I was going to put this off until Monday because it’s Christmas Eve and all that, and so I posted that little thing below as a shitty little placeholder until then, but . . . I lied. I’m just too happy to not write about this. I’m hanging around twitter and answering e-mails and talking about the game a bit anyway, so I figured hey, why not? After all, I think we need to keep our priorities in perspective here. A Lions victory to clinch a playoff spot and their first ten win season since before the birth of Jesus (the non-Stafford Jesus that is) takes precedence over the celebration of the birth of some kid in an outhouse any day, right? (Ducks thunderbolts)
Right. And so . . . here we are. Take a deep breath and just luxuriate in it. Feel this moment. Savor it. We are survivors, every one of us and by God, we have earned this, this new world of the spirit, this haven for our souls.
It’s impossible to overstate how fucking crazy it is that only three years ago we were lamenting 0-16 and now here we are, at 10-5, ready for the playoffs to start, knowing that we belong. We didn’t back into this thing. We didn’t fall backwards into this new world. No. We grabbed it by the fucking throat, looked it right in the eyes, smiled and said “Here we are and there’s nothing you can do about it.” The Chargers wobbled into our path, into our final steps, and they were blown into dust and now here we are. Here we are.
The way the whole thing played out was enough to make a man believe in Fate – or at least something like it. I have gibbered on about Fate so many times here that it is almost a running joke. But goddammit, this was just so . . . perfect. This was the biggest game for the Lions since the Pontius Pilate administration, the biggest moment for us as fans maybe ever. Given what we’ve been through and where we are right now, I don’t think that’s all that hyperbolic a statement. On the brink of that new world I ranted and raved about in the preview piece, on the brink of something we’d only dared to whisper about in our own hearts for so long, the Lions not only rose to the occasion, they owned it. This was their best game of the season, top to bottom, start to finish, back to front, head to toe, ass to mouth, soup to nuts . . . whatever ridiculous way you want to put it. In the one moment where we needed this team to step up, they exploded like a supernova, obliterating that old flat world and shining down on that brave new round world of our dreams. This is serendipity. This is salvation. This is, most importantly of all, reality.
Yesterday is just a word. The past belongs to someone else, to haunted people who don’t live here anymore. The future is limitless and the present is standing on a sandy beach, looking out over a new world filled with promise and possibility. There are no guarantees but that doesn’t matter. We made it. We fucking made it, and here, in this new world, is where we’ll live or die. We are not beholden to the rules of that old world, to its restraints, its vile chains tethering us to a past we never wanted. Not anymore. We’re free. And that’s all that matters.
Matthew Stafford took yet another leap today. He was magnificent, and it’s tempting for me to go completely crazy here and start talking about the symbolism of our savior rising to glory on Christmas Eve but that would get unseemly in a hurry. Then again, I guess I kinda just did, didn’t I? Oh well, that’s okay because today is a day to get wild, to get hyperbolic and stupid, drunk on the sheer wondrous joy of this moment. I am, of course, getting ridiculous, but so what? I’ve earned it. We’ve all earned it.
There is moment after moment I could point to from this game, but that would quickly degenerate into a series of “Hey, did you see that? How about that???” Then again, maybe that’s okay. Like I said, we deserve to luxuriate in this, in the beautiful little details that made this new world possible. I think my favorite moment actually came on a play that didn’t work, when Stafford spun away from a Charger pass rusher, and heaved it deep into the endzone where St. Calvin soared like a beautiful angel, to a place only he can go, and he grabbed an impossible pass and then came down with it only for one of the zillion Chargers draped over him to knock it away at the last second. It didn’t work, but goddammit, it was beautiful. It literally took my breath away. That may sound ridiculous, but . . . Jesus, what a throw and what an inhuman effort of sublime beauty by St. Calvin. Even though it ended up a mere incompletion, I knew that Stafford had risen to another level and that everything would be okay.
The crowd was alive and electric from start to finish, a great and unstoppable current ripping through them, voicing the collective will of millions of Lions fans watching all over the world. This felt like something inexorable, something unstoppable, a wave that has built and built and built and which was going to carry us to the new world no matter what happened. This was our time – this is our time – and everything else was – and is – irrelevant.
There is nothing to complain about today. Nothing. There is just joy and happiness and for once I don’t feel like a crusty bastard, an acid tongued dragon from hell, breathing fire. I just feel like a dumb, happy kid on Christmas and the Lions did that. The Lions!
This is the new world and my eyes are wide and right now everything is just . . . beautiful. And this is how the story starts and how the old one fades into oblivion. We made it. We fucking made it.