Let's see, how does this go again ...
Oh, that's right.
(Let's say it a few more times for emphasis. Lions win. Lions win. The Detroit Lions have won a football game.)
In journalism, you're taught to use the inverted pyramid to tell a story, that is, the pertinent information comes first: the outcome, the score, and a handful of statistics that the writer feels was somehow relevant to said outcome.
Everything else is supposed to come later. The things that people might not stick around long enough to read.
But who cares. Let me be the first to buck the trend of status quo Lions-journalism: I'm not going to even mention the score until the end of this column.
For the first time since 2007, Lions fans have a reason to celebrate. They even have a reason to cry along side offensive linemen Stephen Peterman and Dominic Raiola, two mammoth, larger-than-life athletes (Raiola has even been nicknamed 'Optimus Prime' by his teammates, after the colossal, unemotional, steel robot in 'Transformers'), who were both seen leaking after the game.
I didn't even think Raiola had tear ducts. I'm not sure he's supposed to.
So go ahead, Lions players and fans. Cry. Embrace. You've earned it. You aren't 1-19 over 20 games, you're 1-2 after three. Congratulations.
And those in the Detroit media can pen something other than a loss article that, to be honest, we're aware that you haven't been reading.
(Note: We don't blame you for this. And we're reasonably sure our editors weren't reading, either.)
We Don't Want to Say We Saw This Coming, But ...
Many pointed to Sunday's contest as a possible win for the Lions. It's also possible Iran has only peaceful ambitions for their (hidden) nuclear facilities.
The Washington Redskins had struggled against the St. Louis Rams last week, a team that might actually be worse than the Lions. The 'Skins had a few injury concerns before the game, and Detroit had actually demonstrated flashes of competence against Minnesota in their previous outing.
Still, you didn't see an actual waiting line in Vegas betting on Detroit, only a line predicting their demise. Still, it was the Lions. After carrying the weight of 0-16, they didn't need to shed a monkey, they needed to shed the San Diego zoo.
Confidence in the Lions, both internally and externally, is discussed only in theoretical scenarios yet nothing that really sniffs reality. They have been the ultimate afterthought. The assumed loser by all opponents. A team that has bordered on semi-professional but dwelled in laughable.
It was so bad that, on the Redskins' fourth down with nearly 40-yards and eight seconds to go in the game, everyone in Ford Field held their breath: if Washington had scored some kind of miraculous touchdown, it would have been ... expected.
It's been that bad.
And anyone who contradicts that thought is a blatant liar. Unless, of course, you're a member of the Detroit Lions.
A different team from a year ago that had found itself saddled with the complexities, expectations, and reputation of its past, it was never a question of talent for these Lions, it was a question of belief.
No one believed in the Detroit Lions on Sunday except for the Detroit Lions themselves. Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Character.
Every Great Story Must Have Its Casualties
The Lions victory was met with one dark, sadistic (yes, SADISTIC) reality that is imposed by those who favor one thing above the love of football: money.
The fiscally repugnant owners, led by NFL boss Roger Goodell, made sure that Sunday's game would be "blacked out," preventing a legion of Lions fans, especially those in unfortunate financial circumstances (see: almost the entire city of Detroit), to watch their professional football team's first victory in two seasons.
Even Jerry Maguire was there to witness Detroit's dramatic win over Washington
ap stock photo
Roger, you should be ashamed of yourself.
In a city that has an unemployment rate of nearly 20 percent, and a median income that makes a trip to the game unrealistic anyway, the league's blackout rule is insulting, unfair, pathetic, greedy, and derogatory to the city of Detroit and surrounding areas.
So thanks, Mr. Goodell, you've taken a game loved by all, a game that can bond families, a game that can beget a smile in even the most destitute household, and you turned it into a multi-billion dollar business, maintaining a silly, self-serving blackout rule that does nothing other than add yet another '0' to the league's bottom line.
Tom Cruise was in attendance at Sunday's game, and I couldn't help but hope he might reprise his role in the shower scene from Jerry Maguire, pleading with Goodell:
"Rog, think about back when you were a little kid. It wasn't about the money, was it? Was it?!"
Hope on the Horizon
Following the game, my friend and less-than-casual football observer, quipped, "0-19, ON OUR WAY TO 19-0!"
The comment, submerged in sarcasm, certainly isn't an indication of where the Lions are, or even where they might go from here.
Let's not concern ourselves with the future just yet. We'll enjoy the weekend, and for the first time in two years, enjoy football, period.
Although, if there's anything more potent than the pang of 19 straight defeats, it's the fever pitch of an emotional victory.
After all, America loves a comeback story.
Lions win, 19-14.
Lions' fans celebrate Sunday's win over Washington, the first since 2007 for Detroit (AP Photo)