You know, I can get used to this winning thing. Indeed, somehow, someway, the Lions – my Lions – have now won 9 in a row (13 if you count the preseason) which is an impressive – and awesome – enough number all on its own even without context (it’s the best streak in the entire NFL), but when you consider that since I have been writing about the Lions, they had only won 4 games in 44 tries, that 9 game win streak suddenly looks like something out of a fairy tale with dragons and knights with magic swords and magic knights with dragon swords. To put it another way, that means that from the time I started writing about the Lions, virtually every time I sat down to write one of these things, I did so with a depressed, savage, evil wail consuming my soul. 40 times I sat here trying to find hope in a sea of terrible failure. 40 times. And only 4 times was I allowed the simple dignity of a smile and a sense of momentary peace as a fan. 4 times! Against 40. That’s it. And even that was just a sliver of the decades long horror show which has consumed our souls as fans, spit them out, and then stuffed them back inside of us as some gnawed upon, ruined thing. With that as the backdrop, as the world we have long lived and suffered in, 9 straight wins isn’t just miraculous, it’s damn near unfathomable.
I didn’t mean to drag you all back to those horrible memories we’re all trying to run from. I don’t want to get anyone down. I just wanted everyone to stop for a second and realize how fucking crazy this whole thing is right now. I mean, this shit isn’t supposed to happen to us. We’re fans of the Lions. The Lions! For all of our lives (Except for those of you that are 254 years old like the fucking Highlander or The Great Willie Young or something.) “The Lions” was a phrase fraught with terrible meaning. It was a joke of a phrase, a snigger on the lips of every half-wit hack comedian alive. This would be like if a retarded kid with no legs somehow grew up to be the NBA Slam Dunk Champion. This shit isn’t supposed to happen to us. And yet, here we are.
And where we are is someplace that we only allowed to exist in our wildest, stupidest dreams. The Lions are undefeated, everyone in the whole damn country is freaking out about them and declaring them America’s Team and at some point all you can do is quit trying to rationalize it, quit trying to explain it and just go with it, you know? This is wonderful and beautiful and right now, writing this a day after they bludgeoned the Bears on Monday Night Football, I have a dopey smile on my face and an even bigger, dopier one in my heart.
The atmosphere of that game was everything that I imagined it to be. So rarely do these things match up with your own giddy fantasies that it’s almost stunning when one of them actually comes true. And for one night, one glorious moment, our hearts were laid bare, our collective soul opened up for the entire world to see, and the result was fucking ridiculous, an explosive light show which melted the Bears brains and confirmed to the whole world the depth of our feeling, the stunning depths of half a century of sorrow and torment. This game meant everything to us. Not because of a record. Not because of the future or even the present but because of everything we have had to go through to get here. This was pure emotion, raw and unyielding, matter in the form of nearly 70,000 screaming people converted into pure energy, their howls and wild eyed fervor the gateway to the souls of millions of Lions fans watching at home, their screams echoing the resurrected hopes of souls that we’ve lost, kindling an explosive fire that’s been building for over 50 years.
Okay, I’m getting carried away here. Shit, I’m starting to yammer about resurrected souls and I’m this close to making an inappropriate comparison to Jesus rising from the dead so I’ll dial it back just a tad. But . . . yeah, it’s impossible to ignore the pure emotion which fueled that game last night. It’s impossible to forget how the Lions fed off that energy, that built up passion and pride, and attacked the Bears like a gang of Huns hopped up on PCP and Cheetah Blood. (Note to Sheriff Goodell: Cheetah Blood is completely natural and if you start testing for it then Hitler will have won.) Shit, I’m pretty sure The Great Willie Young attacked Jay Cutler with a hatchet at some point in that first quarter. But unfortunately, thanks to Sheriff Goodell’s policy of Pussification, hatchet attacks are now a personal foul and the Lions were left to battle not only the Bears but the jack-booted thugs who have been charged by Sheriff Goodell with maintaining order and peace in a world built on the idea that for 60 minutes order and peace are meaningless and forgettable concepts.
