Sunday, September 30, 2012

Oh God

We are all Prometheus. Also, you'd be surprised at how hard it is to find a picture where it doesn't look like the bird is blowing him.

I don’t know.  I just don’t know.

I know you want more from me than that but I’m broken.  I dared to dream and have been viciously smacked back down by the universe and now I am naked and bleeding, wandering in the desert with no water under a hell sun, suffering from delusions and conversing with a talking cartoon rabbit who I’m expecting to grow fangs any second from now, jump me and start gnawing at my liver while I try to cry tears that won’t come because even my tear ducts have abandoned me and left me to wither and desiccate in this fan hell where yesterday and tomorrow look an awful lot alike and today the sand just reaches up and chokes me while the devil laughs.

Right.  Welcome back, friends, to . . . to . . . sigh.  Even when things were at their worst we could look to the future, see that things would change, that they would have to change, and in that change we could dare to dream of something, anything, even if we weren’t sure what it was.  But now?  Now, I don’t know what to believe in.  I don’t know what to hope for.  Do I hope that somehow, someway, this team miraculously figures out how to actually play football like grown ass men and not like a bunch of simpering little boys?  I guess but then I might as well hope for my elderly neighbor to somehow morph into Jessica Alba with beer spouts for nipples.

I’m sure there at least isolated pockets that are raggedly and doggedly hanging onto their delusions, insisting that “Well, if only this wouldn’t have happened then . . .” but no.  Just no.  When it’s always something, that’s everything.  That’s football.  There will always be things that go wrong and you can’t make excuses for them, can’t say that somehow they don’t matter because they won’t happen again because even if they don’t, something else will.  I know that sounds suspiciously like some weird Yogi Berra like gibberish but I don’t give a fuck.  You’re lucky I’m even vaguely coherent right now and not just mashing the keyboard wildly and moaning into some computerized voice translation program that would just give up and commit suicide two paragraphs into this thing.

Right about now I imagine Danny Crossman is being escorted out of Ford Field with all his shit in a box while Stan Kwan watches from the box he’s been living in across the street.  Jim Schwartz is probably hearing voices echoing in his office and the ghost of Wayne Fontes is probably whispering breathy come-ons into his ear while he contemplates hiding under his desk and weeping.  Gunther Cunningham is probably thinking “I’m too old for this shit” and the defense is probably wondering how in the hell the Lions can lose a game in which it doesn’t allow a touchdown but surprise, motherfuckers!  This is what happens when you dance with the Failure Demons.

The Lions lost and they lost in a heinous way that ripped open the dreams we had all been clinging too, eviscerated the delusions and exposed this team for everything that it truly is in stark, naked clarity.  Truth was exploded like a supernova, and even the blind can see it now and they are all weeping tears that they can’t see but that they can feel and oh Jesus, it never ends.  It never ends.

I’m not sure if there is one obvious thing that is wrong here and that’s a big part of the problem.  There are a million little things wrong and when that’s the case it’s almost impossible to fix.  A big deal has been made the last few season about Jim Schwartz changing the culture of the Lions and he did.  They are no longer the downtrodden, the talent-deprived, the lesser.  But in the process, a new culture was created, a culture of rampant stupidity that at first seemed like something of a quaint Boys Will Be Boys thing that we thought they would grow out of into something that threatened to become a real problem, popping up at horrible times, costing us games last year, and then into this, this festering turd which has become the center of our team.  Our team’s identity is synonymous with stupidity because it was never checked, never controlled.  Everyone just stood by and watched helplessly while it became the new culture.  It is not the old one but in some ways it is more despicable, a reckless pissing away of talent that most teams would kill for, a wastrel degenerate that will never change no matter how much we love them, no matter how much we try to convince ourselves that one day they will grow out of it.  Because now, we look up and our rambunctious child is a goddamn adult and he just got arrested again for something stupid, like vagrancy or mopery, and he just called, half-drunk and begged us to come bail his ass out of jail again and . . . AAAAAAARRRRRGHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

This asshole just isn’t going to change.  I just told UpHere that it feels kind of like watching a junkie family member, one who’s been sober – or at least tried to be – for a couple of years, shoot up again.  Instead of being angry, I just feel beaten.  All I can do is sigh, shake my head, disgusted and hope he doesn’t steal some more of my stuff, or in this case, my heart, to finance his fool ways. 

