Suck It, Deadspin: Why The Detroit Lions Don't Suck
Deadspin’s Drew Magary is breaking down all 32 NFL teams to explain why they all suck. Tuesday, he hit the Lions. The Why Your Team Sucks series has been fantastic. Compared to listening to Skip Bayless bloviating for 18 hours a day on ESPN, Magary reads like Red Smith crossed with Norman Mailer. However, with the Lions, well, no true Detroiter can allow some fancy New York City snarkster to make fun our Lions. Making fun of the Lions is our job. You don't get to do that. Only we get to do that.
As a public service in defense of our local honor, Deadline Detroit will refute Magary’s five-point case against the Lions.
1. Michigan Is Poor. Magary writes: “The only people who can afford decent Lions tickets are six mildly competent car executives living in Grosse Pointe.” In the post-bankruptcy era, most car executives are now at least mildly competent. And they don’t all live in Grosse Pointe. Some of them reside in Bingham Farms, which is where you live if you think West Bloomfield let in too many commoners.
More to the point, the fact that we are living in a wretched post-industrial wasteland isn’t a reason why the Lions suck. It’s a reason why the Lions have to be awesome. Didn’t Deadspin get the memo? Detroit’s beloved sports teams lift our weary spirits and inspire us to rise above our dismal circumstances and become great again. It’s an absurd trope, and it’s patronizing to people actually living in economic misery, but somehow that tired narrative is better than: Detroit is poors so the Lions will be 5-11 forever.
2. The Defense Is Terrible. Well sure, last year. It’s not like Ndamukong Suh will get into 47 car crashes this season. Or stomp on some guy’s neck. Right?
3. Lions = Poor Man’s Raiders. Not true! Al Davis, the Raiders long-time incompetent and out-of-touch owner, can't hurt the team any more. He died. William Clay Ford, Sr. remains perfectly capable of passing over the next Jerry Vanisi in favor of the next Chuck Schmidt, sticking with another Bobby Ross until the team’s best player eventually just retires, or deciding that maybe human colostomy bag Matt Millen should get another chance. At least for a few more years. Wait, I think I’ve accidently strengthened the Lions suck argument. You’ve won this round Deadspin!
4. We’re All Awful Racists With Terrible Accents. Magary cites Debbie Schlussel as proof of our local racist racism. Most, er, some of us think Schlussel is a morally abhorrent waste of carbon. Does that mitigate our Michissippi reputation? Maybe? A little? As for the accents, I have no idea what he’s talking about. Michiganders are the only people on the planet who speak perfectly accentless English. We win at talking!
5. Even Lions’ Fans Know The Lions Suck. We know they have sucked in the past. They sucked so hard that Barry Sanders, the greatest running back and most electric player in NFL history, decided he’d rather quit in his prime than subject his body to another few seasons of bruising Lions football.
Right now, however, if only for this glorious moment in time the Lions don’t suck. We have a legitimate quarterback for the first time since Bobby Layne, a wide receiver who commands his position like virtually no one since Barry Sanders, and a coach who does not resemble a third-rate parody of an NFL coach--i.e. not Darryl Rogers, Wayne Fontes, or Rod Marrinelli. This team is not perfect, it may not yet be a Super Bowl contender, but they are as good as the Lions have been in at least 20 years. Maybe a half-century. The Lions’ core, for the first time in the Super Bowl era, looks like it could be the core of a champion.
Also, does Deadspin understand that downtown is amazing now that Quicken saved Detroit? And Slows! I bet if they knew how fantastic Detroit is now, they wouldn’t be so quick to say the Lions suck. -- JTW