Earlier this season we had the opportunity to provide our readers with a giveaway of a Detroit Lions themed remote from DIRECTV. At the same time we encouraged you to vote for John Tracy, a Detroit Lions fan that had been named a finalist in DIRECTV’s Ultimate Displaced Fan Contest.
I received an email last week that announced John as the winner of the contest and with Lions pride welling up inside me, I got in contact with him to share more about his experience being a Lions fan living in Iowa and the contest that is sending him to the Super Bowl.
A big time thank you goes out to John for taking the time to share some of his story and including a few photos.
As a suggested prerequisite, watch John’s entry video:
Now on with the questions.
John Tracy: DIRECTV sent out a mass email which popped into my inbox one morning. That was the first I have ever heard of this promotion. On my run that morning, I started thinking more and more about it and was convinced that I was a Displaced NFL Fan. Anyone that knows me knows that I’m a huge Detroit Lions fan. We take a lot of pictures and video so I knew I could put together a pretty entertaining video for the contest. So I got home from my run and had my daughter Joclyn help me put it together that day. She’s the videographer in many of the clips:)
JT: No strategy at all. The contest was perfect for me because I genuinely love the Detroit Lions and have for 25+ years in addition to already having all the photos and video I needed to prove it. I had the video software on my system so to spend a few hours putting that together with my daughter Joclyn and son Jack was just a fun project on a Sunday morning before Lions kickoff.
ZS: Is there a story behind your decision to get your Lions tattoo?
JT: I never intended to ever get a tattoo and will never get another one but love the one I have! I had a friend call me one day while I was golfing and said he was going to go get a tattoo that night and asked if I wanted to come along. Not really thinking he was serious I said I would. I got home that night and since he lived across the street he was waiting for my arrival. He came over and got me and I stuck to my word. When we got there he got his tattoo and continued to try and convince me to get one.
Not thinking before I spoke I said I would but unfortunately I knew they didn’t have the artwork for the one I wanted. Well, he had done his homework because as he reaches into his pocket he says “you always said that if you ever got a tattoo it would be the Detroit Lions”. He then proceeded to pull out the Detroit Lion logo that he had printed off and brought with him. Being a man of my word, I went through with it and have never regretted it. It’s definitely my brand!
ZS: How were things different for you this year with the Lions finally winning more games than they lost?
JT: This year has been awesome!!! I go into every year convincing myself that the Lions can make a run for the playoffs. I always say my goal as a Lions fan is just to be mentioned “in the hunt” for the playoffs as we get to the later weeks. I get the DIRECTV NFL package so I can watch the Lions play because of the early season optimism. Usually by about week 6, 7 or 8… that optimism starts to dwindle.
The decade between 2000-2010 (aka the Millen era) was so hard because even though I watched my Lions there wasn’t a ton of excitement. You never cheer against your team but it gets hard when they have nothing to play for except draft picks. But that’s all behind us now!!! This year every game mattered! At the end of the Oakland game I started to see visions of Paul Edinger hitting that field goal back in 2000 and thinking once again we weren’t going to see the playoffs. But Suh took care of that! My quote on Facebook: This was the greatest day of NFL football in a decade! Yep… A decade!
You may recall that every other NFC North team lost that day and we would have lost a game to many we were fighting for the wild card with. And the week before against Minnesota was crazy along with so many games this year that went in our favor. My point is that every week I was so excited to watch the Lions and every win was such a high and every loss was such a blow. This is how it was for me in the 90s when we went to the playoffs more years than not and I truly feel that we are back there again!
JT: I try to make a game each year but gets tougher as my kids get older and are involved in a lot of activities. The first game I ever went to was back in 1998 and we blew a large lead in the fourth quarter to the Bears. Unfortunately I have not had much luck at Lions games and typically brought Barry Sanders bad luck too. Each game I went to he could never hit the century mark which is rare and still today I’m yet to see a Lions victory in person.
I couldn’t get to a game this year but was prepared to go to their playoff game if they would have gone to San Francisco. My brother-in-law Jason lives out there and he grew up in Michigan and also loves the Lions. That would have been perfect. I still think the Lions are playing if we had gone anywhere but New Orleans.
ZS: You get the final word, anything else you’d like to share with SideLion Report readers?
JT: I just want to say thanks again to DIRECTV for giving me (and my wife Amy) an experience of a lifetime. It’s only just started but I can imagine that the week at the Superbowl will be a life story we will talk about forever. And thank you very much to all my friends and family that voted for my video in November. Lastly, thank you Detroit Lions! There have been many weekends I know I’ve probably been cursing you but in the end being a fan of the Detroit Lions has been one of the most important aspects of my life. When people buy me gifts, I get Lions stuff. When I went to get a tattoo, I got a Lions tattoo. When I wanted vanity plates on my SUV, I went with D LIONS. I know the Lions are back (after they re-sign Megatron) and look forward to many years of playoff football. The next time I’m at the Superbowl I promise the Detroit Lions will be there too! Restore the Roar!!!