a touchdown.
[NOTE: Here is the song:
And Rogue's right.]
Which Romantic Comedy Character Will the Lions most resemble this year?
Now then, I’m supposed to compare them to a romantic movie character. I haven’t really watched any ‘80s John Hughes other than “Ferris Bueller” and “Breakfast Club,” so let’s go outside the box a little with my favorite comedy about Star Trek geeks: 1998’s “Free Enterprise.”
In the movie is a character named Schweiger, who’s a nerd working as a low-budget film editor. He laments in the movie that he’s paid $2,000 to Great Encounters to find a woman and still hasn’t got to first base yet.
That pretty much sums up the Lions for the last 20 years. They’ve paid millions (maybe even a billion by now) in free agents and draft picks and haven’t gotten to second base. By the end of the movie Schweiger still hasn’t got any action, and I don’t think the Lions will be getting any this year either.
So now you’re Lions Ready, which is their slogan. Like most things concerning the Lions it makes no sense.
*The fictional Lions quarterbacks on my list: Harry Woodyard, Tim Cooper, Frank Hemsky, and Henry Barton.______________________________________________________________
I have nothing to add to that. It was brilliant. Read more of Rogue's work by picking up his books on Amazon. Start with Where You Belong:
Frost Devereaux's odyssey of self-discovery spans three decades and takes him to every corner of America. Guiding him along his journey are the twin loves of his life: Frankie & Frank Maguire. Through his tempestuous relationships with them, he learns who he is and where he belongs.
Rated an average of 4 1/2 stars on Amazon, you'll love this book.
Previously on (Mostly Hypothetical) Previews:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
San Francisco 49ers
Got a team you want to preview? Got a book or movie or other thing you want to hype? I love guest-posters, and I'll print your post if it's good and give you free hype. Email me and include NC! in the subject line.