Saturday, December 24, 2011

We Made It




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.

29 comments:

HillHeeb said...

Seeing that fat mongrel Rivers shouting at his bitch team mates will be my favourite memory of this regular season.

Congrats to all of you who've been through the worst of times!

Neil said...

Man, after I compared Rivers to one of the assholes from Animal House, I couldn't help but notice how fucking accurate that was every time they showed his smug face on the sideline.

SwearyGeek said...

I know that stupidly happy feeling. I felt it during the Giants 1986 season, on the march to their first Big Game.

Wishing the Lions and fans all the best. They deserve it.

Bubbalouuey said...

God Bless us every one, Merry Christmas to all and come on Saints Niners Giants or who the fuck ever

AutospeedConcepts said...

I had to come back and say....

Neil....thanks for Ur blog dude. With all the negativity....*out of proportion negativity that is*, found elsewhere....this blog has been amazin' and keep up the good work.

My fellow and Lady Lions fans....I think we can safely say that the way this team played today was not just for them, but to show us as their fans....what we can look forward to as a complete team....Total Domination comes to mind.

My favorite moment....I'll take liberty and take 2 if no1 minds....

The killer instinct on offense with the very 1st play from scrimmage....45+ yard bomb to Calvin from Stafford....

The 2nd play....

Chargers tryin' to get into the endzone and pass is intercepted by Houston and taken back downfeild 50 yards....U gets nada San Diego...nathan! Go back home.

Neil said...

Thanks SwearyGeek. This is fucking awesome.

Neil said...

Bubba,

Yeah, right now I am in a BRING 'EM ALL ON kind of mood.

AutospeedConcepts said...

Have a great Holiday every1. Bless to Ur families and loved 1's.

Neil said...

"Neil....thanks for Ur blog dude. With all the negativity....*out of proportion negativity that is*, found elsewhere....this blog has been amazin' and keep up the good work."

Thanks, man.

And yeah, both of those plays that you mentioned were good ones that both felt symbolic if that makes any sense.

HillHeeb said...

"Man, after I compared Rivers to one of the assholes from Animal House, I couldn't help but notice how fucking accurate that was every time they showed his smug face on the sideline."

Is right. He's such a hateable, fat buffoon. Suh was mere seconds away from curling him up in a ball and shoving his head up his own asshole.

His OWN asshole.

Unknown said...

12 years. 12 F*CKING years I have waited to read that post. Thank you for making my existence worth a shit.

Unknown said...

12 years. 12 F*CKING years I have waited to read that post. Thank you for making my existence worth a shit.

Bubbalouuey said...

Forgot to thank ya for all the props this year Neil keep on keeping on please

Neil said...

Unknown,

Yes, it was a good day.

Anonymous said...

As a Falcons fan, this...displeases me somewhat, as it makes my life more difficult.

That said, I hold no truck with the Lions. This has got to feel like that first piece of ass after a year-plus long dry spell. Merry Christmas, Detroit. You've had one hell of a coal walk to get here. Crack one open and enjoy.

DarkStar said...

This year feels like 1991 (yes, young'uns, I am old enough to remember clearly the last time the Lions won a playoff game. Now shut up.) There is a sense of destiny in this, the fast start, the adversity to be overcome, followed by the magnificent charge taht ended with the Lions in the NFC Championship. Of course, adversity in 1991 was the horrible paralysis of Mike Utley, while the 2011 version of adversity invoves the Lions playing childish, immature, whiny football for about a third of the season... but I digress.

Anyway....

I feel like the Lions can not just be in the playoffs, but push deep into January football. Who knows? Maybe they get a chance to exorsize the last demons remaining, winning at Green Bay and the Infamous Handshake Scandal/Handshakegate/those goddamn 49ers?

The Defense seems to be peaking at the right time, and getting healthier, not more injured as they march into the postseason. Add to that the arm and enormous brass-plated balls of one Matthew Stafford, who shed his glove and splint, mounted his T-Rex Sue (if you read the Dresden Files you know what I'm talking about) and proceeded to have her eat and subsuquently shit out Phillip Rivers and the whole goddamn Chargers team.

I know that this is just over-optimistic stupidity, but it would just be awesome to bitch-slap the whole NFL, ESPN, and every asshole beat writer that has given us hell over the last decade or so (Drew Sharp, you're first) by rolling over the 49ers, Packers, and whatever AFC schmuck team has the guts to face the Lions at that point, then hand the Lombardi trophy to Suh so thahe can cave in Sherriff Goodell's head with it and hang his lifeless corpse from the rafters of Ford Field for the sport of the crows.

Hmmm.... maybe that was a little over the top.


Naaaaaah.

Merry Christmas

BDR said...

3 penalties. 8 yards. Where the fuck has this been? If thisteam shows up, they can play with anyone. remember we were missing a safety and a cb this week. they can be better, which is damn scary. what a game, what a glorious glorious ass whooping. and watching the sanchise get his ass handed to him first made even sweeter.

