Tuesday, December 15, 2009
CONGRATULATIONS, YOU FINALLY DID IT
I mentioned this in the plaintive cry for help that was my post following the game, but it bears repeating: I turned off the TV in the third quarter and didn't come back to the game. I do not regret this decision, and I am actually thankful that my intuition apparently conspired with my ass to save my sanity and quite possibly my life. I am eternally grateful.
I have a feeling that I wasn't alone in this decision. Hell, my man Ty even fell asleep. We are fans who have been through the worst of the worst. We survived 0-16. I watched every one of those infernal games. I'm not entirely sure why this particular game was the straw that murdered that poor camel, but it happened. It finally happened. In a season that was supposed to be all about hope and moving forward, we were more turned off than we were in the season of unnumbered tears. That can't be said enough. Somehow, watching my team lose every game a year ago was more compelling, more worth watching than whatever the hell that abomination was against Baltimore. Well done.
AND THE REASON?
Hello, Daunte Culpepper. Does anyone think this turd is still capable of being an effective starting quarterback in the NFL? I mean, come on dude. Now is the time to step away and go back to playing Mr. Mom full time. No one wants to see you fuck around the football field anymore. Take your tiny hands and what's left of your dignity and spend the rest of the season desperately trying to woo Doc Brown so he'll let you borrow the DeLorean so you can go back to 2004 and warn your past self to protect your knee and stay off the sex boat. Also, perhaps you can go further back than that and convince the 8 year old version of yourself that the football is possessed by the devil. Really drive the point home. Wear horns and a devil's tail. I don't know. Just find a way to never wear a Lions uniform and we'll be good.
It is a testament to how awful Culpepper has become that his mere presence can make a game feel so utterly worthless. He is not only a lousy quarterback at this point in his career, but a symbol of the failure of the past, a living, breathing reminder of everything that we as Lions fans have had to go through to get to this point. He is the past decade of miserable pain and failure wrapped up in one oversized ball of suck. No one wants to even watch the games when he's playing. It's too painful, too terrible, like being dropped back onto a battlefield where you saw all your closest friends get their intestines ripped out and their hearts eaten. Even though the battle is over, you can still hear the screams, hear the mad cacophony of war all around you and feel the panic, the terrible agony of it all, and it makes you shiver and shake like a junky before you vomit and pass out. The past is too terrible to relive and every time Daunte Culpepper trots onto the field, there we are. Again. And it never gets better, never gets easier. Instead, somehow, it gets harder. We have eaten a lot of shit as Lions fans, and we are tough, almost impossibly so, but there is only so much that even we can take. And I think that, incredibly, Daunte Culpepper's 260 pound symbol of doom is the thing that tips the scales and makes it all just too intolerable, too terrible to even watch.
It is so bad that at this point, I would sigh a happy, relieved sigh and smile dreamily if Ol' Plucky, Drew Stanton, came trotting onto the field, and if you have been reading my little corner of this blog for a while now, well, first of all I apologize, both to you and your therapist, and second of all, you are well aware of the irrational disdain I have for Ol' Plucky. So, the simple fact that I would eagerly welcome Stanton with open arms rather than watch Culpepper shit the bed again says a lot here.
SAD. SO SAD.
Last week, I posted what felt like a eulogy for Jason Hanson, and in it I said that it sucked that we couldn't feel confident any more when he jogged onto the field to put one through the uprights. But deep down, I hoped that I was wrong, and that Hanson would continue to be a kicking Terminator for years to come.
But when he came onto the field early in the game against the Ravens to kick a field goal, I knew that I was right. And I knew it because for the first time in his career, I didn't feel confident that he would make the kick. It wasn't that tough of a kick either. That's how fast these things happen. Last season was maybe Hanson's best of his career. And now, this season, that confidence that I always felt when he would come into the game is already gone, swept away in the tide of shit water that has carried away every other thing that I have ever had to be proud of as a Lions fan. Sure enough, Hanson missed the kick, and when he did, I was dismayed to realize that I wasn't surprised at all. For the first time in Hanson's career, I wasn't surprised that he missed a field goal, and that was somehow even worse than the lack of confidence I felt earlier.
This sucks. A part of me - a large part - wanted Hanson to finish things on his own terms, at the top of his game. I wanted him to be able to be the one Lion who went out right, the one Lion who made it all the way through without being dragged down into the whirlpool of ugly death that has grabbed everyone else who has put on that uniform. He was our one chance at a happy ending, and now that feels like it is all gone.
You are probably laughing right now because it is only the kicker, and who gives a shit about the kicker? But the thing is, is that this is the sort of thing that matters to Lions fans, the sort of thing that we must grab a hold of so we don't get carried off into the abyss of failure and misery that takes everything else in the Lions universe. It is a small thing, stupid and kind of pointless, but it's all we have, and it sucks to not be able to hold onto it any more.
AND NOW FOR THE PUNCHLINE
It's not enough that we had to lose. Noooooooo. That would be far too easy. Instead, it was apparently important that we regain our faith in Kevin Smith only to see him be destroyed. Before the season began, I made some ridiculous predictions about Smith. I expected him to vault into the upper echelon of NFL running backs. I did this because I am a hopeful idiot. Of course, Smith proceeded to struggle throughout the entire season, enough that I reached the point where in my mind - and at times on this blog - I was beginning to write him off as the answer to our chronic failure at running back. But then a funny thing happened. Smith ran the ball well against the Bengals and their tough run defense and then he looked pretty damn awesome in the first half against Baltimore and their top ranked run defense. Suddenly, hope was back. We could believe again.
Yeah, about that.
I didn't see the play. Like I said, I was off racing giraffes and huffing paint thinner or whatever the hell I gibbered on about in my last post, but apparently Smith's knee decided it'd had enough and committed suicide right there on the field. Hey, why not? I mean, I suppose it's funny to let a poor fool scramble back to his knees before kicking him down again. If you're a sociopath, anyway.
And just like that, our hope that Kevin Smith was indeed the answer was wiped away. Goodbye hope, goodbye ACL, it was fun. Sort of. Okay, not really, but what the hell, a Smith in the hand is better than two in the bush or . . . I don't even think that makes sense and I apologize. Even though Smith had struggled for large chunks of this season, he was still an important piece of the puzzle, and he provided an answer - even if it was a feeble one - to one of a billion questions. There is so much to do here, so much that needs to be fixed, that we really can't afford to have to start adding things to the list. Unfortunately, it looks like that's where we are right now when it comes to the running game. Smith is gone for the year and there's a good chance he's fucked for next season too. A torn ACL is a killer for a running back, especially for a running back without great top end speed. A torn ACL screws your lateral agility, the ability to bounce and cut and all those good things that are crucial to every running back, and an absolute necessity for those running backs who, like Smith, don't have that top gear. I wouldn't be surprised if we just saw the end of Kevin Smith as a feature back in the NFL.
Okay, Jesus, this post has been depressing as hell. Even for the Lions. I mean, I don't even know what else to say, and so I won't say anything at all. I will just wish you all a good day, Vaya con dios and all that jazz, and I will go sit in the corner for a while and weep silently.