There's a line in what should be everyone's favorite movie this time of the year, Bill Murray's circa-90's Groundhog Day. Murray, a cynical weatherman forced to relive Groundhog Day everyday, states at one point in the movie, "I'll give you a winter prediction: It's gonna be cold, it's gonna be grey, and it's gonna last you for the rest of your life."
(By the way, the movie also starred a uber-hot Andie McDowell, before she disappeared into her made-for-television career. Thankfully, she brought Chris Elliot into obscurity with her.)
Anyway, Murray's quote -- and the movie in general, really -- is applicable to this weekend's big news coming out of Miami. No, not the Super Bowl, not Rex Grossman's horrifying confusion as to why he's in Florida (and you totally know his teammates are wondering the same), not even Prince's halftime show of whatever the hell it is that Prince does anymore. But I'll give you a hint: it directly affects fans of the Detroit Lions, who continue to meddle in The Den forum with possible, CSI-style solutions to the franchise's ineptitude.
|Bill Murray's character in Groundhog Day: Symbolic to what Lions' fans have been going through?|
Buried between the messages such as "Take a lesson from the Buffalo Bills", the weekly "Matt Millen is the biggest joke in the league" thread and "How Close Do You Think The Lions Really Are?" lies the one very important newsbyte: Brett Favre is returning to football at the ripe age of Billy Bob Thornton. Favre's "Look at me! Look at me!"-timed announcement was met on the forum with responses like, 'thats 2 wins 4 us next year!'
Well, that sounds about right.
Has no one paid attention to the last 16 years of Detroit Lions football? Apologies to Andrea Kramer and especially John Madden, but Brett Favre is the anti-Christ to the Lions franchise; he is what Anakin Skywalker was to The Jedi (episodes 3-5 only, obviously); he is Grossman to the Bears; he is what vicodin is to pain (ziiiiing), yet no one is talking about it.
Speaking of Andrea Kramer, does anyone remember her interview with Favre after his "last" game, which was shockingly a nationally televised Sunday night contest? The word "pry" doesn't do justice to describe Kramer's eagerness to get the second Favre-retires story. You know, because mega-star athletes usually retire a few seconds after a win. Kramer was so devout I'm pretty sure she even asked, "Is this the end of Brett Favre ..." and tossed in " ... as a football player?" but everyone knew what she meant. In the booth, Madden and Al Michaels figured he would retire, reflected fondly on their collective, uncomfortable man-love for Brett and sobbed uncontrollably once they broke to a commercial.
Looking past the fact that Favre waited until the weekend OF the Super Bowl before making his announcement (snagging some undeserved attention and confusing poor Rexy even more), No. 4 has been a crippling disease to the Detroit Lions since his arrival in Green Bay and Blair Keil's departure. Keil was a backup quarterback for the Packers in 1991. Blair freaking Keil. And I didn't even make that name up. I couldn't if I wanted to. But because Keil couldn't hold his clipboard properly, Green Bay decided to upgrade the position and the rest, as they say, is another pathetic chapter in Lions history.
Anyway, before the plight of Keil, the Packers were terrible and the Lions were great (like, 12-4/NFC championship appearance/Wayne Fontes Coach of the Year-great), and all was right with the world. And then the Atlanta Falcons gave up on Favre, and a first-year head coach (see: Mike Holmgren) decided it would be a good idea to hand an intricate offense to an inexperienced, erratic gun-slinger who actually failed his pre-trade physical between the Dirty Birds and the Pack. Since then, a number of things happened ...
1. The disappearance of Blair Keil. Even Google doesn't
know what happened to him.
2. The Lions have had five winning seasons since 1992. With the exception of the brief Ray Rhodes era (which I will omit on the basis of Green Bay correcting its mistake immediately after that sub par, mediocre 'non-Packerish' 8-8 season), the Packers had 13 consecutive winning seasons until 2005.
3. Detroit lost two of its mere three playoff appearances to Green Bay, including a (yes I'm going to make you relive it) 40-yard heave from Favre to Sterling Sharpe, who was so wide open that [enter inappropriate Paris Hilton joke here], in 1993. Meanwhile, the post-season has become a routine trip for the Packers, and they won a Super Bowl.
4. The Lions haven't won in Green Bay since 1991, the longest current inter-division road losing streak in the NFL. Oh, and Super Brett has played in all of the games.
5. Matt Millen was hired as GM and he immediately turned the team into the Carolina Panthers (minus the talent).
The Detroit Lions are not a handful of players away from being a competitive football team (and by competitive, I mean a team that can at least compete on a 'Ray Rhodes' level), they were one player away: Favre. Instead, on Groundhog Day, in some remote area of Louisiana, a poorly groomed, over-the-hill Lion Killer popped his head outside of his multi-million dollar mansion, saw his own shadow, and decided to 'stick with this football thing because, shoot, he still pretty gosh darn good at it.'
Winter never seemed so long.
Let me invite you back to 1991. The Lions had a relatively young bunch, including the league's most exciting running back, a blossoming quarterback position, and playmakers on defense. There were no naked drive-thru occurances involving members the coaching staff, which seemed pretty solid, and the team even had original uniforms. All of which reminds me of another Groundhog Day quote ...
"I was in the Virgin Islands once. I met a girl. We ate lobster and drank pina coladas. At sunset we made love like sea otters. *That* was a pretty good day. Why couldn't I get that day over and over and over?"