Yashinsky: Lions Sacked by a Pizza

September 25, 2013, 8:48 AM by  Joey Yashinsky

The Detroit Lions franchise has had its share of misfortune over the years.

They’ve lost heartbreaking playoff games in the final moments (vs. GB in ’94).  They have seen a quarterback (Dan Orlovsky) voluntarily run out the back of his end zone, and continue on as if the play were still live. 

They have given the ball away willingly to start an overtime period.  And unless the Jacksonville Jaguars keep up their stunning level of ineptitude, the 2008 Lions will continue to stand as the only team in NFL history to lose all 16 games in a season.

Brought Down by Mozzarella

But until yesterday, they had never been brought down by mozzarella.

At about three in the morning, Nate Burleson, the Lions’ steady veteran coming off his best game in years, crashed into a highway median trying to save a sliding pizza from taking a tumble.  For most players or teams, you’d say this sounds like pure fiction; like when San Francisco Giants’ all-star Jeff Kent snapped his wrist wrecking his motorcycle, but claimed it occurred while washing his truck. 

But for the Detroit Lions, it’s par for the course; completely plausible and only slightly unexpected.

How exactly did this happen, though?  Burleson makes his living by being sure handed; by snaring an oblong-shaped object, thrown like a laser, surrounded by larger men intent on doing him bodily harm.  And he comes out of that like a champ. 

But a couple of pizza pies?  That’s a different story.

I Know About Transporting Za

Now I would never dream of telling a professional football player how to do his job.  He has played the game since his youth, perfected the skills in college, and maintained a career at the highest level.  I do, however, know a thing or two about transporting a za.

The placement is not the issue here.  The pizza box has always fit safely and cozily into the welcoming arms of the passenger seat; for a single pie, that is.  If you’re trying to carry two babies (yes, they are that precious) at once, simply stacking and steering is not good enough.  Now the top pizza is left unprotected.  Any sudden turn or lane change could send that medium mushroom & onion skidding off the end of the earth. 

That is why you must take proper precaution and plan your journey ahead of time.  By all means, get creative.  For instance,  nobody ever said the two pizzas had to stay together.  One up front and one in the back can work perfectly fine. 

Don't Forget the Trunk

Let’s not forget the trunk, either.  I understand you want to have the little guy in sight at all times, but it’s not necessary.  Pin him up against one wall, with a heavy softball bag offering support from the other side, and he’s not moving a muscle back there. 

It might sound silly, but nobody ever said seat belts were designed exclusively for human passengers.  Don’t be afraid to tuck your pizza in.  You don’t even have to use the harness; the belt portion will do the job just fine.  I know from experience.

The timing of the event was also quite peculiar.  From what I know of the metro Detroit area, there aren’t a whole lot of pizza places open for business in the wee hours of the morning.  This is Orchard Lake and 12 Mile here, not Times Square. 

So chances are these pies were not fresh.  Instead, they were very likely leftovers from the Monday Night Football viewing party Nate was coming from.  If that was the case, why not just let the pizza fall to its death??

We’re talking about scraps here.  Sure, my high school economics teacher once told me that, “Cold pizza is a bachelor’s best friend,” but that doesn’t mean you risk life and limb to preserve it.   

When the dust finally settled on this incident, Burleson was left with a broken arm.

The Lions were left without their second receiver.

And a pair of pizzas were deemed the biggest culprits of this young football season.


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