BDR said...

I know that this is just over-optimistic stupidity, but it would just be awesome to bitch-slap the whole NFL, ESPN, and every asshole beat writer that has given us hell over the last decade or so (Drew Sharp, you're first) by rolling over the 49ers, Packers, and whatever AFC schmuck team has the guts to face the Lions at that point, then hand the Lombardi trophy to Suh so thahe can cave in Sherriff Goodell's head with it and hang his lifeless corpse from the rafters of Ford Field for the sport of the crows.


this might be the most beautiful thing i have ever read.

Neil said...

DarkStar,

Yeah, anything's possible now and that's the beauty of it. I remember being 11 years old and sitting in the stands watching the Lions dismantle the Cowboys in that one playoff victory we've had to hang onto and now here I am, 20 years later, watching the Lions claw their way back to that place. And now, we've got a chance to make it work better this time.

Neil said...

BDR,

Yup. It was refreshing to not have to swallow my tongue every other play because the refs were throwing shit all over the field. Ed Hochuli, I salute you. (Well, the Lions too. For once, they actually looked like the more disciplined team.)

CJ said...

OUR QUARTERBACK OUR QUARTERBACK OUR QUARTERBACK!!!!!!

(and also our O-line, damn, awesome job guys)

And also our receivers. I knew our receivers were pretty awesome, but man...in comparison to San Diego? They didn't even look like they were trying on most of the later throws, even when Rivers did manage to get it in their vicinity. Of course, their quarterback is...a little bitch, basically. I don't think I've ever seen Staff act like that on even one play. Rivers' tantrums were a delight to watch.

And also our D made some just great great GREAT plays too.

This feels...way more authentic than 1991 to me. Barry Sanders is the best running back ever, and I'll forever be grateful that I got to see him play (and I'm so glad that he's enjoying the latest Lions regime)...but you need a QB, and it breaks my heart that he never had one. Now? OMG, DID YOU SEE OUR QB?

Merry Christmas all! Our team is SO AWESOME!

(I kind of want to actually learn more about football now, because I want to know exactly what our guys did to make the Chargers look so damn terrible. It was stunning.)

Neil said...

Yeah, we have an unbelievable QB and he's not even close to the prime of his career yet. He just devastated the Chargers today and when he plays like that, the Lions can beat anybody and everybody.

CJ said...

Sorry to be so hyped up and rambly! You alluded to it earlier in your preview post, but watching this team really is like freebasing feelings.

I still can't believe what I saw. I adore this team and coaching staff and...and...yeah.

Neil said...

"watching this team really is like freebasing feelings."

YES

Also, never apologize for being rambly, CJ - especially here, the home of the ramble.

Mr. Radon said...

"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."

I don't want to gibber on about Fate (that's your job) but I couldn't watch the game today due to family obligations, so I DVRed it to watch at the best possible moment. This play happened on the recording right as soon as I finished reading this. I don't even wish I were joking, because it was absolutely magical.

I can't even tell you how different my life was the last time the Lions were in the playoffs. The times they are a-changing.

Merry Schwartzmas from New Mexico!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it WAS a complete game -- wasn't it? Stafford really has arrived. The evidence is now indisputable -- he will start to enter Aaron Rodgers territory, should he continue like this.

I was worried about this game but the Leos showed up to play like men. I was shocked at the consistancy in all three phases and the discipline. Where'd this team come from?!

The best thing I take away from this is, this team is peaking at exactly the right time. Think about all the stupid things they did this year. In retrospect, those mistakes were like gold. By doing all those boneheaded things, they have LEARNED and are less likely to do them in the playoffs.

And we seem to have gotten guys back from injury at EXACTLY the right time (K. Smith, Houston and D-line refreshers).

Seeing the team jelling like this on both O and D, I like our chances in Green Bay next week.

I think you can put this team - the way they finally put it all together - up against ANYBODY in the playoffs and they can win.

Not saying it will happen, but WOW -- this team just seems to have transformed from good to really good, overnight.

A week ago I was just looking forward to sneaking into the playoffs -- to be honest, I didn't really have hope they could win the Super Bowl.

The way the Lions played yesterday, I'm sure we all agree they could go All the Way!

Merry Christmas to All!

Lord Anonymous

Neil said...

"Merry Schwartzmas from New Mexico!"

On Schwartzmas, Santa busts through the front door with a fist pump, screaming "Boom, motherfucker!" over and over again and threatening to fight the Easter Bunny.

Neil said...

Lord Anonymous,

Yeah, THIS was the team that had me so excited before the season. It took a while, but things feel like they just locked in at just the right time. It's all been fun, but this . . . this is the sort of thing that makes you really believe.

Neil said...

Also, hey, Merry Christmas everyone. I love you all. Even you. And you. You too.