I have no idea what to expect on Sunday. None.
I’ve started ¾ of my posts like that this season and yeah, I’m sick of it too but that is the strange and terrible world we live in and so what the hell am I supposed to do? This is a savage purgatory we find ourselves trapped in, neither lousy enough to double down on The Grim and start perversely entertaining ourselves with maudlin soap-operas about monkeys eating Rod Marinelli’s colostomy bag and wailing songs to soothe the rage of our idiot souls, nor good enough to press forward with an agenda of Hope and sunshine and rainbows and candy and blowjobs and puppies and puppies giving blowjobs. There is nothing definitive about it. It is neither heaven nor hell. Instead it is just . . . purgatory.
I feel trapped. I don’t like feeling trapped. I have no idea if the Lions will beat the Packers on Sunday or if they will lose by twenty, and what’s worse is that I’m not sure it matters even if they do win. I’m suffering from a goddamn existential crisis as a fan here. This season feels like it is without meaning and there is a stark, naked sense of horror that accompanies that realization.
I used to love this team. They seemed like they were having fun, fighting the demons of the past with us, and as soon as they grew up and became men the world would explode with colors we never knew existed. Today, I hate half the team. They seem petulant, vaguely hung-over week after week and it has become clear that many of them will never grow up. They will remain rambunctious little boys, their promise twisted into something gross and ugly, wastrels living off a barely earned reputation, squeezing every last drop they can from a tiny, tiny stone. In short, they seem to have contracted the dreaded Lions Disease.
Yes, it’s true. In my expert medical opinion (I spent 7 years at an unpronounceable medical school in the Yucatan, treating natives two days a month for various blow-dart related maladies and the other 28 or 29, depending on the month, carrying on like Caligula on the beaches of Cancun and Playa del Carmen. On Sundays we’d take a boat out to Cozumel and we’d have an orgy. A native girl would be sacrificed to the old gods and we’d drink her blood and the knowledge of her family would thus become infused with ours and then on Monday morning we’d take the boat back to the mainland and heal the sick so don’t you dare question my medical pedigree.) the current Lions have been infected with the same highly contagious disease that has plagued Lions Land for the last half-century. Perhaps we needed to be more vigilant in our eradication efforts when we went in with a flamethrower and torched the place after the Great Plague of 2008. Sure, we hacked the Millen host into a billion little pieces and then shot them into the sun but we allowed certain carriers to persist, the Raiolas, the Backuses, etc. Perhaps it was out of some misplaced desire to be merciful, perhaps we were merely too naïve . . . who can say for sure? All I know is that we failed and now that disease is spreading once again and once it starts there is nothing that can be done.
That is the closest I have come to declaring this whole thing a failure, and that might seem like a hysterical overreaction, but frankly I am not interested in justifying how I feel anymore. We have been through this too many times before and I’m not going to pretend. No sir. This is all so much bullshit and it fucking stinks and anyone who says that it doesn’t is either an incurable optimist who will never, ever admit these horrible truths or they’re clinically insane masochists. Possibly both. If you’re one of those who is an incurable optimist, I tip my cap to you. You are a good person and I wish you nothing but the best. Your pursuit of happiness even in the face of madness is to be commended. But most of us can’t take this shit. Most of us believe that we deserve something better, that constantly moving the goalposts inward in order to justify Belief is not The Way, that we shouldn’t have to constantly recalibrate our expectations in order to remain upbeat and positive.
At what point is enough enough? At what point do you just say no, I’m not going to do this vile shit anymore? At what point do you stop breaking yourself into pieces and then reassembling it all into something grotesque and monstrous, a cruel mockery of something beautiful and pure and true? Because even though Frankenstein’s monster walked like a man, breathed like a man and even occasionally made grunting noises like a man, he was not a man. He was a resurrected corpse, hastily and monstrously stitched together and reanimated with insanity in order to fulfill the desperate needs of a mad scientist too broken to understand and accept reality. Well, we are Frankenstein’s monster, hideous and broken, twisted and ugly, a horrible mockery of the real thing, staggering through the village, drowning children and grunting that we still believe in . . . in . . . I don’t even know what. Certainly not the present. The Lions will be lucky to finish 7-9 given the way they have played so far and the brutal schedule which awaits them. Is 7-9 in year four worthy of our fake plastic smiles?
Is it the future? Is that what we’re supposed to place our Hope and Faith in? Because from everything I see and everything I feel the window to that future has pretty much slammed shut. Call me hysterical. Tell me I’m overreacting. Frankly my dear I don’t give a fuck. These guys just don’t get it. They. Just. Don’t. Get. It. Ndamukong Suh doesn’t get it. Nick Fairly doesn’t get it. Titus Young doesn’t get it. And worse, Matthew Stafford might not get it. Jim Schwartz really doesn’t fucking get it. Here is something incredibly harsh left by Lord Anonymous in the comments section following last week’s shitfest against the Vikings:
“How about we not sugar coat this team anymore. I'll go to the old saying if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it's a duck. This team is not that talented period. Suh is overrated, Stafford is regressing, and his mechanics are horrendous. Titus can't beat one on one coverage and if he does it's a 50-50 chance he'll actually catch the ball. There running backs are average, there offensive line is a pass blocking line that can not consistently run against 6 or 7 man fronts. Their secondary, I don't even need to comment on, but lastly the coaching. The Lions game after game continue to make the same mental errors. The scheme is predictable, and easy to game plan against. And I don't think they really coach these guys, I think there is a lot of atta boy, nice unnecessary side arm throw off your back foot with no defensive lineman near you. Instead of nice td but why the fuck are you throwing like Vince Young? This team deserves their record and will finish 7-9 the end.”
