Sunday, December 11, 2011

"The break that backed the camel's straw"

Some of the details from today's game are lost on me. Being out snowboarding with twenty 9-13 year-olds for most of the day, I wasn't able to watch any of the game. Instead, I relied on two associates feeding me scores and updates via text message, one more frequently and accurately than the other. As I wasn't able to watch any of the game through my own eyes, in this post I'll let you relive the game through the eyes of my phone. A special thanks goes out to Nitch for keeping me in the loop.

11:01 AM
Nitch: Game will start with a 0-0 tie.
While seemingly innocuous, this information was actually a very encouraging sign for the events of the afternoon. In most of the other DTLs games this season, it seems as if the game starts with the opposition already leading 17-0.

11:10 AM
Nitch: 7-0 cats. Heathcliff strips ponders on first vikings play, tulloch recovers in the zone.
Heathcliff "Combustible" Avril has had a fine season. Take away his penalties and he's a probable Pro Bowl pick. He might still be one, even with the penalties.

11:15 AM
Nitch: The phonz picks one off. Looks like that D had their morning DPs today!
AYYY!! A big play from Alphonso, and a second turnover in five minutes of life for Ponder, which I assume is about 12 seconds of football time.
Cultural Reference: DP stands for Doctor Pepper, a delicious and empowering soft drink, for any of you having trouble following along. For those who are upset that "that doesn't even make sense!", just pretend that it stands for 'Defensive Practice'. The D had their morning Defensive Practice, therefore they played well in the game's beginning. Makes perfect sense.

11:19 AM
Nitch: Titus for 6.
The Best in the Business's extra point is obviously assumed. Lions lead 14-0.

11:32 AM
Nitch: Wormtail leaps a defender for a first down, finds back of end zone on next play.
11:35 AM
Nitch: Everyone who fucked up last week has made amends.
11:45 AM
Nitch: Nice drive by the vikes. 21-7.

11:57 AM
Nitch: Smiff reaching didge boy status today. Pick six.
Alphonso Smith has gotten his second interception of the day, takes it back for a touchdown.
Cultural Reference: With the "didge boy" remark, Nitch is referencing the defensive prowess of himself and myself on the UofM intramural flag football field, as well as our back-to-back Harbor Springs Winter Football Classic championships. Before you even think about interceptioning a pass, better be wearing them single digits on your back!

I inquire as to whether the score is now 28-7 in favor of the Honolulu Bromothymols.
12:00 PM
Nitch: Your math is correct.
It's noon now, and I'm back inside eating lunch with my group of youngsters. Third-grader Manny offers me some Wheat Thins, the DTLs are up 28-7. It's safe to say I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself at this point in the day.

The next couple of texts I received came from somewhat unexpected sources. The first was from my brother's phone, but it seemed to be in Brent Favre's voice. The next was from Associate #2, who had until then remained silent.
12:04 PM
Brent: Boy Payne, Perce and Tobes are having a tough game.
12:08 PM
Associate #2: Lions are winning 28-7!

12:09 PM
Nitch: 28-14. D is snoozin.
12:20 PM
Nitch: 31-14. And the lions fight song plays again. 1 to go in first half.
That Hephaestus-sculpted boot of wrought iron strikes again as the Best in the Business adds another 3 to his all-time Lions points record. The DTLs do have a great fight song as well; I'd rank it 2nd place among NFL fight songs, slightly behind the old Houston Oilers song that would get Warren Moon so pumped up during games.

Since the next hour passes without any updates, I assume that the squad entered the locker room with a 31-14 H-time lead.

1:20 PM
Associate #2: 31-21 end of the 3rd.
1:21 PM
Nitch: 31-21 4 min left in 3rd.
This little sequence of updates baffles me considerably. Rather than face the fact that one of these texts is obviously inaccurate, I'll chalk it up to the time zone differential and leave it at that.

