Thankful on Thanksgiving – Detroit Lions Are Relevant

Thankful on Thanksgiving – Detroit Lions Are Relevant

Reflections on Thanksgiving

Since it was just Thanksgiving, I think that it’s important to really take a minute or two to show my appreciation for things great in my life. I expect you are here to read about the Lions because, well, it’s a Lions blog. And you’ll get that. But first, I want to show my appreciation for the Detroit Tigers.

You see, in the ’90s and early 2000’s the Tigers were the laughingstock of all of Major League Baseball. They nearly set the Major League record for futility by losing 119 games in the 2003 season, only “bested” by the 1962 Mets, who dropped 120 games. Things changed in the 2006 season, though, when Jim Leyland was managing a group of ragtags led by Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez and a rookie pitcher by the name of Justin Verlander. Everything that happened up until the World Series that season was pure, unadulterated magic. Every reliever, every pinch hitter, every steal and hit-and-run worked like a charm. Craig Monroe — I know, if you didn’t watch those games, you don’t know who he is — hit so many clutch home runs that he earned a spot on the Tigers’ broadcast team. Brandon Inge parlayed an amazing run as the team’s number eight hitter and third baseman into a long — too long — career at the hot corner in Motown, until he became a shadow of himself years later.

That team was the start of something amazing.

[graphiq id=”60kMPI5k5FP” title=”Detroit Tigers Record Over Time” width=”600″ height=”494″ url=”” link=”” link_text=”PointAfter | Graphiq” ]

The Tigers, give or take a year or two, has been in the thick of the playoff hunt, and made a moribund franchise relevant. Free agents wanted to come to Detroit. The media has paid attention. And even in those few seasons in which they fell short of the playoffs, they gave us something to cheer for most of the summer. Our family motto, at least in the summers since 2006, has been “Let’s have meaningful games in October.” And the Tigers delivered.

Now, Lions fans, I hope you’ve stayed with me this long, because here’s the segue you’ve been waiting for. That little family slogan — “Let’s have meaningful games in October” — you see, it’s sadly been relevant for the Lions, too. The Lions haven’t played much relevant football past the month of October over that same stretch of time. Heck, for 30 years prior, either. So when we get a chance to celebrate relevancy — actually playing a hand in the NFL’s playoff race — we must take the time to enjoy it. Really enjoy it.

You see, if you have been paying attention, the Lions are relevant this year. Forget October, this team will be playing meaningful games in December!

[graphiq id=”vFdrcOhwhL” title=”Detroit Lions Franchise Wins Per Season” width=”600″ height=”494″ url=”” link=”” link_text=”PointAfter | Graphiq” ]

After beating the Vikings in typical 2016 Lions fashion—you know, come from behind/closing seconds/last ditch effort/huge play(s) in the waning moments style. Matthew Stafford was his mostly-amazing self again, moving the Lions into game-tying field goal range for Matt Prater late in the fourth quarter. All the Lions needed to do was get one stop on defense and get to overtime for a chance to own the division lead outright.

That’s where Darius Slay stepped in.

Slay, locked in man-coverage on an outside receiver, jumping a slot receiver’s out-route. In what the Vikings thought was a controversial call, Slay picked off Sam Bradford’s pass and returned it to field goal range. Prater iced the game himself after a couple of clock-eating kneel downs and the Lions walked away with, effectively (due to tiebreakers), a two-game lead in the NFC North.

While I hope you are as thankful as I am for my friends, and especially my family, and all the other blessings that I have been granted…I want to make sure that you are as thankful for meaningful Lions games in December, as well.

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