Schalter: Lions Need Supporters, Not Fans

Earth to the Entitled Detroit Lions fan: It's not because the Lions aren't trying, they're just not executing. And while you can blame the coaches, receivers and even Matthew Stafford, you do not have the right to boo them.

This Sunday, the Lions lost their second straight game. They—especially, the offense—especially Matthew Stafford——looked nothing like the team that started the season 5-0, scoring 30-plus points per game in the process. When the Lions gave up on the first half by running Keiland Williams twice in a row, the boo birds came out. You could hear them at points throughout the second half, as the Lions offense again failed to find the extra gear they had against Dallas and Minnesota.

It’s amazing how quickly us fans get accustomed to success. Between December 24th, 2007 and December 18, 2010 the Lions won just five games. The Lions started the 2011 season with five consecutive wins and suddenly we’re booing our own team.

I don’t understand the entitled fan.

I’m hearing a lot about “wanting to see good effort,” as if we’d rather watch a talentless team Rudy their way to a close losses than an extremely young, talented team grow into a dynasty before our eyes. So Matthew Stafford had a bad day at the office; why pouncing on him and ride him like he’s Scott Mitchell?

I’m seeing lots of, “I paid good money for those tickets, I deserve to see better than that” the last few days. Deserve to see better than what, 5-2? The Lions in sole possession of the top wild card spot?

Earth to Entitled Lions Fan: it’s not because they’re not trying, it’s because they’re not executing. Matthew Stafford isn’t seeing the field like he’s been all season. The receivers aren’t bailing him out like they have all season. Somehow the gameplans which have worked to a “T” all season long aren’t putting the players in a position to succeed. Blame the coaches, blame the receivers and yes—blame Stafford. But don’t boo him.

When Stafford and the Lions most needed their fans to support them, the fans were booing them. When the defense most needed to the fans to be loud, they were quiet. When Stafford—and his confidence—were under attack from all angles, Lions fans didn’t rally to his defense, they joined in the attack. I can almost hear some loser shouting from the stands, “HEY STAFFORD! WHERE’S YOUR CONFIDENCE, YOU LOUSY BUM!!”

One of the interesting things about soccer—primarily, English soccer—is that the diehard fans aren’t called “fans,” they’re called “supporters.” It’s an important distinction. We should be supporting our team through thick and thin—especially when the “thin” is a slight lessening of the gloriously lovely “thick” our team has slathered all over the schedule to date. Double-especially when it was so very, very thin for so very, very long.

What’s the point of keeping the little blue flame burning all offseason if we’re just going to walk away the moment everything isn’t perfect? Why spend the longest, bleakest football winter ever refreshing websites and frequenting forums just to turn around and boo the team you allegedly support? It makes no sense—and worse, it makes all the cheering from prior weeks sound craven and false; the worst sort of bandwagoning.

Lions fans aren’t entitled to see winning football any more than Lions players or coaches are entitled to their jobs. Everything that’s gone wrong can be put right. Nothing’s broken that can’t be fixed. Everything that helped the Lions go 5-0 can help them go 6-2. If you’re a Detroit Lions fan—a Detroit Lions supporter—then help them climb back up the mountain, don’t kick dust in their eyes.

About The Author
Ty Schalter is a professional geek and family man He regularly converts his undying fandom into words and numbers both for RoarReport com, and his Detroit Lions blog, "The Lions in Winter"

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