Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Long Goodbye, Or: Stop, That Horse Is Already Dead!

You would think that there would be nothing left to say about Drew Stanton and you’d be right. At this point, demolishing poor Ol’ Plucky again would just be an exercise in gross cruelty. The problem is, is that people seem to refuse to quit chasing the ghost that is Drew Stanton’s supposed potential. Even after his atrocious performance against the Packers – at one point in the third quarter he had a QB rating of 0. 0! - there were still people saying “Yeah, well, he came through when it mattered,” which is exactly the sort of GRIT PLUCK ECKSTEIN bullshit that makes me want to strap all of my memories of Drew Stanton as a Detroit Lion into a rocket ship and then shoot them straight into the waiting hell fingers of the sun.

No, Drew Stanton didn’t come through when it mattered. “When it matters” is that period in between when the gun goes off to start the game and when the gun goes off to end it. “When it matters” is not one drive in the fourth quarter. What Drew Stanton was on Sunday was exceptionally lucky. If the defense wouldn’t have played out of their minds that last drive would have just been a cruel joke, a pointless exercise in “What if?” Does Stanton deserve credit for not fucking up that final drive? Sure. But that’s his job, you know? That’s what he’s supposed to do on every drive. To me, he doesn’t get a pat on the back simply because he did it right once. That doesn’t make up for the dozen or so times he fucked up before. It’s not like he kept them close and then made a play when it mattered. No. A confluence of strange events – the defense playing out their minds, the Packers staggering and shocking ineptitude on offense, Aaron Rodgers’ death – conspired to give Stanton a chance to Grit his way to redemption. All he had to do on the final drive was not fuck up. I mean, okay, fine, give him credit for not doing so, but let’s not forget that the only reason the Lions were even in that position in the first place was because Stanton had spent the entire game up to that point shitting the bed in such heinous fashion that even the dudes from Trainspotting were revolted.

Stanton is lucky – damn lucky – that things worked out the way that they did. The offense scored 7 points and Stanton could have been replaced by one of those Punt, Pass and Kick urchins they trot out at halftime and no one would have known the difference. 7 points wins the game .000001% of the time. That was not a sign of progress or of some hidden Comeback Kid bullshit. I think that’s what a lot of people desperately want to be true when it comes to Stanton. They want him to be a poor man’s John Elway. In their minds, if Elway is the Mona Lisa, then Stanton can be, I don’t know, the mildly edgy sketching of a mediocre art school student. But really, if Elway is the Mona Lisa, then Stanton is the chicken scratch of a severely retarded orangutan. I mean, sure, some people might tell you that it is art, but that is because they are deluding themselves. Really, it’s just the result of random hand movements and feces smearing. That orangutan doesn’t know what the fuck he is doing. After he was finished, he ate the crayons and then jacked off and hooted before falling asleep where he dreamed of bananas and big, red asses. The point is, is sometimes things happen but they don’t mean anything. Stanton’s final drive in this game was one of those things. He didn’t fuck up but he didn’t really do anything either. The final touchdown pass kinda summed the whole damn thing up: a simple screen to Will Heller who then beasted his way into the endzone. All Stanton had to do was not fuck up a screen pass. The fact that this is the threshold by which his play is now judged is condemnation enough of his career and his ability.

As for what this means for Stanton going forward, well, just read what I wrote last week. I hate to say that I told you so, but, well . . . okay fine, I don’t hate to say I told you so. I am hilariously biased against Stanton and I take a shameful – fucking shameful – joy when he struggles. I shouldn’t admit that because I am a Lions fan and therefore should want to see him do well, but I can’t help myself. I just want to see him gone. He is representative of the disgusting ineptitude of the last decade of Lions football. I think in some way I have channeled all of my feelings about the last decade into Stanton. To me, Drew Stanton is the Matt Millen era. It’s probably unfair – hell, it certainly is – but fuck it, I can’t help it. I am emotionally invested in his failure as a football player. That is the ugly, ugly, coal black heart of the dark side of fandom right there. It is despicable and I should be ashamed of myself. I mean, this dude is a human being, you know? But a lifetime of terrible failure and pain will breed some ugly, nasty shit. I’m not proud of it but it’s there. I both sneer with disgust and cackle with schadenfreude whenever Ol’ Plucky gets sacked or throws a terrible lame duck interception. That ugly, nasty part of me just reaches up and tears through my insides and bursts out like a little Alien baby.

Do I want him to succeed? Yes, in as much as I want the Lions to succeed no matter who is in there. But I take a sort of sick, grim joy in his failures too. These are the sorts of things that are created in the wake of the Matt Millen era. You just don’t understand. In the scum filled ponds that he left behind, ugly things grow and live and I don’t like to acknowledge them but they are there. I want Drew Stanton to fail because he is everything that I hate about the Detroit Lions. In him is wrapped all the pain, the bitterness, the anger, the resentment, the I’m Fucking Sick Of This Bullshit Mad As Hell Not Gonna Take It Any More Howard Beale rage of it all. I see him or I hear or read his name and all of that comes to the surface. Like I said, it’s not fair, but that is the reality of the situation and fuck it, I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I don’t feel like that. I’m not going to hem and haw and beat around the bush because some things you just don’t say, some things you just aren’t supposed to admit as a fan. But in my mind, it would be more cowardly if I just nailed Drew Stanton to the cross over and over and over again without explaining why. I have my reasons, despicable and ugly and horrible as they are, and fuck it, it is what it is. I can’t change it. I can’t pretend it’s not there. This is my own personal battle with a windmill here. I don’t expect anyone to saddle up and ride with me towards whatever oblivion lies at the end of this heinous road of insanity and dumb grief.

