Friday, December 23, 2016

Judging the Detroit Lions

Yours truly recently read an article where the scribe, obviously a "homer", said the Detroit Lions should not be judged on their woeful past, but rather on what they might accomplish in the future.

To which I say -- you've got to be kidding me. Obviously, he hasn't been paying attention to how life works in general. A few examples ---

When one is applying for a decent job, one submits a resume listing their education, experience, personal recommendations, etc. In other words, what they have done before and how well they did it.

The ability to borrow money, and at what interest rates, is largely based on one's credit rating. This is generated by agencies that scour your past history and determine whether you have been faithful in paying previous bills.

If one runs afoul of the law, judges typically have a wide range of sentences to choose from. What do they consider as a major mitigating factor?  Your record/rap sheet/priors, if any. A previous model citizen may get a slap on the wrist for the same crime a habitual offender will get the book throw at them. It matters.

Getting accepted into a university often depends on how good one's grades were in high school.

The very essence of how one matures as an adult, if they ever do, can usually be attributed to the lessons and examples, or lack thereof, they learned as children from their parents.

In countless facets of life, it's all about the past.

So why should the Lions be judged any differently?

Since Super Bowls started -- 50 years ago -- the Detroit Lions have done nothing of note. Fifty years ago is a long time. Lyndon Johnson was President. Woodstock hadn't happened yet. The Beatles were still together. Many households didn't even have color TV.

In fact, the Lions futility goes even farther back -- to the late 50s. Eisenhower was in the White House. The ill-fated Ford Edsel was just coming out. I Love Lucy, the Honeymooners, and Leave it to Beaver were churning out new episodes. Sock hops and hula hoops were the rage. Happy Days and their Fonzies existed in real time. A long time ago indeed.

In the interminable interim, Lions fans have seen their team not only fail to get to a single Super Bowl, let alone win it, but have grand total of one -- ONE -- playoff victory to remember. And that was a while back, as well.

Wayne Fontes was the head coach. Barry Sanders was in the early stages of his career and electrifying the crowd at the now defunct Pontiac Silverdome. And the Lions trashed the Dallas Cowboys 38-6. All year long, the team had been cocky, with Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust" as their theme song. Yours truly just happened to be at that game and I've never heard anything louder before or since. Joyous times in Honolulu blue and silver land.

Alas, the following week the Lions would travel to Washington and get hammered 41-10 by the Redskins. Fittingly, it was their turn to finally bite the dust.

It was the lone highlight in all those decades of otherwise miserable football. And the Lions haven't done anything noteworthy since. Barry Sanders would finally throw up his hands in frustration and take an early retirement. At the rate he was going, Sanders likely could have set the all-time NFL rushing bar so high nobody would ever approach it again. But it wasn't worth all the losing that came along with it. So he walked. In hindsight, can you blame him?

Currently, quarterback Matthew Stafford is the darling of Lions fans and media. Look at all the gaudy passing statistics he keeps putting up, they crow. And how about all those comeback wins of late?

The reason Stafford racks up so many passing yards is because he throws more passes than anybody else. That's due to the Lions lack of a decent running game. He doesn't have any choice.

Thing is, Stafford's in his 8th season and has yet to win a single playoff game either. So what difference does it make how many yards he throws for if the team can't close the deal in the postseason?

Consequently, the standard of expectations has become quite low in Detroit. If they can just get to the playoffs, it will be considered a successful season. Other franchises would scoff at that. Just getting to the playoffs isn't good enough for the folks in places like New England, Green Bay, or Dallas. Anything less than a Super Bowl victory is considered a failure. Still other teams have been cyclical. They'll rise to greatness, then fall into mediocrity or worse. Up and down they go. The Lions have always remained basically flat-liners where maybe a C+ grade is their ceiling.

In days of yore, this author used to root for the Lions as ardently as any other hard core fan. But no more. When Barry walked, so did I and haven't looked back since. It's going on two decades and what have they accomplished? Still nothing.

So here's my thought on the Lions. Win something. And not just something, but a Super Bowl or two. In fact, be genuine contenders for a generation or so. No, I still won't come back into the fold, because over is over. But it's the least they can do for the sappies that keep hanging in there and cheering them on. Evidently, they have a masochistic streak in them. Gluttons for punishment. But different strokes.

In the meantime, I don't want to hear about how the Lions shouldn't be judged on their gawd-awful past. Like everything else in life, that is EXACTLY how they should be judged.

Speaking of which, if one so believes, how do you think you'll be judged when you stand before the Great White Throne facing the Almighty after you have passed from this mortal world? In how you conducted your life -- which is past -- or how good a person you promise to be in the future if you gain admittance beyond the Pearly Gates?

To say or think otherwise is just plain kool-aid fueled nonsense.

Like believing in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, you'd think they'd learn eventually, but some just never do.......

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