Where do we go from here?  I don’t know.  I just don’t know.  This team is still the team from last year and it can get hot and maybe it will put together a run but that run will blow up and then we will all die and right now it feels like the best – the very best – that we can hope for, both for now and for the foreseeable future, is that this team becomes sorta like the Wayne Fontes era Lions, too stupid to truly live but too goddamn talented to ever be completely counted out.  There is a certain excitement in that I suppose but there is not satisfaction.  No.  No, there is not.

I had a friend tell me that this team has peaked and the thought seemed ridiculous and made me immeasurably sad at the same time because there is a good chance that it is true, at least for this team with these coaches and these players.  They went 9-0 over a stretch beginning in 2010 and lasting into 2011.  Before and after that stretch they have been just another Lions team, and if that 9-0 stretch is all I get then goddammit, that’s just not fair.  That is cruel, in a way that nobody but Lions fans can understand.  To be given such a small taste only to have it ripped away again and replaced with sand and shit in our mouths is just . . . it’s just fuckin’ mean. 

I don’t want to say that they’ve peaked, that they can still move forward with this but it’s awfully hard to make that argument right now.  This is a team that has already seemed to regress, to fold in on itself and now the weight of it all, of the past, of the failure, of the expectations, of our own dreams as they fade, fade, fade into a panicked oblivion, is pressing down on us all and it’s kind of hard to breathe down here and oh Jesus, oh God, is this it?  Is this really all we get? 

The stark, naked horror of this is enough to make even the most stalwart among us go mad.  I don’t know what to do with myself as a fan.  I don’t know what to believe in, what to hope for.  There is a part of me right now that just feels . . . gone.  As if all there is left to do is detach, to just watch from some ghostly realm while the Failure Demons eat what’s left of me as a fan.  I just sort of sneered as Matthew Stafford stumbled, looking like a clumsy donkey, and then was sacked to end the game today and the worst part of it all was that it felt so familiar, that sneering sort of disgust and the sickening horror of that is that the familiarity is one that I vowed I would never feel again as a fan and yet here I am, sneering, disgusted and what happened?  Oh Lord, what happened?

Last week, the great Lions wave in my heart crested and broke somewhere in Tennessee, and now all there is left to do is try, somehow, not to drown as the wave collapses back on me.  That is, I fear, all that I have left to look forward to for a while as a fan, just trying to survive, just trying to make sure that my bloated fan corpse won’t show up on some distant beach, beaten beyond recognition, lungs filled with water, unrecognizable, just another forgotten body, something that used to be a person, that used to have feelings and hopes and dreams.

This has become maudlin and vaguely ridiculous but I don’t care.  Fuck you.  I am broken and there are no instructions on how to put myself back together again.  There are just pieces and parts and there are vultures picking at them in this, the desert of the damned and Oh God.  Oh God.


Marc said...

After I watched todays Universal sized fuck up of a debacle....

I came to question some of the very same things....

Actually....these questions arose with me last season, but I let them go becuz they were winnin'. But even then, when the offense would start slow and come back....I knew they couldn't make a habit of doin' so....

I see no heart. No focus. No physical play. I also have to wonder if inflated little egos from what they did last year have reared their ugly heads....???

Whatever the problems U have stated Neil....way too many of them for this team to overcome....

And like I have said....this team seems more middle of the pack than anything else. Somewhere stuck in that muddled and crowded middle.

When do we get to see all 3 phases play as 1 unit....???

Will we ever....???

Neil said...

That is the eternal question and right now the answer looks like no. Maybe they'll pull it all together for a game here, a game there, like they did last year against the Chargers and Broncos but I just don't see them sustaining it over a period of several games. In fact, the idea of that right now seems almost absurd and I'll be right back I have to punch this wall a bunch of times.

Anonymous said...

I think that everything that has happened this season has come down to coaching. I feel like the coaches chose to abandon their identity to fit an ideal mold.

Offensively, they play conservatively the entire game until they are backed into a corner. Then, all of a sudden, we see the fireworks and the talent that our playmakers have. It is always just a little too late.

Defensively, I just do not see the heart. One of the things that gave us that 9-0 run that you mentioned was pure hustle. Every time someone was tackled on the field it felt like the entire defense was in on the tackle. I just do not see the drive anymore.

Special teams makes me want to vomit. I'll leave it at that.

