The Detroit Lions were a trendy pick for national media pundits this year as a team that could surprisingly win 10-plus football teams and perhaps even steal a divisional crown from the three more skilled and accomplished squads in the division. This will inevitably prove to be a massive mistake. As always.
For about 45 minutes of gameplay, the fatally doomed and hapless franchise looked halfway competent, building a 23-6 lead over Mitch Trubisky -- the Lions of the quarterbacking world -- and the Chicago Bears. Like a down-on-his-luck prospector desperately looking through bleary eyes to find glimpses of gold in his pan, people wanted to see something bright. If only for a fleeting moment. But it was, as it always is, sulfur-boiled pyrite.
Twenty-one straight points from the Midway's Monsters and an egregious last-second boner by D'Andre Swift later, and the Lions are shameful owners of the season's worst loss that will likely remain the season's worst loss. Rinse. Repeat. No matter how hard one scrubs, the Honolulu-blue shame never comes off.
The Good Book suggests there is nothing new under the sun. Detroit has been reading from the Bad Book for six decades. Their fans are not in purgatory. They are in hell. It's painfully obvious to anyone with burned retinas and charred skin. And the hard truth is this: anyone still investing time, energy, and passion into this team has no one to blame but themselves.
I've been writing Lions updates on the internet for almost 14 years now. A person can only say the same thing so many times before they go insane. That's the definition of insanity, right? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results? Sounds a lot like what fans in Michigan have been doing on fall -- but not winter -- Sundays since the Eisenhower administration.
What's new is the growing sentiment from those same national voices claiming these fans deserve better, an idea so preposterous that it hurts.
Detroit Lions fans, as much as they remain human with most their cells dead already, absolutely do not deserve better. This nightmare is exactly what they deserve. As far as karma goes, this may be the most in-balance equilibrium that exists in the cosmos. They are getting exactly what they somehow sign up for, week after week, year after year.
They don't deserve your pity. They're sick. Or we're sick. I'll say we're sick as I continue to hope against hope that there's a payoff to all this misery. At this point a goddamn playoff win would be a Super Bowl. I long ago made my peace with this team and went forward with a perspective that's kept me from a psych ward.
Those who haven't and continue to approach their fandom as anything other than an abusive relationship need to snap out of it. This is a sickness. A perverse fetish. An unholy endeavor.
Rooting for the Lions is analogous to rooting for your neighbor to come over and smash your groin with a sledgehammer. It's rooting for the other neighbor's dog to continue to defecate in your yard. It's rooting for the flames as they engulf your home. It's demented.
Deep down those who do it ... know the folly. They know this. But denial is a hell of a drug. So too is addiction. Any gambler who has chased a late Hawaii game at midnight or loaded up on the Sunday Night Football over in the hopes of keeping both kneecaps intact knows the power of believing that the 456th try will be different than the previous 455. They also understand the familiar, almost comforting self-loathing that Monday can bring.
Perhaps that's the reason Lions fans keep at it. Perhaps it's routine more than sadomasochism that drives viewership. Perhaps a reality without the Sunday scaries is scarier than the unknown of not having it.
That would explain yesterday. Because when a person sits down and considers the tremendous use of vital resources and immense effort that went into playing in an empty stadium, choking away a substantial late lead, and watching the 29th running back selected over the past five years drop a throw your 9-year-old nephew would have no problem handling, the whole endeavor seems beyond defensible.
Lions fans are not lovable losers. We're loathable losers. Laughable losers. Intentional losers. Sucks that enjoy being suckers. Willing cuckholds. An army of Pagliaccis, sad and broken clowns desperate for the next pie in the face.
Don't let anyone sugarcoat this reality. Or normalize it. Instead speak clearly and concisely. This is a cult without the fun part of the cults, just the Kool-Aid drinking and regret.