But that’s okay because the opening of that Stargate to our souls in Ford Field scared the living shit out of the Bears and they responded with 9 false starts, 16 pairs of pissed pants, and I’m pretty sure that Frank Omiyale literally turned into a baby and had to be taken away by Child Protective Services before he got hurt. This was a transformative game, a game in which the pure energy and emotion of the moment psychically affected everything to the point that the laws of physics began to bend and . . .
I’m getting out of control again. I apologize. It’s just hard to explain the raw emotion of this game. It was damn near a religious experience for Lions fans. People will scoff at that and they won’t understand, but fuck them, this is about us and our moment and nobody can take that away from us.
And nobody can take that away from us because that emotion and that energy was evident. It was there for anyone with eyes to see. It was evident from the way that our defensive line almost supernaturally owned their offensive line. I mean, I’ve never quite seen anything like that. It is a testament to the almost superhuman game that Jay Cutler played that he wasn’t sacked 20 times. I’m not even exaggerating. On virtually every single play, he probably should have been sacked. It was absurd.
I understand that I have done nothing but rave incoherently here, but that’s just how I feel right now. Asking me to rationally break this game down would be like asking some zealot who was just healed by the touch of a faith healer speaking in tongues to rationally explain what just happened to him. You’re lucky I’m even writing using actual words and not just a series of random keystrokes like this: akjlhflkjlilkdSD6!!!!!JJJknjlgd
By the time the game ended, there wasn’t really the sense that the Lions were a better team than the Bears so much as there was a sense that the Bears now collectively lived in a trunk in the Lions basement with a ball gag stuffed in their mouths. This was destruction on an epic scale. Like I said, if it wasn’t for Jay Cutler playing like he had just struck some deal with the devil, he might have literally died. I’m only half-joking. The man’s life was in actual jeopardy. I’m not sure what the penalty is for decapitation but I’m fairly sure that the league frowns upon it. In retrospect, maybe it’s good that this happened or else we might be looking at Ndamukong Suh getting banished from the league for Murder Death Kill. At the very least, I’m guessing that Sheriff Goodell would have called him in for a meeting and fined him a million dollars.
I’m rambling again, but that’s because I can’t put this game in its proper perspective. My mind won’t let me. Not yet. Which, I suppose, means that I have failed because that’s kind of what I try to do here in my own wild, fucked up way. Then again, maybe that is the proper perspective – that there is no perspective because this game was something singular and wonderful, something which exists both out of time and in all of time. I am making no sense at all right now and I understand this, but maybe this was a game that belonged to every moment of the last 50 years, which exists as a sort of Promised Land that belongs to the souls of every single Lions fan who has sat down to watch this team play for the last half century. It’s a game which is unrepeatable, a game unique in its meaning both to the past and to the future. We will never see another game quite like this – and I’m talking about the crowd, the energy, everything – because the conditions necessary to create this game are unrepeatable.
I’m barely speaking English anymore. I’m just gibbering and jabbering like a fool, reaching for some sort of ephemeral idea which will explain all of this, but I can’t. This was a moment, a game, which was built with our blood, our sweat, our tears, our sorrow, our hope, our joy, our pain, our . . . everything. It was a game and a moment which took everything we have had to go through as Lions fans, which pulled together every stray emotion felt for 50 plus years and made it all come together in one incredible game and one incredible moment.
I know I haven’t talked enough about the actual game for a lot of people – I have yet to talk about Matthew Stafford or St. Calvin or Jahvid Best (Hey, how about Jahvid Best! Goddamn!) – and I know that some people will accuse me of being ridiculous and hyperbolic and they’d all be right, but this game wasn’t just about the actual game, the nuts and bolts of a regular season football game, it was about us – all of us – and it was about everything that we’ve had to go through and if that’s hyperbolic and ridiculous then so be it. So be it. After this, we get back to the here and the now and the grind of this actual season, but for now, I just want to bask in this Never Never Land of the soul, this strange and beautiful and wonderful world, this moment which somehow managed to answer the cries of the last half century of pain, which exists not just as a game, but as a place and a time and a world and a moment which belongs to all of us, now and forever.