It’s that time of year again. Training camp is right around the corner and before a single snap I’m already drinking the kool-aid by the gallon. I’m usually mildly optimistic about the Detroit Lions chances when camp opens but something irrational is happening to me this year. I honestly think that the Lions have a good shot at the Super Bowl. Yes I know they’re riding an eight game losing streak. I don’t have anything to back up my rational to this thinking other than a hunch. That’s why I’m seeing a psychologist again this week.
I enter the doctor’s office and sit in a chair.
Doctor: I’m glad you could make it again this week.
Marty: Me too, I’m looking forward to it.
Doctor: Last week we started to delve into this crazy, sorry let me rephrase that, this wildly baseless optimism you have about the Detroit Lions.
Marty: Yes, I’m deeply concerned about it. It happens every year about this time.
Doctor: What, that you think they’re going to the Super Bowl?
Marty: No, most years I’m just happy to see some progress. I mean these are the Lions. They always break your heart.
I hesitate and look the doctor right in the eyes.
Marty: I don’t understand why I feel this way.
Doctor: What way?
Marty: That the Lions can win the Super Bowl. Wow. Just saying Lions and Super Bowl in the same sentence is making me nervous.
Doctor: You know I did some research on the Lions and thought we could break down this silly notion of the Lions in the Super Bowl. I’m gonna ask you some questions and you give me a quick answer off the top of your head. Ready.
Doctor: The Lions apparently don’t have a running game and only one receiver of note, some guy named Johnson. Matthew Stafford threw more passes last year than some college programs do in a decade. Super Bowl teams need a balanced attack. The Lions are the least balanced team in the league. Your response.
Marty: They finally saw the light and addressed that situation big time in the offseason. Let’s start up front. I don’t know what to expect out of the tackles this year but they’ll be at least competent. Raiola gained 20 pounds and rookie Larry Warford will open up huge holes in the running game. Oh, and they got a bolt of lighting called Reggie Bush. He’ll definitely improve the running game by ten fold.
Doctor: Okay, sounds a little iffy but I see your point. Matt Stafford seemed to regress last year. His record against winning teams is abysmal. He just signed a huge new contract. what’s his motivation to get better. Your response.
Marty: He’s got a lot of pride and has been waiting his whole life for this moment. He knows that the rest of the league thinks he’s an underachiever who’s riding Megatron’s coattails. It really pisses him off. He stayed in Detroit this off season and has made this HIS team. He’s ready to take that next step of respectability. Playoff wins.
Doctor: Okay, What about that porous defense. The one that makes every quarterback the reincarnation of Johnny Unitas when they play the Lions. It’s been a problem for a long time. Your response.
Marty: They finally have a stable of young defensive backs that will infuse some talent back there. Last year they had no pass rush at all. I think rookie Ziggy Ansah will explode this year because he’s going to see nothing but one on one match ups and Jason Jones will surprise people. They’ll get a much better pass rush this season.
Doctor: You know you’re still kind of only seeing the Lions in absolutely the best possible light. Life doesn’t always work out that way. I think your fine, you’re just hanging onto to a bunch of maybe’s and if’s that the Lions against all odds can win the Super Bowl. There’s nothing wrong with being optimistic. Just don’t do anything stupid like bet money on them to win it all.
I give her a slight little smile. You can see I’m guilty as hell.
Doctor: Did you place a bet on them?
Marty: Well this guy from the gym goes to Vegas every month and he laid down 50 bucks on the Lions at 45 to 1 for me. First time I ever bet anything in my life.
The doctor is shaking her head in bewilderment.
Doctor: You Lion fans never quit, do you?
Marty: It’s gonna happen doc, one of these years it’s going to happen. They’re gonna come out of nowhere and win it. It just feels like it just might be this year.
Doctor: Okay. Same time next year.
Marty: Same time next year.