Up North And Personal - The Lion Swing
By Ken DeLaat
It’s one game into the season and the Lions are killing me already.
They take a big lead, manage to blow it to let the Colts come back and tie, then when they score the go ahead TD the kicker shanks the extra point and as any Lion fan immediately knew they would the Colts came back to score and go ahead by the single chip shot the Lions missed.
OK I thought. I’m done. It’s been too many years of such self induced futility. Of wasted talents like Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson who so infrequently...
...experienced their teams get it together enough to make the post-season and when they did, bowing out before getting even a sniff at the Super Bowl. Dispatched in those rare playoff appearances by teams who have risen from ineptness to reach the promised land of pro football and sometimes win.
Only four teams have never been, three of the most recent expansion teams and the Lions. Yeah, yeah I know, the Browns are an old name but they are indeed an expansion team having lost their original team to the city that lost the Colts to Indianapolis. Both of these transplants have been there as have 26 other teams, none of whom wear the Honolulu Blue and Silver.
I’ve suffered with the Tigers during their ‘rebuilding’ years that lasted longer than most mortgages. Those early years of this century were painful and when you’re rooting for your team to win a couple more to avoid being the losingest team of all time, surpassing the dreadful ’61 Mets, well the perspective can get a little skewed about team loyalty. But no, I hung in there and they’ve since been to the Series twice and have a good shot at the playoffs in most recent years.
Same with the Red Wings (aka Dead Wings) after the bungling and ham-fisted reign of Ned Harkness left the team in shambles with successors not faring much better. The team qualified for the playoffs twice in those 17 years and failed to advance beyond the quarterfinals each time. Since then they have missed the playoffs only once (1990) and have hoisted Lord Stanley’s Cup three times.
Pistons? I was there for them during the 22 years when they won exactly one playoff series and missed the postseason 15 times in a league where you almost have to beg your way out to not qualify. Since then there have again been some lean years but also three NBA titles.
But this Lion thing has just gone on too long and in far too many forms and now I’m watching another year begin where it will ultimately end for anyone who cares in utter and complete disappointment.
“I’ve had enough.” I said to myself as I am prone to do. “I’m done. Finished. Why, for all I care they can…..”
Then it happened.
As the inimitable Mr,. Berra so eloquently put it, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”
With 40 some ticks left on the clock quarterback Matthew Stafford piloted his team down the field and despite a couple of bonehead mistakes by receivers who nearly gave it away there proved to be just enough time to send out Prater, the guy who missed the conversion chip shot that seemingly doomed the team, and he promptly fired in a 43 yarder for the lead followed by a fun filled kickoff return game of keepaway resulting in a safety.
The Lions headed home with a 39-35 win.
On the road.
With no Calvin Johnson.
After losing the lead late in the game.
My conversation with yours truly resumed at that point
“Hmmmm. I wonder where this next Super Bowl is……?”
(Quick check of Google on phone)
“Did you say Houston?
“You know, I got some family down in Houston and if the Lions can can keep this up……..”
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