The Detroit Lions are fresh off a last-second victory on the road over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But was this a meaningless win?
Detroit Lions kicker Matt Prater saved another win with :20 seconds left on the clock against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 24-21. The victory keeps the Lions in the playoff hunt and their season very much alive. Yet one of the first comments I saw about the win from a fellow fan was that it was completely meaningless.
Okay, so one fan didn’t think this victory made a difference. Then other fans echoed the sentiment. Is it a lack of faith in the team, coach, scheme, etc.? Is the frustration with the team boiling over to fans wishing they would lose or shrug their shoulders when they win?
Regardless of what some might feel, every win has meaning. Tell the 2008 Detroit Lions that went 0-16 that a win doesn’t matter. Or tell the 0-13 Cleveland Browns that this win didn’t matter. Or just ask former NFL coach Herm Edwards if a win matters. He’d say his classic quote, “You play to win the game.”
Nobody likes to lose. If a win can be meaningless, then are loses meaningless as well? Maybe if you’ve clinched a playoff spot already, but if you ask the 2009 Indianapolis Colts (14-2) – also coached by current Lions head coach Jim Caldwell – I’m sure they’d say they would have rather gone 16-0. Instead, they rested starters and lost two games.
Now the Lions are 7-6 with a winning record and squarely in a fight for the wildcard with a mess of other teams – most of which hold the tiebreaker over this squad. Every win matters. As coaches are commonly quoted saying, “We need to take care of what we can control and not worry about the rest.”
For a team with a chance at making the playoffs, of course every win matters. The Jacksonville Jaguars just helped the Lions with a victory over the Seattle Seahawks. Three more weeks of games can go the Lions way – you know, the stuff a coach would tell you not to worry about – and this team is in the playoffs as a wildcard.
It’s never easy to win a game in this league. If you’re hoping for a change within the organization – a new coach, a new scheme, better use of players – just remember one thing: winning cures all. I’ll take winning over being resigned to plan for next year any day. So, as the late Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis so famously said, “Just win, baby.”