"Lord, what fools these mortals be!"
Usually I put a little more thought into these, but I'll just fly off the cuff tonight, what's the point. I'm not even going to bother putting a question mark where it belongs after the previous sentence.
I'll open with saying that I can't think of a time when I've ever been more ashamed and embarrassed to vicariously associate myself with this team. This is worse than Barry rushing for negative 1 yards in the playoffs. This is worse than 0-16. This is worse than last week. Especially living outside of Michigan, how can you look someone in the face and admit to being a fan of the team who just showed the most egregious lack of discipline possible on a football field, on national television, for the second consecutive week?
I was wrong, this goes far beyond Dom Suh. If it was just one player, that's easy enough to fix. Fine him, suspend him, then cut him, and it's someone else's problem. This is a compulsive habit of committing the absolute most 'developmentally delayed' penalties at the absolute worst possible times to commit them, by the MAJORITY of the players on the field at any given time. The Spartys are awfully disappointed that they fucked up their BCS chances last night by running into the kicker. The Lions did the metaphorical equivalent of that at least nine different times tonight. To quote Coach Ping of Hoop Dreams, "this team makes me sick".
The TV cameras showed Jimmy Schwartz on the sideline about midway through the fourth quarter tonight, and he looked like he was about to cry. And quite frankly, I consider myself fortunate that there weren't any cameras on me right about then. You're out there in the fourth quarter of a farily close game, coaching a team in the thick of the playoff hunt, who had a GOLDEN opportunity to help their chances today with EVERY other team close to them in the NFC standings losing their games earlier in the day, with your quarterback playing his best game of the season, and your team is so far beyond your control and playing with such appalling stupidity, that all you can do is stand there biting your lip as hard as you can to prevent yourself from bawling on national television!!!
To quote Coach Ping again, "That is crap! That is DOG-SHIT CRAP!!"
Nate Burleson I believe set an NFL record tonight by committing THREE offensive pass interference penalties. That's not to mention his 15 yard offensive face mask penalty, to give him 55 penalty yards for the game. The truly horrible thing about watching this team, is that even after they do something good, you have to hold off celebrating for a good 3 to 10, sometimes 15 seconds after the play is done, just to make entirely certain that they don't go off and do something absolutely 'developmentally delayed' after the whistle and have it all go to waste. Because most of the time they do!
From where I sit, this team has all to talent in the world to contend and make it to the NFC Championship game this year. However, in no way, shape, or form are they anywhere near deserving to make the playoffs. Where is that team from last year, that despite having so many injuries, bad breaks, and bad calls go against them, fought admirably for the entire season and finished with a 4 game winning streak?
In the fandom of myself, as well as anyone else self-aware enough to admit it, a fine line is walked on a constant basis between fun/entertainment/rooting on your hometown team, and an unhealthy and one-sided emotional attachment to those that play sports better than you. That's the paradox; are sports bigger than the game and societally important, or only because we make them so? With consciousness of that dichotomy, I will go on record to say that tonight, the Detroit Lions franchise were an embarrassment to themselves, to their teammates and coaching staff, to their families, and to the entire state of Michigan.
Hitting a guy in the facemask ten seconds after the play is dead with your team at the one yard line. Throwing the ball into the face of an opponent ten seconds after the play is dead, after catching a punt and getting great field position. Going after the guy who tackled you, five seconds after the play is dead, and then shoving the ref who is doing everything in his power to NOT throw a flag on you. This goes beyond stupidity, NOBODY is that stupid. This is selfishness and a complete egotistical lack of concern for your teammates, organization, and fans. Kevin Smith is out there courageously playing his heart out , essentially on one leg trying to help this team win, and he is repaid by that type of behavior? And it's not even just one player. It is most of them. Why is Dom Raiola getting in Titus's face after a late hit flag? I've seen Raiola commit that same penalty at least five times during his sorry career, so who is he to talk? Schwartz can't even yell at them anymore. This franchise is on the cusp of having their best season in 20 years, and they're out there playing with such a lack of basic mental control that their coach is completely defeated and about to cry right on the sidelines right in the middle of the game. Watching this team play, it honestly looks like they are CONSCIOUSLY TRYING to screw up everything that they've been working towards ever since the end of the 0-16 season.
Not that I stuck up for this type of play earlier on, but I'm done trying to defend this team. It's like being a parent of an underachieving and troublemaking son, and after problem after problem after problem that the child causes, you stick with them. And keep parenting, and think you'll be able to turn them around. And after all the lessons you try to patiently teach, your child finally has a breakthrough during their senior year of high school. And gets straight As. Leads the basketball team to the championship game. All the teachers at the school are raving about how much improved your child's behavior in the classroom has been. And on the night before graduation, this young man gets drunk, crashes the family car, and paralyzes the innocent driver in the other lane.
I'll always love you and always have, but this one is on you.