The real NFL rolls in to town Saturday Night. The Lions have sharpened their claws on the two teams from Ohio in the past few weeks, and it’s about time to see where the newly mighty Leo’s stand in that constant bare knuckle fight called the NFL.
We don’t have to wait until the first game of the season when the Lions travel to Tampa Bay in the opener. Even my MOM knows that the only pre-season game where you can honestly gauge where your team stands is the first half of the third game. In the fourth game Matthew Stafford and some of the other stars will come down with a lingering leg pain that need a weeks rest.
Remember back in 2005 when the Lions thought that they might compete that year and played the Rams on Monday night football? The head coach was Steve Mariucci–yes, he actually used to coach football before he became a permanent smile on the NFL network. Like this year, it was the all-telling third game of the pre-season when the Rams, who still resembled The Greatest Show on Turf, rolled into town and rolled up the lions like a used carpet. They had honest expectations of making the playoffs. It all fell apart like a house of cards in front of the entire country. How telling was that game? Mariucci didn’t even finish the season. He got fired after a 4-7 start, and was replaced by Dick Jauron. He hasn’t coached since.
The Lions have nearly the same expectations this year that they did that year, only more. The bandwagon carrying the Lion faithful is so crowded that they had to replace the wagon with an aircraft carrier. They sold out Ford Field for a friggin’ PRE-SEASON game. Who does that? I’ll tell you does that, a city so starved for a winner that they start showing up for tickets to the first Monday Night Football game in ten years, at 5 in the morning! Didn’t they hear about that thing called the internet? They wanted to feel those tickets in their hot little hands.
I’ll be watching this game very closely. Is this going to be a repeat of the Turkey Day slaughter last year or, is this the beginning of of a new era?
A quick shout out to Matt Stafford for inventing a new position. When he was running out of bounds last week instead of getting hit, he flipped the ball to “That guy in the third row.” He must have liked the result, because he threw him another one soon after the first one. When that ball sailed off the hands of Derrick Williams in the end zone last week, his NFL career likely went with it.
[Editor's Note: Marty's article happens to hit on the very topic I posted a poll about earlier today - be sure to vote. I love it when posts work together]