Once upon a time there was a boy. Let’s call him Matthew Stafford.
This boy was gifted with a pudgy face that never aged and an arm that could throw an aerobie over his high school and the soccer field behind it. When he came of age, Matthew Stafford was adopted by a group of losers and street urchins known as the Detroit Lions.
“Wassup?” said the Detroit Lions.
“Wassup?” said Matthew Stafford. And a true partnership was born. Forged in the candle-fires of failure and mediocrity. “You guys any good at American Football?” Matthew Stafford asked.
“Not yet,” said the Detroit Lions. “But we have a secret weapon.”
“Oh yeah?” said Matthew Stafford. “What’s that?”
“Our secret weapon is that we’re getting a new Jim.”
“A new gym?”
“No, a new Jim. We’re going to fire our dickhead coach named Jim and replace him with a mute turnip named Jim.”
“No shit?” Asked Matthew Stafford.
“No shit,” said The Detroit Lions.
“Neat,” said Matthew Stafford. “But what if dickhead Jim goes to another team as, like, the defensive coordinator and builds an amazing defense out of sticks and twine?” ssked Matthew Stafford.
“He won’t, don’t worry.”
“How are you guys so sure?” asked Matthew Stafford.
“We’re The Detroit Lions,” said The Detroit Lions. “We’re almost always right.”
“I trust you guys,” said Matthew Stafford.
“Good, because we have one more present for you, which should make us pretty good at American Football.”
“A running back?” guessed Matthew Stafford.
“Ha ha! You’re funny!” said The Detroit Lions. “Don’t worry about the running back position. We’ll just bring in an overhyped scat back and pay him like a feature back or something, even though we have a masher behind him with better hands, more skill and an ability to run between the tackles.”
“Sounds like you guys have it all figured out,” said Matthew Stafford.
“We sure do,” said The Detroit Lions. “No, your present is the best receiver in the league!”
“Ohmygosh!” said Matthew Stafford. “Really? Can I keep him? Honest?”
“You sure can. And not only can you keep him, but we want you to throw to him on virtually every play. Double coverage, triple coverage, it doesn’t matter. Just huck it up and make sure he gets hit like crazy. That way we can turn a long hall of fame career into a short hall of fame career.”
“But shouldn’t we try to keep him healthy?”
“That’s what other teams would do, sure. But that’s why we’re different. We think outside the box,” said The Detroit Lions.
“Whoa!” admitted Matthew Stafford. “You guys are like on another level.”
“You can say that again,” said the Detroit Lions.
And so it was that out of a system of failure and mediocrity, the Detroit Lions began to emerge. Mute Turnip Jim seemed to really know what he was doing. It’s true, their number one wide receiver looked like Treebeard out there for most of the season, when he wasn’t having his leg tendons resutured, but they had cannily picked up a Golden Tate in free agency, and endeavored to get him hit as much as possible, just like their number one receiver.
“I’m great at gettin’ hit!” said Golden Tate. “I’m also great at lying about committing offensive pass interference in the endzone against the Packers!”
“You had us at lying,” said The Detroit Lions.
Fast forward to this past weekend. Wild Card Weekend. When all the proverbial NFL chickens come home to roost. We had some amazing matchups on the docket:
The piss-inflated losing record NFC South Champion Carolina Panthers against the mighty team from Arizona that had no quarterback.
The never-won a damn thing shock of red hair Bengals and their 28th ranked defense with their one amazing player on the sidelines versus the Italian Job of NFL teams, the Indianapolis Colts. A team juuuust good enough to almost not win anything of real significance.
The runningbackless Pittsburgh Steelers and their break but don’t bend defense versus the awe-inspiring douchebag Baltimore Ravens and their unpress coverage secondary.
Ooooooh! What a docket! Let me git ma popcorn ready!
A quick sidebar on the Ravens. I HATE the Ravens. I thought it was because I hated Ray Lewis and therefore any franchise that would allow him to do his inane “dance” every time he came out of the tunnel, but no. He’s gone. I love Ozzie Newsome. I really like Joe Flacco so why hate the Ravens? I think it might be the colors. God those colors are awful. Purple and black? It’s like the paint job in a failed 1998 dance club bathroom. It might be the coach. It might be their brand of swagger. It might be how owner Steve Bisciotti chooses to product-subdue his hair a la Pat Riley.