That’s brutal as hell but fuck, somebody had to say it. And, well, I’m saying it now. This is not senseless fear-mongering, the kind of chicken-little bullshit that some people pull out of their asses every chance they get. You know the ones I’m talking about. Fuck them, but fuck this shit too. This is a response to everything we’ve seen, not just this season, but last season too. I loved last season. I’ve said that all along and I stand by it. I loved it for what it promised, for everything that it hinted at. But some people are retroactively using it like a goddamn live preserver, acting like that was everything we ever wanted all along. And hey, maybe they did, but not me. I always wanted more. I loved it because it seemed like A Good Start. But good starts don’t mean a whole hell of a lot if you trip two meters into the race and fall down and slam your face into the track, you know? And that’s what the Lions have done.
What I am sick of is the coddling Lord Anonymous mentioned, the oh, it’s okay boys, just stay the course. Fuck that bullshit. You can’t be so easy on yourself. You can’t allow yourself to get away with being anything less than what you can be. That is a failure of spirit and if there is anything we value over all else here at Armchair Linebacker it is Spirit and the Spirit Warriors who embody it. I’m sick of this shit. Just fucking sick of it. I’m sick of following a loser ass team that never fucking learns anything, that mewls and bitches at reporters and lashes out at its own fans and refuses to take responsibility for the fact that it is walking around with a load of shit in its britches.
You won 10 games and made the playoffs. You came back to life from 0-16. Congratulations! We’re all real proud of you. But right now you sound a lot like the asshole who writes a modestly successful first novel, gets congratulated by the literati and then spends the next several years fucking around, getting high with friends, pissing away his advance for his next book, and then blowing up whenever anyone asks him what the fuck he’s up to. “Leave me alone, can’t you see I’m a genius??? I wrote a fucking book!” Yes you did, and now it’s time to write another and nobody gives a shit what you did yesterday because today you are just an example of wasted potential and people have no time for that shit. You are a fucking has-been.
Again, hysterical overreaction, blah blah blah. The world of sport moves at ludicrous speed. If you don’t understand that then you simply haven’t been paying any attention. You can be an up and coming team at the end of one season and a cautionary tale half a season later. It sucks but that’s the way it is. Whining about it and complaining that it’s not fair is fucking meaningless. It doesn’t matter how it should be, it matters how it actually is.
But . . . but . . . but nothing. No. No buts. The longer we continue to excuse this shit, to coddle, to give this goddamn team an exit strategy every time it fails in its simple task, which in the world of sport is to get the job done, to win the goddamn games, we perpetuate this disgusting and vile Lions Disease. We feed into it. Lions fans making excuses today sound like Lions fans making excuses in 2007. They sound like Lions fans in 2002, in 1996, in 1986, in 1976, in . . . you get the point.
I am still open to the possibility that this thing can get turned around, but it will take a lot of hard work by the coaches and the players, hard work that frankly none of them seem all that interested in doing. It’s a hell of a lot easier to talk about your supposed dominance, to gibber about your potential and the way things should be than to actually look in the goddamn mirror and realize that you’ve still got a long ways to go. Ndamukong Suh is an asshole. He just is. So is Dominic Raiola. Quit acting persecuted because some anonymous GM has the temerity to call them out on their bullshit. That persecution horseshit just continues to feed the beast. That fucking GM is right. These guys act like assholes and then whine and throw a hissy fit whenever anyone says they need to grow the fuck up. That is quintessential Lions Disease right there. It’s fucking textbook. Grow the fuck up, shut the fuck up and just play some goddamn good football.
You don’t like what I’m saying here? Well neither do I. I fucking hate it. I hate it with the power of a billion suns. I want so very much to love this team but they make it damn near impossible. I’m not sitting here screaming BLOW UP THE MOON or anything like that because here’s the thing: that’s not gonna fix anything either. And that’s the horrible place we find ourselves in, this depressing purgatory. There doesn’t seem like there’s a way forward and I’ll be damned if I’m going backward and so all that’s left to do is just sit down and bawl my eyes out I guess. Actually, you know what? That’s not entirely true. There is a way forward. It involves each and every one of these cocksuckers looking in the mirror, slapping themselves in the face and realizing that they have to get to fucking work, that they have to stop congratulating themselves because they pulled themselves and us out of the muck of 0-16. You did good kids, now it’s time to take that next step into the real world. It’s time to grow the fuck up. You want to know how to fix this? That’s how you fucking fix this. Each and every player, coach, ball-boy, executive, janitor, Schwartz’s ball-washer . . . everybody, they have to take it upon themselves to be better than what they are, to stop forgiving themselves for being less than what they are. It’s not working and it’s up to all of them to make it work. Not us. We can’t do it and I’m sick of people pretending like if we just keep a smile on our face that everything will end up alright. It’s time for the Lions to man the fuck up already and everything else be damned. This is not about drunk driving arrests or classless behavior or any of that horseshit. I don’t care about any of that. Let me repeat: I DON’T CARE ABOUT ANY OF THAT. What I do care about is that these guys are a bunch of fuck-ups ON THE FIELD. Act like a goddamn savage off the field. Eat a baby. I don’t care. As long as you win. Win, win, win, win, WIN. That is the only thing that matters. Everything else is just so much noise, and if you can’t do that, well . . . then you’re just a part of the noise, and Lions Disease, if nothing else, is exceedingly noisy.
So . . . do the Lions win on Sunday? Fuck if I know. And really, that’s what this whole damn thing has boiled down to: fuck if I know. And that sucks, Beavis. It really, really sucks.