We knew it would come to this.
It’s been said before, but there’s a kind of masochistic relationship between the Detroit Lions and their fans. Most of us can pinpoint only a few moments over the last decade where we experienced real triumph watching this team, and usually when the losses come, they come in ironic and gut-wrenching doses.
It’s small wonder, then, that those of us who have stuck around to follow this season have been cautious about the success that has come this year after a 1-3 start. We’ve heard it time and again, but if 2016 is truly the “alternate universe” timeline, what could be a more fitting sign than the Lions prevailing against unprecedented adversity to win the Superbowl?
But before they can complete their deal with whichever dark lord the Cubs negotiated with to get their World Series, the Lions face a script that could not be more poetic or dramatic. Of course Detroit would have to play the toughest schedule in the final three games to make the playoffs. Of course the Packers would decide to care about football again at the eleventh hour to make a run down the stretch. Of course Aaron Rodgers would hit Jordy Nelson on a 60-yard bomb to set up a game-winning field goal against the Bears. And of course the division would come down to a division-deciding Week 17 matchup between the Lions and their biggest bully.
It’s still conceivable that Detroit beats Dallas this week while Green Bay lays an egg against Minnesota. But in our hearts, we know how this is going to turn out. Is it too much to expect that the script will be flipped this time? If ever there was a time for Aaron Rodgers to tweak a hamstring filming a State Farm commercial, or for Calvin Johnson to sign a two month contract to fund his dance career, wouldn’t this be the year?
One thing is for certain: I haven’t had this much stress or fun watching a team in a while. Yes, we’ve made the playoffs a couple times in the past five years, but with this team you get the sense that anything really is possible. So take your heart medication, find a stress ball, and get ready for a memorable final two weeks.