1:40 PM
Nitch: 34-21. 12 skins to go.
"Skins" in this case is substituting for the word "minutes". There are 12 "minutes" remaining in the game. Seeing that 13 point lead pop up, I immediately thought of the 07' Cowboys game. Also the 13th game of the season, the Lions held a 13 point lead in the 4th quarter against Dallas. All Paris Lennon has to do is fall on a lazy fumble in the closing minutes to keep the DTLs' playoff hopes alive. Instead, Lennon Imagines a touchdown, kicks the ball back to Dallas, and Revolution #9 leads the Cowboys into the end zone for a 28-27 win. With this history, the approaching feeling of unease in the pit of my stomach has nothing to do with my shoddy snowboarding skills.

1:52 PM
Nitch: 34-28. 8 left.
I can tell Nitch is feeling uneasy too, because his texts are getting shorter and chippier.

2:01 PM
Nitch: Minny ball, 3:20 to go. "This is the biggest defensive series for Detroit all season."
Either the announcer must have said that, or Nitch was quoting himself so that I would quote him in the H-bromo blog. Regardless, it was probably a true statement.

The next 17 minutes and 40 seconds were a silent agony for me. As each minute passed, all I wanted was a simple "tulloch picks one off" or "turnover on downs, Staff takes a knee", or even "Vikings score, Lions have it with a minute left" would have sufficed. But no.

As the time passed, I got more and more worried. Did something so appalling happen in the final minutes that Nitch can't even bring himself to tell me about it? Did he smash his phone to pieces after the Lions blew it on the final play?


2:18:40 PM
Nitch: We some lucky sob's deebo. Squeaked one out.
Cultural reference: Deebo is the villain character from Chris Tucker's Friday.
2:26 PM
Nitch: Vikes drove it down to the 1 yard line. Webb fumbles the ball and it keeps rolling 60 yds downfield to run out the clock. Got away with a facemask too.

Oh geez.
So the boys caught a major break today in a game where they shouldn't have ever needed one in the first place. The record now stands at 8-5, assuring them their best season since 2000. It has been predetermined that this is going to be a crazy final three weeks to end the season. 2 wins will almost certainly put the DTLs in the playoffs. 1 win might.

As Samuel L. Jackson said in Jurassic Park, "Hold on to yo' butts!!"
As Samuel W. Jackson said in a text message today, "Whuuup whhhheeeeeewww!!!"


  1. Sure can't be too pleased with the last 75% of that game. Then again can't be too disappointed either as we managed to not completely blow our season. Gotta believe Worm Phillips gave up on the fellas, their season and the franchise more than once in that fourth quarter, though.

    Here's to hoping that Suh learned his lesson in detention and the boys can get back on track this week. LI-ONS!

  2. A recent poll on ESPN.com asks which player is dirtier: Harrison, Suh or neither is a dirty player. The results overwhelmingly state that Suh is a dirtier player.

    This baffles me. Not only has Harrison repeatedly tried to intentionally harm defenseless players, but he sees no wrong in it. His interview about Goodell over the summer is equally as dirty. Even just last week he hit a defenseless Colt McCoy helmet-to-helmet and made the charge after McCoy had released the skin. Suh plays hard and generally within the rules...Harrison plays to maim and has no regard whatsoever for the rules.

    Can I really be in the minority thinking that James Harrison is as dirty as they come and should have been banned for more than a single game? Am I letting my bias get in the way of reality here?

  3. Nitch, the problem with perception of Suh in my opinion goes back to the availability heuristic, the same reason why people think airplanes are more dangerous than cars despite volumes of evidence that suggest otherwise.

    Dom's dirty plays are so much more memorable and diverse than Harrison's that they easily pop into people's heads (Delhomme, Dalton, Dietriech-Bonhoeffer, shoving Cutler between the shoulder blades, which is now frowned upon) when voting on these polls. With Harrison, all of his plays in question are helmet-to-helmet hits, which if you've seen one, you've seen them all, so they all seem to run together.

    Next, there's the statistical issue of personal foul numbers. All of Dom's transgressions that occurred were immediately called personal fouls, while some of Harrison's helmet hits were not reviewed until the next day, so therefore weren't called personal fouls at the time.

    Honestly though, does it really help Dom's PR all that much if he were merely known as the NFL's second dirtiest player anyway?