On Saturday, Christmas Eve, the Lions have a chance to not only clinch a playoff spot for the first time this century, but they also have a chance to win 10 games for the first time since people thought the world was flat. Naturally, this is an exciting time. These Lions are an imperfect team, but at this point I don’t really care. They are a fun team, led by a 23 year old wunderkind fighter pilot who spends his offseasons hunting T-Rex’s and crushing ass and his onseasons (That’s right, I’m making up a word. If “offseason” is a valid word then logically “onseason” should also be a word. Don’t argue with me, I’m a very cunning linguist.) leading epic comebacks and throwing laser beams to an angel from heaven by the name of St. Calvin. The team is young, dumb and full of cum, a goddamn wild bunch that has spent as much time running from the law this season as they have spent running for touchdowns. Hell, it wouldn’t surprise me at this point if a game ended in a goddamn Wild West shootout. And I don’t mean that metaphorically. I mean that literally, with Ndamukong Suh charging down the field with a fucking shotgun and Jim Schwartz galloping down the sidelines on a horse, firing an old six shooter at the other team’s coach. This is not a smart, disciplined team. But so what? Ain’t it fun?
Indeed. And the difference between that and the wastelands of 0-16 cannot be overstated. It is a chasm so vast, so absurd, that it can’t even be properly comprehended by the human mind. Instead, all we can do is sit here, dumb smiles on our faces, while we watch the sun rise on a new world, a world in which the Lions are not only a playoff team but a team with double digit wins, a world which is no longer flat but round and beautiful, which seems to stretch forever and in which the possibilities are endless.
Of course, we’re still standing on the edge of that brave new world, our arms and hearts and minds and souls stretching towards an infinity of the spirit, a dream world made real, and in order to truly get there, to be able to not only reach for it but to hold it on our arms once and for all, we need to watch our Lions take out the San Diego Chargers. And this makes the San Diego Chargers our enemies. And our enemies deserve to rot in hell.
The Chargers are a weird team, a team that always seems like it should be better than they are. Hell, last year they had the number one ranked offense and the number one ranked defense in the entire NFL and they somehow managed to miss the playoffs. That is fucking absurd. And yet, that is an anecdote that will forever sum up the San Diego Chargers under head coach Norv Turner. I won’t even wonder how in the hell something like that could happen because honestly, I already answered it. Norv Turner. He is a hysterically awful coach, a complete boob who parlayed his proximity to Emmitt Smith and a Dallas offensive line that could block out not only the sun but the entire Milky Way (somewhere, Nate Newton’s head snapped around like an animal when he heard the phrase “Milky Way”. Relax, dude, I’m talking about the universe, not the candy bar.) into various head coaching jobs which have all ended the same way – in tears and regret, with livid fans threatening to burn down his house and with Norv standing, slackjawed and ridiculous, his shit all in a box, wondering where it all went wrong again.
This is the enemy. Both for us this week and for the Chargers, well, every week. They are like an army that should be good but is plagued by an incompetent general. Norv Turner is basically George McClellan (History, what up?) only there’s no Lincoln around in San Diego with the balls to fire him and replace him with a freewheeling drunk like U.S. Grant. (Who would be our U.S. Grant in this scenario? Les Miles? Barry Switzer’s corpse?) This means that when things are most tense, which they assuredly will be this week, ol’ Norv gets the sweats and then pisses himself while his soldiers shake their heads in disgust and prepare for their inevitable deaths.
To make matters worse for the Chargers, Norv’s Captain, the one who relays all of his orders to the rank and file, the one who coordinates the actual attack on the battlefield, is a goddamn frat boy stereotype named Philip Rivers, who’s basically a bad guy from Animal House brought to life. Well, you’ve all seen Animal House, right? The Wild Bunch Delta house ends up humiliating and destroying the uptight Philip Rivers types and then I’m assuming they went on to win the school’s intramural Super Bowl. (A deleted scene, I’m sure.)
The point is this: the Chargers are a team hilariously devoid of leadership that always – always – cracks under pressure. They’ve done it for years now. That’s why I’m not too worried about all the rumblings about the Chargers playing their best ball of the year the past couple of weeks. If anything, that means that they are just primed for another epic fuckup. People talk about the Lions being the “Lions” and all that bullshit has meant over the years, but the Chargers are the “Chargers” and if any of their fans are reading this, then they know what that means, and they know, deep down, that I am right and that their team is forever doomed to wander a flat, lifeless world while we embrace a world that is round. That is the price you pay for not having big, swinging Abe Lincoln balls.
Am I worried about this game? Of course I am, but that has less to do with the Chargers and more to do with the precipice we find ourselves leaning over, eyes wide, awed as we stare down the dawn of a new world. I’m nervous, but it’s more of an excited kind of nervous if that makes any sense. Everything’s all set and now we just need to finish the damn journey.
There is a part of me that is screaming GO BACK YOU FOOL YOU’RE ONLY GOING TO FALL OFF THE EDGE OF THIS FLAT WORLD AND THEN YOU’LL BE DEAD AND WHO WILL WRITE NONSENSICAL GIBBERISH ABOUT THE LIONS THEN? But this is where I tell that part of me to shut the hell up because Fear is just a word and even if I did die, my spirit is powerful enough that it would continue to write nonsensical gibberish long after my body went up in white hot flames. But I don’t think that I’ll die. Not this time.
This team is not perfect and this new world isn’t perfect either. But so what? It’s a real world, round and beautiful and even its flaws are better than the best parts of that stale, flat world we’re about to leave behind. The losses somehow hurt more now. They hurt like hell. But that’s okay because they actually mean something. But the wins . . . oh God, the wins. They are so much sweeter in the new world because, like the losses, they actually mean something now. This world is round and it seems like it’s endless. It goes on forever and forever and in this world anything and everything feels possible. I’m sure that we might lose some good people along the way, intrepid explorers who won’t be able to survive the hurts of the new world, but there is freedom in that, the freedom to live and to die in a world filled with meaning, the freedom to run to the ends of the earth and then to keep running because it never ends. It never ends.
I am getting philosophical and weird now, which shouldn’t surprise you, but I won’t apologize because we are on the edge of something miraculous, on the edge of a world that seemed like little more than a fantasy only a few short years ago. We have come far – so goddamn far – and we’ve been bruised and bloodied along the way, but finally here we are, staring at a world that is alive with the promise of possibility. And really, that’s all we’ve ever asked – that we get the chance to live as free men, in that world of possibility. It does not promise salvation, only the opportunity to create a world of our own salvation, and for our souls, wounded and beleaguered as they’ve been, perhaps that is the most poignant and meaningful kind of salvation there is: a salvation that is uniquely our own, one that we have created and fashioned and shaped, and which lives in our hearts and which no one can take away from us.
I have talked a lot lately about overcoming the past, or at least its hold on us, and the only way we’ll finally be able to honestly do that is if we can take that final step, that last, miraculous step from this dull, flat world into that new, exciting round world that is alive with possibility. The San Diego Chargers are the only thing, the last thing, standing in our way, and they have a poisoned core, fatally weak and if we honestly deserve to take that final step, then we need to drive our righteous swords deep into that core and then watch the Chargers bleed out, just like they always do, as we take that final step. And when we do, there will be nothing in our way, only a world without end, a round world open to our hearts, our mind and our souls, waiting for us to run wild and free, and in that world, we can run forever and nothing can stop us except ourselves.
Predicted Final Score: Lions 28, Chargers 24