Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Nitch's Tale

The Bromolyte Interviews

Somewhere along the dozens of texts that fly back and forth during a typical DTLs game, I decided that it might be a good idea to offer a glimpse inside the minds of some of the most loyal H-Bromo supporters. The following conversation with Nitch is the first of what I hope becomes a series of many Bromolyte Interviews. It's mainly the truth, but then again, as Huck Finn famously noted, of course there are a few stretchers here and there. Here's what he has to say...

On Matthew Stafford:
Honolulu Bromothymol: To start things off, I'm interested to hear more about your change of heart with Stafford. Where we left off, you were the villain for inexplicably hating the guy, now you tell me you're back on the Staffwagon...
Nitch: I'm not sure my hatred was inexplicable...plenty out there had the exact same opinion. On the other side, I think a lot of people out there were ready to accept mediocrity. I heard, "Hey, he's better than Shaun Hill...and at least he's not Jon Kitna".
HB: Both true.
Nitch: Yeah great, you're right...he's also got higher expectations than those guys did. Through his first few years, I don't feel he met them.
HB: But there was a turning point for you.
Nitch: The man leads the DTLs to a playoff berth, becomes more dependable, and starts SLINGIN that skin all over the place.
HB: What was the specific moment you realized you'd changed your mind? I imagine the process was gradual, but there must have been a final tipping point.
Nitch: Not really sure I can pinpoint a specific moment...most likely happened over the offseason. The only real moment I can think of is the 80 or so times I've Googled his girlfriend. When it came time for Staff's contract negotiations, I knew for a fact that SHE needed to stay in Michigan.

Realizing that Nitch was in for a lonely night and a probable 81st Googling of Stafford's girlfriend, I changed the subject.

On Jim Schwartz:
HB: True or false- Jim Schwartz is a good coach.
Nitch: I'm going to go against the grain here and say TRUE.
HB: If I showed you a list of the 32 NFL head coaches, can you find 15 that Schwartz is better than?
Nitch: Coach success is so dependent on having an elite, dependable QB (see NFC North 2013). Now could I find 15 QBs better than Staff9? Not a chance.
HB: I'm undecided on whether I think Schwartz is a comparatively 'good' head coach, but my main knock on him is that he frequently let's his emotions get the best of him, sometimes even affecting the on-field play. 
Nitch: Remember, we watch 15 to 17 DTL games a year, we see Schwartz every week...couldn't tell you how Mike Mularkey or Jimmy Harbaugh are acting. I don't necessarily agree with all of Schwartz's calls or statements to the media, but I actually think the Lions' new style of aggressive, borderline dirty play is somewhat refreshing. The Bromos played patty-cake and rolled over for far too long. That style of play/attitude had to go if the losing culture was going to change.
HB: Which was a worse coaching decision, Schwartz's fake FG, or Trestman kicking a 47-yarder on 2nd down in OT?
Nitch: I listened to a fair amount of commentary on the Schwartz call and 99% of it was negative. I'm not totally against it though. Obviously wish it could have been executed, but if the D makes a stop, all is forgotten. Trestman, on the other hand, seems to have no clue how to handle himself or the clock down the stretch. I don't understand that call at all, no matter how good Robbie Gould was feeling during pregame boots.

Forecasting the Future:
HB: True or false- Jim Schwartz will have more success with the Bromos than Brady Hoke at Michigan.
Nitch: I've made it well-known that I fully echo Dave Brandon's sentiments on King Brady. I think he is the right man for the job and will have wild success in the coming decade. I think the Lions will have some sporadic success, but it will pale in comparison to what Brady and the boys put together.
HB: With an NFC Championship game appearance as equivalent to a Big 14 championship, who gets there first?
Nitch: Michigan. The DTLs haven't shown me anything to suggest that they are capable of  a) playing consistently enough in the season to get home field advantage or b) winning one or two playoff games on the road.

HB: What was your predicted win-loss for the DTLs at the start of the season?
Nitch: Pegged them at 10-6, median scenario.
HB: But if they win 9 with a division title, you're not disappointed, right?
Nitch: Not at all. Could win 6 and the North and it would be all good in my eyes.
HB: After that Tampa debacle, it didn't look like only winning 6 was out of the question. How confident were you leading up to the Green Bay game?
Nitch: Wasn't too intimidated or worried. Did I imagine the Lions were going to put on the show that they did? Notta. But was I worried that Flynn would repeat his 2011 performance. Not. One. Bit.
HB: Even so, you must have thrown up at least a little stuffing or cranberry sauce when it was 10-3 with yet another bad turnover.
Nitch: Only thing I'd consumed up to that point in the day was some sharp cheddar cheese and beer.
HB: It wasn't Wisconsin cheddar, I hope.
Nitch: Wouldn't think of it.
HB: It wasn't Wisconsin Beer, I hope.
Nitch: No.
HB: After dismantling the Pack, we've gotta be confident leading up to the Philly game, right?
Nitch: I mean, how long can Nick Fools keep up this charade?
HB: I wouldn't think for very much longer.
Nitch: He IS, who we THINK he is!

On Ford Field:
HB: You were at Ford Field for the Cincinnati game, what's the atmosphere in the stadium like these days? Is it positive for the Bromos and intimidating for opponents, or is there still the "here we go again" groans every time they make a mistake?
Nitch: I had pounded my fair share of Coors Lights before the game, so I thought the energy and atmosphere was positive--but it was never outright nuts in there. The whole thing just seemed like a spectacle to me. Like 'business'...hard to explain the feeling, but it was nothing like I feel at the Big House.
HB: You would if Dave Brandon had his way.
Nitch: I'm not prepared or willing to head down that road! We'll save that one for another H!
HB: Hopefully before the stadium is renamed the "Domino's Big House of Flavor".

HB: I never went to a game at the Silverdome, but watching old games in there, it sure didn't feel like 'business'. I get what you mean about Ford Field, the business feeling leaks through the TV too. The soft lighting, huge windows, comfortable acoustics, even the end zone art underachieves tremendously (can we please get this back?)
Nitch: Not really sure how to explain it. The Silverdome was old, it had character, the Lions had won there. Ford is new, ticket prices are sky high...but the place really is immaculate. Made extra sure that I aimed straight at the urinal and didn't even spit on the floor at my seats.
HB: I want to believe the place will be completely rabid when I go for the Giants game in a few weeks. How can it not be, especially if they can clinch the Division?
Nitch: Well, we have seen the place rocking before (Bears '11), I'm sure it will happen again.

HB: Favorite Lions memory of all time.
Nitch: Outside of an actual game, I'd say one of my favorite memories was finding out who the consensus 'Most Annoying Punter in the League' was.
HB: Can't argue with that one.

(editor's note: I'll explain. In college, two of Nitch's housemates, Bloom and Jimbo, happened to be Bears fans. This made for a few touchy situations whenever the two teams played each other. In the 2007 season, with the DTLs on the verge of a season sweep over the Bears, Jimbo was all out of snide comments to make about our team. With the Lions setting up for a late game punt and nursing a comfortable lead, all Jimbo could do was shake his head in disgust and say half-heartedly, "Nick Harris. That guy's gotta be the most annoying punter in the league.")

Nitch: Or the football Sunday where Bloom threatened the cable guy's life and punched a few holes in our walls. Was that before the Bears played the Bromos?
HB: I don't remember that ever happening.
Nitch: Dude spent six hours on the phone with the cable company, while cooking Pauly some fffuckin wings, trying to get our cable fixed before the game. Wasn't pretty.

It shouldn't be pretty be for Nick Foles tomorrow either.

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