Please delete the NFC North in 2013. Delete the 46 years of Lion’s fandom I have suffered through. Delete the time I have wasted hoping and wondering when all of my time could have been so much better spent in other areas. Delete this horrible recording from my DVR. And with all due respect to not wishing unemployment on any fellow human being especially at this time of year, please delete Jim Schwartz as the Lions head coach after 5 years!
Today I decided to go visit my Mom and go to yoga class instead of staying home and torturing myself by watching the Lion’s do or die game live time like I would have normally done. I am very pleased with my decision on so many levels. After it was all said and done though I managed to get home about 6:30 p.m. and I had no idea what had happened in any of the NFL games on this day. Sheepishly I cued up my DVR and started watching the Lions vs. Giants game while unpacking and cleaning up around the house.
Last night we had some trouble with the DVR and it kept freezing and stuttering while we were trying to watch Christmas with the Kranks which turned out to be an equally terrible decision as to watching the Lion’s game. Eventually we gave up on the recording with no idea how the movie ended and went on to listening to Christmas music and wrapping presents.
After watching the first half of the Lion’s game I considered the same option with the team’s offense freezing and stuttering but what can I say? I’m a Lion’s fan and I am oh so used to being teased so I continued on into the second half and much to my surprise I was at moments pleased with what I saw! The fussy DVR continued to freeze up but each time I’d reload the recording, fast forward and rewind until I found the spot I left off and continue watching. Much to my wondering eyes there appeared a few quick strikes. A defensive sack for a safety and all of a sudden my Lions were up by a touchdown in the fourth quarter much like they have been every week for the last six weeks even though they lost four of those previous five. Could I expect the same? Possible if not probable I thought!
As things unfolded it could not have been a more appropriate ending to yet another season, yet another hope and yet another coaching team. It’s done….I’m done…and as the Detroit News has already so totally pronounced it they are done! As the game wound down and went into overtime I watched and wondered and maybe even hoped but all along I knew it would end in futilty. Since I had to program my DVR from my phone I failed to be able to enter extended time in case the game went into overtime but on the onset I didn’t really worry about that. I mean really? This is the same New York Giants team that got shutout at home against the Seattle Seahawks 23-0 last week. Surely the Lions would be able to dispose of them in Detroit with the home field crowd with no concern of extra minutes, right?
Wrong! As the overtime started I stayed committed and watched on through a controversial fumble call. Through a stalled drive. Through an almost field goal attempt by the Giants that was thwarted by a defensive stop and the guess what? The recording ran out. I toggled back and forth a few times to see if I could eek out an extra minute of recording but then ultimately wound up with the same message. The recording was over and I had to decide if I should delete the recording yes or no. It was a simple decision but oh so profound in so many other ways! “Yes, Delete”…please for God’s sake delete!
I then turned to my Iphone to find out the result already knowing that the Packers had lost and with a Bears loss the Lions would be back in control of their own playoff destiny. With excited and guarded interest I saw the Lion’s final score. Giants 23 – Lions 20. Oh so expected and surprisingly not so painful. Why? Because at least I know that we have reached another end as Lion’s fans. The same end we reached in 2000 with Bobby Ross. In 2002 with Marty Mornhinweg. In 2005 with Steve Mariucci. In 2008 with Rod Marinelli. What’s next? We can only hope a guy named Bill (Cower) or John (Gruden) can be coaxed out of a comfy broadcast booth or perhaps we’ll get another flier like Bill O’Brien from Penn State? I say who cares!
In an interview I re-read with Jim Schwartz in 2008 he said his friends said he would be committing career suicide if he took the Lion’s job but he knew otherwise. You know what I think committing coaching suicide is? I think it’s spiking your headset after beating a bad Redskin’s team to move to an unimportant 2-1 record in 2013? Or chasing your fellow tool-bag coach Jim Harbaugh off the field like a raging lunatic because he slapped your back too hard because you were taunting him during the game as you lost your first game of 2011 to him when you thought you were invincible? Or possibly it is that recent moment of swearing at the fans as they booed your team because it was going into overtime in week 15 of the 2013 against a 5-9 Giants team that had come back to tie them in the fourth quarter? Or maybe it’s all the times you patted a player on the back of the helmet after they took a stupid personal foul penalty instead of benching them like Bill Belichick your mentor would have done?
You see I learned a long time ago from one of my mentors in my business that when things aren’t going right “the fish stinks from the head down” ….and with that being said, Jim Schwartz stinks! I’m sure he’s probably not a bad person. In fact I can see his work ethic and his passion and I bet he has a lot of friends who admire and respect him. But as a NFL head coach he has failed most probably because he was a little too arrogant, a little too unwilling to learn from his mistakes and way to caught up in the moment of being Jim Schwartz the guy who was going to do it with bravado and style and maybe just maybe he missed the humble train when it was needed. I’d say his players have been pretty much the same way and that’s why it’s been so hard for me to be a Lion’s fan these last couple of years. I’m embarrassed by the mistakes and the dirty team tag that has been allowed to be cultivated if maybe not even encouraged. I’m sad that NFL pundits as smart as John Gruden have said that the team has Super Bowl level talent but no discipline. Nobody seems to to make me want to feel good about the future and I fear that all this talent may grow to old before anybody holds them accountable to be better than they are on Sunday, or Thursday, or Monday or any other day that I give up my time to hope and wonder and root…
See I root for the name on the front of the jersey and I always will, regardless of the name on the back. I can only hope that names like Stafford, Suh and Johnson have a chance to make me cheer for them in a playoff game before their window too has closed without a deep playoff run like the likes of Sanders, Moore and Porcher.
I hate to say I saw this coming years ago but maybe I did? I was looking back over my old emails earlier today before I went to visit my Mom instead of watching the game. I found a gem I wrote a while back before blogging came into my life. Maybe I’ll post it in a follow up blog. I believe I sent it to Jim Schwartz via email and snail mail both the day after they lost to the New York Jets in OT to fall to 2-6 in the 2010 season. I put a lot of thought and time into the message and you know what? I never got a response. Now I’m sure busy NFL coaches have way too many things to do to respond to emails from fans. Busy with things like trying to keep personal fouls to a minimum, avoiding turnovers and figuring out when to use timeouts and throw red flags. Who knows maybe next year I’ll finally get a response if Mr. Schwartz won’t be as busy? I guess time will tell…