I was a believer this offseason. I believed we were a changed team. I believed we were a playoff team. At a minimum I believed I would never again have to feel the despair that I have felt for the past decade. But, that feeling crept up inside of me today.

Now, all I have left this season is hope. I just don't know if that is enough. I already feel the apathy where I just go through the motions and look forward to next year. Goddammit I hate this.

Neil said...

"Goddammit I hate this."

"Goddammit I hate this."

"Goddammit I hate this."

"Goddammit I hate this."

"Goddammit I hate this."

"Goddammit I hate this."

"Goddammit I hate this."

"Goddammit I hate this."

"Goddammit I hate this."

"Goddammit I hate this."

Angus Osborne said...

In the words of Eric Idle:

"Some things in life are bad
They can really make you mad
Other things just make you swear and curse.
When you're chewing on life's gristle
Don't grumble, give a whistle
And this'll help things turn out for the best"

Anyway. There's the easy part of the schedule done, now for a rest, regroup and ready for the hard part.

Neil said...

Monty Python is the only thing that can save us now... *is smashed by a giant foot*

CJ said...

I am sad.

Dave M said...

The worst part about all of this is that I don't know how to stop. I don't know how to remove myself from this god awful situation and root for a different fucking team. I mean there's other teams I like, but none that can touch the Lions and my rabid fandom for them.

And why? I don't get anything in return. Unless you count the taunting from the fans of teams that are good (and I live in Wisconsin, overrun by the green and gold and just far enough south to get all the damn Bears rejects, too. It blows.)

I'm sure it's this way for a lot of people, but the Lions are like one of the only hobbies I have. I don't have the money or know how to work on cars, I don't know how to work with wood, they don't let people out of college actually play sports... I have the Lions and I pride myself on researching and knowing shit about them.

It's kind of a sad existence when you put so much time into something and it's just so awful. I'm still going to follow and watch, but I think it's time to go buy some saw's and shit. At least building a bench or something will make me feel like I didn't waste so much time.

Neil said...

Yes CJ, Sad am I as well.

Neil said...


Man, you said it. It's not like I even know how to turn away. I just watch the train slowly crash and the cars all crumple together while people burn alive and scream and oh god the horror, the horror.

I just want it to be better and I want to believe in the future again because without belief this becomes an exercise in self-abuse more than anything.

Raven Mack said...

Welcome to me last week. The Redskins actually won this week but I didn't pay attention, cut the game on in the 4th quarter and was as interested as possible without ever getting excited. I assumed the worst would happen and when it didn't, I took no joy in that. I just cut off the TV and ate dinner.
I know I will struggle with taking the emotionality out of it, but dammit fuck the bullshit. Why let something I can't control control me?

Neil said...

Raven, why is this happening?

Marc said...

I just had to come back to say whats been on my mind....a day removed from Yesterdays considerable letdown....

Somethin' tells me I may be speakin' for others who post here....but I think I might be able to some up what I've been thinkin' this way....

I had a great deal of expectation in this team. Its still there....but what I had to do was remind myself of last season and the season before that and so on....

I allowed my expectations to get somewhat higher for The Lions becuz of what they accomplished last far they had come....admittedly, I got kinda caught up in the glimpses of dominance they would show....

What I had to realize is that they are not there yet....obviously....*

They have weaknesses to strengthen and whatever schemes to fit personnel they want on the field. In short....they are still very much a young team that is still learnin'....

I guess what disappointed me most....*so far....*, is the lack of progression. The funk they are in from the playcallin', to Stafford on down.

I am willin' to give it a couple more years and some more patience....*plenty of brews and my best to keep a positive outlook*.

I got caught up in "the right now". I have to remember that there is a long term plan in place. And the right now in me wants much more than that well....right now.

But I don't think its too much to ask that this team play with a helluva lot more passion and Heart. Not lookin' like wounded little cubs who have lost their way in The Jungle.

I just hope that our angst, patience and frustration with this organization pays off sooner than later....

Neil said...

Right, it's the lack of progress that is just whipping my ass. In fact, they seem to be regressing. I'm not talking about scheme or playcalling or any of that shit but in terms of their cohesiveness as a team/their mental game/all those little things that bridge the gap from talent to wins. The talent is there - for the most part, they still have holes but then again who doesn't? - but that talent never seems to grow. I'm not asking for sheer dominance, just basic competence and in several fundamental areas they're still playing like a team full of rookies with a first year coach, which, uh, this is year number FOUR of the Jim Schwartz era. Granted, coming back from 0-16 makes it almost impossible to calibrate where this team should be and Stafford's injuries rocked the timeline further, but in year number four if all those little niggling things still haven't snapped into place then why the fuck would they in year 5 or year 6 or... you get the point.

