It's Over!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

It's Over!

No more Lions

After 57+ years and a won-lost record of 369-464-19 in that time, I'm tossing in the towel.


I just can't take any more!

When I got to Detroit back in September '51, there were 12 professional football teams in two NFL conferences... actually, there were really only two teams, the Browns and the Lions... and ten nondescript others.

The Clevelands led by Otto Graham and the Detroits of Bobby Layne were the class of the NFL, between them winning five of the ten championships of that decade.

Even though they won their last title in 1957, the Lions were almost always competitive, and had some of the most exciting players of any era... Layne and Doak Walker, Joe Schmidt and Yale Lary, Alex Karras and "Night Train" Lane, Gail Cogdill and Mel Farr, Lem Barney and Earl McCullough, Greg Landry and Billy Sims, Barry Sanders and Herman Moore... and that's about all she wrote!

But there's no one on the team now to hold even the slightest rooting interest... and hasn't been since the incomparable Sanders retired after the 1998 season.

I think what kept me going all these decades... aside from the occasional glimmers of hope and the running brilliance of backs like Sims and Sanders... was the continuity of watchable players and the fact that, as the late NFL Com­missioner Pete Roselle made a watch-phrase, "On any given Sunday..." any one team could beat another.

That may hold true for 31 other teams, but for six straight seasons now, the Lions have no idea of how to win, so on any given Sunday, my team is an odds-on choice to lose! And most of the time they aren't even competitive.

This afternoon the 0-10 Lions started strong against Tampa Bay, running up their largest lead of the season, 17-0, in the first quarter.

Watching the exciting Jets game against the unbeaten Titans, I tracked the Detroit game with the cycled out-of-town scores. When the 17-0 score flashed, I had a brief moment of "Really?!?" before resigning myself to the inevitable.

The next time I looked, it was 17-14, and in very short order it was 17-21... I immersed myself in the Jets destruction of the Titans' dreams of an undefeated season.

I'm done... I won't even bother watching them Thanksgiving Day.

Lions ownership and management have dem­onstrated no inclination to make the team competitive, and have given me z-e-r-o incentive to continue to root for them when there are two local teams that are playing a good brand of football.

As a matter of principle, I won't jump on the Giants bandwagon, but I've followed the other team since they were the Titans in the old Polo Grounds, and they did handsomely for my per­sonal exchequer in Super Bowl III.

Go Jets!


1. Gordie Howe said...

At least we won the Cup for you last year and are always competitive!

Go Wings!


I haven't forsaken all things Detroit, just the Lions... or as my cousin Charlie has been calling them for the past 22 years, the "Pussycats."

Funny, I talked about how the "only two teams" in the 12-team NFL when I hit Detroit back in '51 being the Browns and the Lions... at the same time there were six teams in the NHL, but really only two... the Red Wings and the Montreal Canadiens!

I had a tough 42 years with the Wings after '55, but they've been the class of the league ever since.

2. D'Brickashaw said...

C'mon, you can't abandon your team as they are about to make history. 0-16... yes we can.

Even more exciting, there's also the joy of watching not one, but TWO #1 picks in the '09 draft get horribly wasted. Tim Tebow... yes we can.

Precisely why I've stepped off.

3. Charlie Clifton said...

Say it ain't so, Dean.

I can hear St. Jude Thaddeus weeping.

Yeah? Well, that other Jude, Iscariot, has been smirking too many years for my taste!

4. Jeanne Speir said...

Happy dance, hands delicately clapping together.


One less team of expletives deleted. I can barely contain myself. The dogs may come out from under the bed now, my dear.

[mutter mutter mutter]

5. Rob F. said...

Sorry for your loss, Dean. I will be rooting for the Lions to beat the Titans this Thursday, though I don't think the game will be worth watching.

J-E-T-S! Jets! Jets! Jets!

No loss, Rob... this Thursday will begin a new page in my life. The New Moon Café being closed will be my our only loss. The Lions? Pfui!

6. Tony Joe Berk said...

What will your Thanksgivings be like without your favorite team playing... unless you becomng a Cowboys Fan?

Are you demented?!?

My Thanksgiving days will be calmer, my meal will taste better, and when I hoist a glass it will be to celebrate good friends and family, not to dull the frustration of investing so much emotional energy in a team of drug-addled draft picks and re-treads from the NFL discard pile.

The Cowboys?!? The appellation "America's Team" is an offense against God, guns and Old Glory. Tom Landry, Barry Switzer, Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith are long gone, but Jerry Jones endures, and a Dallas loss will still bring a smile to my lips.

7. BettyBoo said...

Sorry, but no one knows misery better than a Bengals fan...

No one.

8. Paramarine said...

Happy Thanksgiving. Hopefully you've kept your word; Tennessee is beating Detroit like a rented mule and the 1st quarter isn't half over.

Thank you for confirming for me that there will be no reason to renege on my vow.

9. Jerry Steiner said...

Motorcity shakedown... NONSENSE!!!! Once Detroit gets into your blood, it's there 'til ya{sic} die. You are forsaking Captain Bob-Lo. What kind of man are you?!?! Jeanne, dump his sorry ass!

Feel the love... ice cold beer... Jerry

Ah, c'mon! The ol' Capt'n bailed on us over 35 years ago, and Bob-Lo shut-down in '93! (Homeland Security would have killed the place off by now, anyway... it's actually in Canada!)

We made several family outings to the place in the first half of the '50s.

10. Jerry Steiner said...

Greektown... Lafayette Coney Island, 3 up, 2 down, going sideways out the door... Vernor's. I mean really Mr. Wizard, where did you go wrong. Must be that "TONY" Hamptonian mystique. My friend, you are in desperate need of an ol' fashioned Motorcity tune up. I'll get the J. Giles Band vinyl and supply the beer.

Feel the love... ice cold beer... Jerry

JAY-sus! Vernors Ginger Ale! Haven't thought of that in half-a-century!

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