Not many professional sports teams have put their fans through as much agony as the Boston Red Sox franchise.
The Detroit Lions are one of the few.
Although the Lions' championship drought (1957) isn't quite as extensive as Boston's (see: 1918), it is nevertheless just as painful. Just as agonizing. Just as unfruitful. Just as disappointing.
The Lions have never even sniffed the Super Bowl. Allegedly, it is a secretive championship game established in 1967. Word is, the 1993-born Carolina Panthers snuck in already.
For Boston fans, the still newborn Florida Marlins have won two in the last decade.
Just as frustrating.
BELIEVE IN THE CURSE
Each team shares a curse as well, although the Lions' has been less publicized. Detroit's 1958 trade of Bobby Layne – Motor City's version of the Great Bambino – has resulted in nothing more than a missed Eddie Murray field goal and a shellacking at the hands of the Washington Redskins. In the latter, large men wearing skirts laughed the Lions off the field.
Just as insulting.
Yet, like the Red Sox faithful, Lions' fans keep coming back for more. Gary Danielson, Eric Hipple, Scott Mitchell, Charlie Batch, Mike McMahon, Joey Harrington to name a few that have either failed – or are in the process of failing -- to sub-plant Layne. He still harbors a lead in almost every statistical category -- and a trophy case that has more than dust.
Two blue-colla towns, two history-rich ball clubs, and one dreadful curse.
But ah, what's this? The pennant-clinching, national-interest drawing, Johnny Damon-is-my-hero-Red Sox are making their fifth attempt to lift the curse in 2004. After spotting a 3-game lead on the unbeatable Steinbrenner's, Boston smacked their overpaid rivals in the mouth with four consecutive wins.
Of course, it would be nice to see the BoSox actually follow through and win the World Series (they've lost their other four attempts in the deciding final game), but their accomplishments to this point -- along with accompanying dramatics -- seems to be satisfying.
AND THE EIGHT BALL SAYS ...
Can this magic rub off on the Lions? Can Boston's franchise-lifting success create a cosmic shift in the universe that levels the playing field, allowing the Lions to begin playing awe-inspiring football and march to their first Super Bowl? Can The Babe talk Bobby into just giving it a REST already?
But Boston's success must at least give hope to fans of the Lions. While Detroit has been the fodder for many sports jokes, primarily related to hell freezing over, imagine being in the shoes of a Red Sox fan.
1918, folks, along with that accent. And you thought you had it bad?
Go Red Sox!