Thank You To The Detroit Lions For Being Interesting This Season
Detroit sports are awful. They really are. It's been so long since any of Detroit's professional teams have contended for a championship, and it's not really getting better. The Detroit Pistons are unwatchable. The Tigers haven't gotten the memo that you need to sign good players if you want to get better (they currently don't have a third baseman on their roster). Things seem to be looking up for the Red Wings but I'm not really that big of a hockey guy. It's hard to accurately describe how tired I am of hearing about how things will get better when we've listened to the same sentiments for almost a decade. Yet, bizarrely, the one team in Detroit this year that has provided fans with some semblance of hope has been the Lions.
I'm always skeptical about the Lions, and I won't apologize for my skepticism. They haven't won a playoff game in my lifetime, and they've had an inane ability over the last 50 years to ruin everything they touch. I've kept my distance from this current regime. I've desperately wanted success, but I've rarely gotten my hopes up. The 2022 version of the Detroit Lions won't go down as a Super Bowl contender, but they've kept me invested all year, which is more than I can say about any other professional team in Michigan. The Lions will enter the final week of the regular season with a chance to go to the playoffs. Do I think that will happen? Probably not. I've seen this movie so many times that it's engrained into my brain. But..maybe? Even if Seattle beats the Rams this weekend, the possibility of the Lions knocking Aaron Rogers out of a playoff spot is so damn enticing. But even if the Lions fail spectacularly this weekend, they'll still have done more than any Detroit team has in a while.
As much as I believe the Ford family are the worst owners in sports history, they may have finally gotten something right with the hiring of Brad Holmes. The Lions' last two drafts have been rock solid. The players that Holmes has added to this roster in the late rounds of the draft shows that he has a clear eye for talent. There is reason to be optimistic, not just about the future, but about the present. When it comes to Detroit sports, I'm tired of hearing about how good things are GOING to be. The truth is that the average fan, not weirdos like me, but the average fan, don't care about prospects. A lot of them don't even care that much about draft picks. They care about the on-field product. They care about the record. When Tigers fans told me they stopped watching the team when they started 9-23 last season, I didn't blame them. And even though the Lions got off to an abysmal 1-6 start, the second half has been a pleasant surprise. At the very least, it is interesting. I get up on Sundays excited to watch Aidan Hutchinson, James Houston, or Amon-Ra St. Brown. There's still a lock of question marks (the secondary needs a lot of work), but "bearable" feels like heaven when "unbearable" has become the norm in Detroit.
I feel like I'm living in an alternate timeline. When I got hired by Barstool, the last team in Michigan I expected to be excited about was the Lions. Even when they were "good," I couldn't even get that much into them. But something about this team has warmed my icy heart. Seeing them make the playoffs would be awesome, but they seem to be headed in the right direction, even if they don't. Maybe things are different. Please, God, let them be different. Detroit needs it.