I was so hopeful, not because this was a dominant team last year or because they were even a good team the year before that but because I was sure that all those little things would catch up to the talent. I was in love with the future and yet when I look at them today they are still that same team of talented fuck-ups. My hope, my belief was based on the presumption that all this shit would be cleared up once the team grew together. Instead, it just lingers, like a stale fart and nobody - no one, not the team's leaders, not its coaches, not Jim Schwartz - has shown the ability to do one goddamn thing about it.

There is a lot to like, a lot to get behind, a lot to believe in, but it all means nothing if that missing piece can't be fixed and right now I see no reason why it will.

That is an enormously hard thing to write. Nobody wants to shit 0n Jim Schwartz. I don't. I want to believe in Schwartz. I want to love him. I want him to be The Man who leads us to the promised land. I want this so very badly but I refuse to become a slave to delusions built on an altar of fear. I'm not going to convince myself that this is working just because I need it to or because I'm too afraid of the alternative. The Lions are a fucking mess and there is simply no excuse for that shit at this point. It reminds me of - here we go - the Rich Rod era at Michigan. It was so full of promise, so full of potential and I went down with that goddamn ship. I believed in it until nearly the very end, contorted myself every which way I could in order to make it work in my head and in my heart and then one day it fucking sucked when I had to admit to myself that it was broken and that it wasn't going to get better.

Now obviously the two situations aren't exactly the same, although there are similarities - both Rich Rod and Schwartz took over and had to rebuild programs/teams that had cratered, both worked from an early talent deficit, and both had teams that constantly fucked up all the little things. I'm not there yet with Schwartz. I still think it's too early to definitively say that but goddamn, it's not that far off and I'm not going to contort myself and the truth just because I need to believe in him. My eyes are wide open and the possibility that he is not The One is at least on the table in front of me, in front of all of us. I don't want it, I don't like it, but here we are and there it is.

HillHeeb said...

I don't understand this sport well enough to suggest what is wrong, but I'm pretty sure everyone should have been fucking whipped with a belt before the first pre season game.

Also I feel like THIS is actually make or break. Oh well the 49ers are the best, oh well the Tennessee game was bizarre, those can be written off. Losing to those dogshit awful Vikings with their worthless, pathetic QuarterBack, a team that could only score off Pass Interference penalties and special teams, should be the wakeup call.

Lions are a bad team. I've seen far worse teams in other sports turn it around. Schwartz may or may not be the man, but I'll be goddamned if he is the reason Brandon Pettigrew can't catch a pass to his hands, LeShoure fumbles on his only break, and the expensive, super-talented defensive line is just there to make up the numbers.

Neil said...

Yeah, you're right. The players are ultimately responsible and Schwartz can't catch the passes, make the blocks, blah blah blah but it's his job to make sure that the dudes who are in there can. I'm not trying to slam him here. I'm really not. But I just don't want us all to get caught up in that whole denial stage where we're making excuses either. The bottom line is that the Lions are kind of a shitty team right now and goddammit, that's no fun.

Marc said...

Agreed to a point HillHeeb.

I mean I do believe earnestly that some of the responsibility falls upon the coachin' staff. But it is their job to prepare the players and for the payers themselves to go out and execute.

Thats what makes how this team has looked so damn hard to figure....

We've seen the talent on this team make big plays in the past. In all 3 phases. Yet again....where is the consistency. I don't want to get into a pointin' fingers rant I simply see it as theres enuf blame to go around for the organization itself.

Neil....I dig what Ur sayin'. I really do bro. This team gets no excuses. Too much time, money and so on for them to display the fuckery they have on the filed with the fundamentals. Tacklin'. Communication. Assignments and the entire lot.

Maybe Schwartz was simply the dude to come in and get things turned around....which I believe he has. It could very well be possible that it will take some1 else to come in and take this team to the next level....

My only issue with that would be....its too much like a crap system to learn, personnel, schemes, and so on....

Like U, I'd say the jury is still out on that1....but def worth the discussion....