It’s been a good few months since that game and that flag-not-a-flag moment back in January’s playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys. Time enough to draw a breath and reflect on what might have been, you might think, but for longsuffering Lions’ fans that call will take a while to put to bed. Even the President was angry. Look away now, if it’s still too painful to see it all over.
Some, you might anticipate, would be more forgiving than others. Lions fans have a long history of dealing with disappointment, after all. But don’t expect the team’s most famous follower, Eminem, to put the bitterness of his reaction to one side any time soon.
Having made a career out of venting his angst at one downturn or another in his life Eminem is not really the ideal man to look to when it comes to forgiving and forgetting. But for all that, the rapper is a man who knows that sticking with the Lions through thick and thin is part of what has made him who is. Check out the lyrics to Legacy to see how he turns a Lions’ related negative – that 0-16 2008 season – into something he was able to kick against. Maybe that’s the way we should be reflecting as we look towards the upcoming season in the fall.
Bob Seger is another musician who will have winced when the referee picked up that flag in the fourth quarter. But the man who famously gave the world a song with the title Beautiful Loser and the lyric ‘you can try, you can try but you can’t have it all’ might be expected to veer towards a more philosophical view of the way the Lions’ dreams were taken away from them. If you had to pick anyone to put into words the bitter sweet memory of that night of soaring hopes and shattered dreams, Bob Seger wouldn’t be a bad bet.
For a more cold hearted, less sentimental way to put the whole debacle to bed we might be better off following the lead of poker star Ryan Riess (a graduate of Michigan State) who won the WSOP Main Event while wearing a Lion’s jersey bearing Calvin Johnson’s number 81. It was a success worth a cool $8.4 million and catapulted the 23 year old to superstar status. It was an event that didn’t go unnoticed by the Lions as Johnson himself acknowledges in this clip:
Riess is a Texas hold ‘em specialist, a game that requires a keen reading of the game and sound judgement in the heat of the moment. It’s just the sort of level headed approach that Lions fans will lament as having been missing from the officials on January 5. But for all the misty eyed sentiment about what might have been, it is that hustlers’ cold eyed pragmatism that must set the tone in the months ahead.
As far as the fans are concerned we can only take a deep breath and go again. Hopefully at least Riess will be there to cheer them on. Despite a busy schedule that took him around the globe, Riess had a 4-0 winning season as a spectator at Ford Field last season. Last season the Lions’ success saw the Lions become an unfamiliar hot ticket. As a mark of that status they had the likes of Run DMC, Kid Rock (a Detroit native) and Rev Run Simmons visiting the locker room. The pair even laid down a little off the cuff rap for the players. That, of course, was before January 5 and that rescinded flag.