According to the Detroit Lions, most of their media, and certainly the die hard fans, their week to week status is a crazy roller coaster ride. Up and down they go. One extreme mood swing to the other. It could be called the Lions Game, but that's a book by Nelson DeMille -- and a mighty good read of a thriller at that. I highly recommend it. You'll be surprised who triumphs in the end.
But back to the puddytats that play football in the NFL.
Opening the season, the Lions beat the Indy Colts and the much overrated Andrew Luck. Turns out the Colts aren't and weren't very good. But the fever was on in Detroit. Here we go. Up.
Then bang, bang, bang. Three losses in a row to Tennessee, Green Bay, and Chicago. Oops, there goes another season. All is lost. Down.
The Philadelphia Eagles had gotten off to a mini-fast start and most thought they would dispatch the Lions in Week 5. True to their confounding form, the Lions pulled the upset. Now 2-3, the Honolulu blue and silver masses yearned for more. Please let us go up again.
And they got it. Two more wins against a pretty bad LA Rams team and an average Washington Redskins squad. These three victories all came at home for the Lions. But that didn't matter. The koolaiders were back on the bandwagon. At 4-3, playoff talk started again. Some even dared to whisper -- shhh -- Super Bowl.
Then back on the road to face the mediocre Houston Texans. Dad blast it, Detroit's heroes came up short. But wait, they SHOULD have won it -- according to the sentiment around Lions land. If only head coach Jim Caldwell had managed the game a little different. Right. And if only the sun went down at noon, it would be dark outside at 2 PM. It's comical how the team, media and fans always take the good breaks in stride like they are supposed to happen, but will scream bloody murder and point fingers when things don't go their way. Going down.
Nonetheless, the Lions sit at 4-4. Smack dab average. Not a likely candidate for the playoffs, but not totally out of it either at the half way point of the season. There is hope. In Detroit, there is always hope, however misguided and foolish it has been over the many, many years. They find a way to be up, but always wind up down in the end.
The next game, on the road against the Minnesota Vikings, could be considered somewhat crucial. Or at least as crucial as it gets in the magical kingdom of the Lions. A win would put them at 5-4, and the infernal band of hard cores would start beating the drums again. Playoffs, here we come. Up.
But a loss to go 4-5 would have the opposite effect. Even given the Lions ridiculously easy schedule this year, it's difficult to imagine a scenario of them recovering to go on a hot enough streak to reach the post season. Down.
Thing is, the surprising Vikings had been winning even without the services of stud running back Adrian Petersen. True, their starting QB Teddy Bridgewater went down for the season with a freak injury, but Sam Bradford has stepped in. Call that a push. But they just got clobbered by the lowly Bears, so they're going to be pissed when the Lions hit town next week. At that, Detroit has an advantage, Minnesota having played on Monday night. Will it be up or down for the Motown 'tats? In the whole scheme of things -- does it even matter?
The only thing consistent about the Lions is inconsistency. Actually, that's not entirely true.
They are rock solid consistent in one other aspect. Giving the fans just enough to keep them hooked year after year. It's amazing when you think about it.
Calvin Megatron Johnson played for a decade and never experienced a single playoff win. Neither has so-called hot shot quarterback Matthew Stafford. In fact, the Lions have a grand total of ONE playoff victory since Super Bowls started fifty -- count-em -- FIFTY years ago.
Still, the media keeps churning out the hype and the fans keep gobbling it up like Joey Chestnut does hot dogs. Countless coaches have come and gone. The front office has been shuffled and reshuffled. Players have been born, gone through el-hi, college, and had long pro careers before mercifully retiring, and still nary a sniff of a single Super Bowl in Detroit.
Up and down they go indeed. But, like a typical carnival ride, the Lions always seem to wind up right where they started. Watching the conference finals and certainly the Big Dance on TV.
This year looks to be no different than all the rest.
In that respect, they're the same old Lions.
The more they change -- the more they stay the same.
Don't forget about the Lions Game by DeMille. It really is a page turner that will keep you in suspense until the very end.