SideLion reader interview: Detroit Lions fandom is like a Michigan highway

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 07: A Detroit Lions fan cheers during a game against the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field on October 7, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 07: A Detroit Lions fan cheers during a game against the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field on October 7, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images /

Those two guys up top

No conversation between Lions fans can be complete without it, so of course, we needed to talk about the dynamic duo, Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia. In the past year and a half, they’ve almost become cartoonish, like a bizarro version of those old Muppet guys up in the balcony, jeering at pretty much everyone and everything.

But as the season crashes around them like a drum solo from Animal, the majority of the heckling at this point is heading back up towards the top.

Monday morning’s articles in the Free Press are either taking shots at Quinn’s front office decision making, Patricia’s decisions on the field, or urging owner Martha Ford to make a decision on both of them.

Quinn and Patricia are a long way from Matt Millen and Marty Mornhinweg (and all the other absurd M’s from the start of the 2000s), but at this point, they bear even lesser of a resemblance to their role models out east, Kraft, and Belichick.

Where does one draw the line between pouring a foundation and waiting for something tangible to be built on it? At what point does a good idea become a good idea that didn’t work out? Here’s where James and I start to differ in our opinions.

On ‘Patriots Midwest’…

James: What they’re trying to do is create a dynasty. And people want to mock them for trying to become Patriots pt. 2.

I’d rather them sacrifice a year or two–now I’m not in the best of health, so I don’t have the ability to say that I don’t care about a couple of years. That’s valuable to me. But I’m telling you, I’m looking at it for the rest of you guys, I guess.

If you want a dynasty, forget that it’s Patricia, forget that it’s Quinn, if you want a dynasty, did you really see a dynasty out of that team (Jim Caldwell’s Lions) when Patricia and Quinn came on board?

Absolutely not, but I don’t even need a dynasty. I need a couple of playoff wins–I’ve still never seen one.

James: And I may not see another one…

Stafford clearly deserves more than help than he’s gotten, and best-case scenario is we’ve got about five years to give him every opportunity to improve on his legacy.

James: Yeah, you’re right about that one, Stafford deserves it.

But for the people who are calling for Quinn’s dismissal and Patricia’s dismissal already, they haven’t yet had a real chance to fix the decades of mismanagement before them. And the reason I’m for Quinn is that he’s making the attempt. Reading some things from the press, it’s like they’re damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

Well, they’re not damned if they win some games. 

James: Well… you can expect too much, and I think that might be what’s happened. People are so frustrated and so ragged, waiting for the Lions to be something they can be proud of. Frustration makes all of us have knee jerk reactions to feelings we experience watching games.

Bob Quinn essentially fired a guy who was a winning coach because he wasn’t at the very top. How many years does Patricia get before he has to win more than nine games?

James: I don’t know. I don’t mean to sound disparaging of Jim Caldwell either, just everyone keeps bringing him up as some sort of litmus test. He was a little above .500 with no playoff wins. He got four years.

I feel like Patricia cares, I feel like Quinn cares, and I feel like they’re really making attempts to build an entirely different culture. Whether they’re given enough time or not, who knows.