Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
The Detroit Lions finished out perhaps their most disappointing season in recent memory in a ho-hum affair with another division rival playing out the string, the Minnesota Vikings. The game was even more meaningless as two of the premier stars in the NFL, Adrian Peterson and Calvin Johnson, were resting their various injuries from another lost season in each of their storied careers.
About the only notable storylines in this game was that it was the final football game ever in the Metrodome and the head coach on each sideline likely coached his last game for his respective team.
The Lions did what has come natural to them in the second half of this season, played error-prone football, had a fourth quarter lead that they’d bungle away, and lost another game to an inferior opponent.
A lot was made about the boos that cascaded down on the Lions in their last two home games. Jim Schwartz flip-flopped on whether or not he did indeed yell at the fans and never really apologized for it (you know, vintage Schwartz).
The booing was put under an additional microscope just over 24 hours later when the Detroit Red Wings were shutout at home by the sad-sack New York Islanders. The fans at Joe Louis Arena booed the Wings just as they had the Lions the day before. This got many people to take to blogs (like these) and to the radio airwaves to chide Detroit fans for booing their home teams.
It’s worth noting that the Lions lost to a 5-9 team last week and the Red Wings dropped to 6-10-6 at home at the time, so what should the fans have done?
I’ve attended plenty of sporting events in my time and was a season ticket holder for the Lions from 2003 to 2007, in other words right smack dab in the middle of the Joey Harrington/Matt Millen era. The home team was lustily booed on many occasions during that time.
I’m not a booer (if that’s a word). I won’t boo the home team no matter how terrible they play. That’s just not me. Usually in the booing situations I have my head in my hand wondering why I have given away my precious time and money to a team that just continues to give games and seasons away. Yet far be it for me to tell another fan they can’t react differently. Everyone has to vent their anger and frustration in some way.
Message to the Lions’ and Red Wings’ players and coaches who don’t like getting booed at home: PLAY BETTER!
- The Lions can’t even set the misery table correctly. Out of all the stadiums (or is it stadi?) throughout the country, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome was perhaps the most torturous place for Detroit sports fans. The Tigers could rarely win there and the Lions, heading into Sunday’s finale, had gone 3-17 in the last 20 years there. So as hard as it was to see the team eliminated on another late field goal last week, it probably would have been much harder had the Lions regained the NFC North lead last week and then dropped this game to the Vikings. How fitting would it have been in that Detroit house of horrors that the Tigers’ playoff hopes (163rd game in 2009) and the Lions’ playoff hopes would have been extinguished in the final baseball and football game in the Metrodome. The Lions can’t even lose poetically.
- So let the coaching speculation continue (now that Bill O’Brien appears to be out of it) and let’s do what we Detroit football fans do best: prepare for our Super Bowl. Our Super Bowl, of course, is the draft. It’s as good as it gets for us, because its all downhill when heralded rookies get a whiff of the losing culture that has permeated this franchise for six decades.
- It’s a funny thing. We are all always down on the Lions at this point of the season, yet we look forward to next year, every year. Hope springs eternal and while I cursed a little bit to myself when opening the new Lions’ hat with the retro 1950’s-era logo on Christmas, I wore it quite a bit in the week after Christmas. Detroit Lions, I can’t quit you.
Thank you for reading the Detroit Lions Good, Bad & Ugly articles all year long. Until next year, I bid you all farewell.