Another issue plaguing the Lions as of late is no team in the NFL has been on the wrong side of the ball on controversial calls like the Lions have. I already touched on the picked up flag in Dallas, but there a number of other gut wrenching plays Lions fans have had to endure in their recent history.
- Calvin Johnson Rule: The “Calvin Johnson Rule” was put into effect after what looked like a game winning touchdown was waved off because the refs determined Calvin did not “complete the process” of the catch. To this day the NFL has struggled to determine what is and isn’t a catch, but that play made the Lions the poster child for the obtuse NFL rule. I had the pleasure of being at that game. And every Bears fan in my section, many of which had been giving me crap all game including a surly fan that dumped a beer on me earlier, admitted it was a catch. Sad!
- Aaron Rodgers Hail Mary: The most painful call may be the one which led to Aaron Rodgers now signature throw, a game winning Hail Mary as time expired in primetime to beat the Lions and suck the life out of their season in 2015. Before the play everyone remembers occurred and which is now tattooed into my memory banks, Devin Taylor was called for a face mask on Rodgers when it looked like there was very little contact. This set up the final play and the rest is painful history. Woof.
- Batted Ball Rule: Last season the NFL admitted they made a mistake by not calling a Seattle Seahawks defender for a penalty when he batted a ball out of the end zone illegally late in the 4th quarter. The correct call would have put the ball on the one yard line and put the Lions in a very favorable position to win the game. While I’m sure only a handful of fans were aware this rule even existed (I had no clue) it would have been nice to see the Lions reap the benefits of an obscure rule for a change. Ugh.
All NFL teams find themselves on the wrong side of a controversial call from time to time, but it seems as if no team has been on the wrong side of these calls like the Lions have lately. There are a number of other calls and incidents I can get into, the Thanksgiving game against the Houston Texans in 2012 comes to mind, but I’m done beating a dead horse and its time to look toward the future.
While the Lions faithful continue to be tested by the Football Gods a new hope has emerged in general manager Bob Quinn. So far Quinn has drafted well and in a short time he’s improved the overall depth of the football team. He’s made some New England Patriots-esque moves by taking flyers on former high draft picks that have yet to pan out like Greg Robinson and DJ Hayden.
While Quinn’s first season saw the Lions choke away a division title that was nearly handed to them by losing at home to the Packers in the final week of the regular season resulting in the seemingly inevitable wildcard playoff loss, there is actually a lot to be optimistic about with this 2017 Lions team. which could make the pain of failure even greater for the tortured Lions faithful.