It's certainly predictable, and actually quite comical. The local hype surrounding the Detroit Lions is back in full bloom.
Let's not forget the Lions have only ever won one playoff game since Super Bowls started 50 years ago, and THAT game was way back when some guy named George Bush Sr. occupied the White House. Two terms of Slick Willy, another two of W, and the Obamameister is winding down HIS second term -- but all the while, the Lions have gone without winning another postseason contest, much less come within sniffing distance of the Super Bowl. It's an incredible record of futility.
But never fear. With another season about to start, the Lions and their ever-gullible fans think this just might be the year. Of course, they are helped along by their equally ever-koolaided homer media that keep peddling the snake oil.
One article said General Manager Martin Mayhew thinks this year's team will be better than last year's. Well, OF COURSE he does. I mean, what is the dude going to say? With the loss of our best two defensive linemen, a brand new offensive line to be sorted out, and a running game that remains very much in flux, his team likely won't perform as well as they did last year? Such a statement is not likely forthcoming from a company man, though it would more closely resemble the truth.
Another worthy home-town journalist said all the experts predicting the Lions to win only 6 to 8 games this year made sure he put quotes around the word "experts". As if they don't know what they're talking about. For whatever reason, said scribe has evidently concluded he thinks on a much higher plane than all the other pundits. Perhaps the word "worthy" mentioned earlier in this paragraph should have been in quotes as well. All the experts are wrong. Only the home town guru fully grasps how great the Lions will be this year. Right.
Even given their woeful record over the decades, the Lions can count on one thing. The suckers will keep coming back. The team even had the audacity to raise ticket prices yet again. The Ford family that owns them are worth countless billions, and get huge revenue from TV, advertisers, and sales of team paraphernalia. If they never sold a single ticket to a Lion's game -- they'd STILL make money. But they raised the prices anyway. And the fools continue to rush in.
Here's a question. Why would the average family of four want to drop a house payment to go see a Lion's game -- remember it's in Detroit -- not exactly the safest place in the world to get into and out of -- when they could either sit home and watch it for free or go to a fancy sports bar in the burbs at a fraction of the price? Atmosphere? Please. Let's add in parking, grossly overpriced nasty food and watered down drinks. This is atmosphere? To boot, at the stadium, even in good seats, one only gets one view of the action from far away, and there's a very good chance some screaming idiots will be sitting nearby. They don't know why they scream incoherently -- they just do. And maybe your vehicle will still be there undamaged when you get out. Or maybe not. It's Detroit.
So carry on, ye Honolulu blue and silver faithful. Let the hype begin once again. There is always hope, right? Sure. Maybe everybody in the Middle East kisses and makes up tomorrow. Maybe Halley's comet makes a U-turn and comes back next year. Maybe the Republicans and Democrats drop their partisan squabbles and go to work for the American people. And maybe yours truly has a Pulitzer heading his way for my brilliance writing this blog.
But I wouldn't count on any of that happening. Nor would I count on the Lions even making the playoffs this year, let alone going deep into them. Matthew Stafford will rack up his usual gaudy passing stats, the Megatron will take another beating catching a lot of his throws in double coverage, and the Lions will have their share of high and low lights during the season. But in the end, there's nothing special about these guys. It's just another year of the same old Lions.
Hype and hope are one thing. Reality is quite another.