I hate the Detroit Lions, not from yesterday's game when the Lions beat the Redskins to make fans the laughingstock of the football world.
When you lose to the worst team in football, you take their monkey from their back to yours.
My dislike of the Lions dates back to the 'Seventies when I was a fresh new graduate of Michigan State.
My big new job was in the Detroit area. In the days before the Internet and the NFL's expansive view of revenue capture, one was forced to watch the local franchise and little else.
The Lions were tailing off of a 10-4 peak in 1970. They lost 31-10 to Bill Austins' Redskins that year. Austin was the Skins' interim coach after Vince Lombardi's death.
By 1973, Detroit was a shadow of itself. It burned me up that the local media and fans were in denial of that.
The Redskins were scheduled to play the Lions Thanksgiving Day. The night before the game, the local TV preview show pumped the 4-6-1 Lions' chance to make the playoffs.
I don't recall the MC's name. He was to Detroit as George Michael was to DC. That guy was thoroughly dismissive of the 8-3 Redskins, who was the defending NFC champion. Like George Allen's Over-The-Hill-Gang were all flukes.
That burned me up.
Washington shut Detroit out 20-0.
The turmoil created in the Lions fan base was delicious. How could the Lions lose to the Redskins?
Those Lions fans expected that the team would challenge for a title every year, but they cited team talent from the 1950s.
Fast forward four decades and I find that a large segment of Washington area residents dislike the Redskins for the same reasons.
Washington fans begin every year as though the Redskins are an under performing Gibbs era 12-4 team only one player away from another Super Bowl. Washington hasn't been that since 1991.
So there is always anguished surprise when Washington hovers around .500. Like now.
I understand the annoyance because I was on the receiving end of it in Detroit.
Snyder era Washington fans have become the Detroit fans of the 'seventies.
That memory flooded back to me as I watched the Redskins lose to the Lions.
Outsiders have as much fun knocking Skins fans down a peg as they do bashing Daniel Snyder.
The Redskins are playing to its talent level. With a break, they might reach 9-7, or 10-4 if someone in New York or Philadelphia gets hurt.
Here's MLB London Fletcher:
"We're not a great football team — never have been since I've been here — and it hasn't been in a long time, since, what, the '80s? It's been a long time since the Redskins have had a great football team. We have to come in here with a workmanlike attitude, with the mindset that we must work to win."
~~ From USA Today.
Some of this is the team beating itself up. Some of it is a realistic assessment of where they are.
I thought Washington could finish 9-7, but with this loss it's looking like 8-8, again.
The team needs a pick-up that can only come from the owner. Daniel Snyder has to stand up and say "I believe in you guys. Go out and win 10 games."
I doubt he will do that.
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