Thursday, April 14, 2016

Detroit Lions and indigestion

In theory, "parity" is a good idea. Most leagues, including the NFL, try to strike a long-term balance with the teams under their umbrella. They make it difficult for a "dynasty" to last for long.

The worst team gets the first draft pick the following year, while the Super Bowl winners go to the end of the line. Of course, this can change depending on trades for players/picks, but for the most part it's meant to keep things competitive around the league for the long haul. That, salary caps and "revenue sharing" among the franchises are built-in deterrents for any team to totally dominate the league for very long. The NFL doesn't want to see one of its teams be like the Lady Huskies of UConn basketball -- virtually unbeatable year after year while racking up one championship after another.

Sure, some teams have historically had smarter front office personnel and coaches than others. This explains why franchises such as Denver and New England are always Super Bowl threats, while others like Detroit and Cleveland have always remained in the doldrums of also-rans.

Arguably, and perhaps foolishly, the Detroit Lions fans and their media remain right up there when it comes to rooting for their home team year after year. Every year is going to be THE year -- until it's not.

And the 2016 season will likely be no different. Because they were a "bad" team last year, the Lions got handed one of the "softest" schedules for the up-coming campaign. Yet other signs are more telling.

The Motown faithful are already whining that their team will only have two national exposure games. One is the Thanksgiving day game at home, which has been a Lions tradition for decades. Somewhere along the line the Dallas Cowboys rudely crashed the party and now always play a Turkey day game at home as well. Then the TV folks figured out how much money could be made by having a third game in prime time on the same day. And so it has came to pass.

It's interesting to note the Lions will square off against the Minnesota Vikings in the 1 PM contest this year. Could it be that the NFL is trying to be digestion friendly to the football masses? After all, the family gatherings of football hordes normally don't start pigging out on their lavish spreads until maybe 3 or 4. The game will be all but over before people start digging in. And c'mon, haven't the Lions caused enough indigestion or worse over the years on Thanksgiving among TV viewers? It's not just their home crowd, but millions of other across the country trying to stifle an upchuck while being force-fed another heaping portion of the sad-sack Puddy-Tats.

Thanksgiving is supposed to be just that. A day of thanks. Do you really think NFL fans that live anywhere but in southern Michigan are grateful for the Lions being foisted on them every year when they're trying to digest a couple thousand calories worth of tasty vittles? Urp.

It's also interesting to note the Lions won't be going back to London. One can theorize. Perhaps the Brits send a message to Roger Goodell and his merry band of billionaire owners. To wit:

"While we were loathe to accommodate your brutish game of American football in the first place, we did so as a gesture of good will. However, if you continue to insist we make our beloved Wembley stadium available to you for future contests between your barbarians, we will consider it under one condition. You will bloody-well send some of your best teams across the pond. Not the likes of the Lions again. Those blokes have long been off their cups and the sorry spectacle they put on last year sent half of London scampering to the loos to kneel before what you Yanks call a toilet. An abominable waste of our fine brews and cuisine to be disposed of in such a vile premature manner".

Given the current Detroit Lions' state of affairs, roster, coaches and otherwise, most think they will slug it out with the Chicago Bears for the basement of the NFC North. The Green Bay Packers remain clearly superior and will be closely rivaled by the resurgent Minnesota Vikings.

That would seem to answer another question. Why would the TV folks and the league limit the Detroit Lions to only two games of national exposure? One of which is mandatory on Thanksgiving?

Probably because, like the Brits, nobody wants to watch them other than the long kool-aided saps in Motown that keep coming back every year dreaming the impossible dream.

Know what's truly mind-boggling? The Lions raised their ticket prices (again), and the idiots can't wait to shell out even MORE bucks to watch a clown franchise. Again.

Incredible. Only in Detroit.

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