This has kinda gotten carried away, but damn it, I don’t give a fuck. This is ugly but it is also raw and it is honest and that’s what I always try to give you. I have no problem with Drew Stanton the person. He’s probably a nice dude. I would get drunk with him. But Drew Stanton the football player can get fucked. He is Matt Millen. He is o-16. He is Rod Marinelli. He is Marty Take The Fuckin’ Wind Mornhinweg. He is Joey Harrington and Roy Williams and Charles Rogers and Mike Williams and all the rest of those motherfuckers. He is my football pain. It’s not fair. It’s not fair. But there it is and here we are.

I try hard to look at Drew Stanton the football player through rational, nonjudgmental eyes but it just drives me crazy. I can’t do it. And I guess I just wanted all of you to know that when it comes to Stanton, I am completely batshit crazy. This is what the Lions have driven me to. I see him and the Lions fan in me starts drooling and slobbering with incoherent rage, blathering and gibbering thanks to some fucked up Pavlovian response.

I don’t want this to be the case, and this rant has been shameful as all hell and it’s kind of embarrassing and people will laugh at me and other people will get all condescending and tell me that I should calm down, but fuck those people. It’s not like I stagger around in an idiot frenzy, blathering about Drew Stanton to frightened strangers and horrified friends. But sometimes, you have to let yourself feel it all, you know? It’s not real pain. I mean, it’s just sports after all. But sports are juvenile and stupid and so is sports pain. It is petulant and embarrassing, much like this post, and that’s why you’re reading this (with horrified eyes no doubt). It’s because when I sit down to write about the Lions, I let myself feel all of that. It is cathartic in a way.

This has strayed so far from the point that I don’t even know what the fucking point is anymore. Anyway, to me the name Drew Stanton is like waving a red flag in front of a coked up bull on steroids. This is my final machine guns blazing rant about Ol’ Plucky. He won’t be here after this season and then it will be all over. There’s no point in rehashing this shit week after week. But it’s been a long four years since he was drafted and for me, I guess, this is the crescendo of the absurd sports pain of those four years. This is a final purge. This is me unhinging my jaw and shooting fire like an out of control dragon. I have to get it all out before I can move on as a fan. The last decade of Lions football can GET FUCKED. Unfortunately for Drew Stanton, to me, he is the living, breathing symbol of that decade. (Well, actually, it’s more like unfortunately for me. I mean, after all, what the fuck does he care?) I can’t look at him objectively. This is my Drew Stanton Waterloo. History will write whatever the fuck it wants about Stanton, and history is even crueler than me. History will look back and it will mention Ol’ Plucky’s rollout to oblivion against the Jets and it will mention his lack of arm strength and it will label him a terrible, terrible bust. I mean, let’s not forget, this dude was a second round pick for fuck’s sake. It’s not like he was just some random street free agent. History will note all of that. But, as for me, I am done with Ol’ Plucky. These next few games, I will cheer him as just another player. I am leaving all of the other shit behind. I am burying it in this post. Fuck, I feel like I should read from a spell book or dance naked around a bonfire or something now. Good luck, Drew. This marriage was just never going to work. I hope you make some other girl happy in some other city, but I kinda hope we never have to see each other again. It’s not your fault. Not really, anyway. This was doomed from the beginning. But some things just can’t be changed. You know how it is. Maybe we’ll meet again many, many years from now and maybe we’ll smile and maybe we’ll laugh and maybe all the awful, terrible memories will have faded by then, but probably not. Probably not.

I was originally going to take a look back at the game on Sunday through a sort of Random Thoughts construct, but fuck it. This has grown into its own thing – as these so often do – and really, there’s not that much else to say. The defensive line was dominant, I’m proud of the fight the team showed and ob-la-di, ob-la-da, life goes on, you know? The only other thing I really wanted to talk about was Scott Linehan’s game plan, which some people are crushing, but which I actually thought was kinda brilliant. But all of that has been sadly lost in the fucked up rant about Stanton and well, I guess that is one more casualty of the Lions Decade of Hell. I don’t even know what this post is. I’m certainly not proud of it. And yet, it was something that I felt like needed to be written, if only so I could get some closure on the maddening hell of the Matt Millen era. I don’t expect anyone else to enjoy this at all. Shit, I don’t like it. But these are strange and terrible times and these things happen. And I am a warrior of light and a noble poet king in my heart and so I won’t shy away from it either. I don’t know what the future holds. I hope that it is bright. I think that it will be. But I don’t know. All I do know is that, for me, that future won’t truly begin until Drew Stanton is no longer a Detroit Lions quarterback. In a way, then, Ol’ Plucky finishing this fucked up season as our quarterback is fitting. This is the final dying wail of that horrible past. That’s what this season is. It is the last, ugly, clawing desperate attempt to keep us bound to the hellfires which have consumed our spirits for so long. But in a few weeks, it will all be over. Drew Stanton, Detroit Lions quarterback, will just be an echo, fading into the past and the future will be blank and unwritten and for once, anything and everything will feel possible.


T in AZ said...

I laughed. Thank you, it's been a long season. I haven't read much since the Jets debacle, but huge props to you for continuing to write. It must take a strong stomach at times.

Neil said...

There are only so many ways to say "Yo, this team sucks" without things breaking down and taking a turn for the bitter and profane. Often times, I just have to sit down and see where it takes me. That is the only way to get through it without going mad.

And thanks for writing/reading. I don't blame anyone for checking out a little bit after that Jets fiasco.

Pete Ledesma said...

Poetry, pure poetry. I can add nothing but "well done'.

Neil said...

Thank you very much, Pete.

Jonathan said...

Preach brother, preach!

Neil said...

I guess more people are with me here than I thought.