And it might be the Ray Rice of it all, but truthfully, I always liked Ray Rice before he was found out. I want to hate Terrell Suggs because he seems like a complete asshole on the field, but then you see photos like this and it makes you think that maybe he’s not so bad.
Plus, he called Skip Bayless a douchebag to his face on national TV and that has to count for something.
I’m not sure why I hate the Ravens, but I do. Maybe it’s as simple as the fact that they went out and got Steve Smith in free agency and Steve Smith is a dick. Much has been made of his tenacity, but this guy is a dick, and he fits right in on the Ravens, which seems chock full ‘o dicks. You know how you know someone is a dick? Because they act like a dick. It’s not rocket science. It’s like the old adage if you bump into an asshole in the morning, you bumped into an asshole. If you bump into assholes all day, you’re the asshole. Anyway, the Ravens are a bunch of pricks. That’s the story I’m going with.
So, this past weekend, with that amazing lineup of football, only the Lions at the Cowboys looked to be a game worth watching, and frankly, it didn’t disappoint. Boy-faced Matthew Stafford came out firing, leading The Detroit Lions to two first quarter touchdowns and the rout was on!
But wait! Theses are The Detroit Lions we’re talking about. There’s no rout. There’s only mediocrity and failure, remember?
“I dedicate the first half to Charles Rodgers and Mike Williams and Joey Harrington!” yelled a jubilant Matthew Stafford at halftime.
After a super impressive start, The Detroit Lions faded, scoring only three second half points and fumbling not once, but twice in the final coulda-been game winning drive. Game losing drives? Well, that’s just Detroit Lions football right there.
A loud minority of fans will blame the officiating for the debacle, but the sad fact is that The Detroit Lions aren’t ready for primetime. They have no X factor. They have no real identity and their fearsome defensive line will be dismantled after this season. That may actually be a good thing as they will part ways with Ndamukong Suh, a cancer who does things like this.
Sigh. What a cock.
This weekend in American Football looks much more promising, though.
This is what playoff matchups are supposed to look like. These teams have a visceral dislike for one another, and though the Patriots are favored at home, if there’s a single team that knows how to beat the Patriots in the playoffs in Foxboro, it’s the Ravens. Because they’ve done it twice in recent years (and it should have been three times). Look for a spirited battle. If the Patriots are destined to advance, it’s poetic that the football gods make them earn it by going through the Ravens. Go go Bisciotti hair!
This one should be a slaughter, but there’s also a bit of upset special sauce riding on this one. How do you win championships? Run and play defense. It can be that simple. And that’s exactly what the world champion Seahawks do. Run and play defense. So do the Panthers. Might the ‘Hawks be hoisted by their own petard? We’ll see.
If the real slim shady stands up this should be a fantastic game. The problem is that the Cowboys generally have no idea how to beat the Packers. One might hope that a ball control, plodding, clock-controlling run game might do the trick, but Aaron Rodgers can connect with Jordy Nelson and score from anywhere on the field with little or no time on the clock. All he needs is his lucky beard nearby and he’ll get you points.
At the beginning of the season I made fun of how Eddie Lacy looks like he runs as if he’s wearing a poopie diaper and since then he must have bought some Tommy Johns because he’s running like Marshawn Lynch. Look at how many dudes it takes to bring him down.
That’s the kind of running game that championship teams have. Hopefully we see two great run games on Sunday.
Ah, a rematch of the veritable “War of 1812.” Young Peyton Manning vs Old Peyton Manning. One QB with a hall of fame career ahead of him and one with a hall of fame career behind him. Is it the old stallion or the young buck? Would you believe that the Indy offense is ranked 3rd, ahead of the Broncos offense? Back in September (god that feels like a long time ago) the Broncos beat the Colts 31-24. Does Peyton have enough Gatorade & Papa John’s left to power his noodle arm to one more victory? Nothing beats that new car smell. We’ll find out Sunday.
And that’s where we are in American Football. It’s going to be a great divisional round. See y’all next week.