It's hard being a Lions fan living in Green Bay, Wisconsin. People take their Packers very seriously here.
I don't know how much garbage people take in other cities where they don't like the home team, but in Green Bay it is insane. The people here live & die for this team & when you don't love them, people ask you why you live here or tell you to go back to where you came from.
Problem is, I have lived in Green Bay my entire life.
When I first started understanding football, the Lions caught my eye. They had Billy Sims on offense. It was incredible, to me, watching him do the things he did. On defense they had Doug English, William Gay, and Al "Bubba" Baker. I would watch these guys terrorize Lynn Dickey twice a year. I would suffer through Packer games just to see Lions' highlights. No DirecTV back then.
I kind of stopped watching football in junior high, but there were always the Lions on Thanksgiving. Once I found football again, Barry Sanders, Herman Moore, Chris Spielman & Bennie Blades were leading the Lions. Brett Favre took over the Packers and I watched many battles over the past 11 years. I had a few with fans here, too.
Fast forward to 2004. After 3 seasons of being the doormat of the NFL, the Matt Millen-era has finally started to pay dividends. The Lions are tied for 1st with the Vikings at 3-1. The Packers, after 12 years of pretty much owning the division are in last place at 1-4.
I like to listen to 'The Fan', a local sports station, at work on my radio. It's always great to hear the Packer fans talking about how the world is about to end. They have to realize once Favre retires, Packer football will be back to the 70's & their team will be constant cellar dwellars.
The Fan does 'Fan Line' from 9-11 am & then 'Sports Line' from 4-6 pm. They are pretty much the same show. Fan Line is hosted by TC Martin & Green Bay Press Gazzette Sports Writer, Chris Havel. Sports Line is again TC Martin & then either Johnny Gray or Harry Sidney, depending on what day it is. Johnny & Harry are both ex-players. The morning show is very fan based & opinions are very fan like, where the afternoon show is a little more in depth & thought provoking -- probably because of the ex-players being on it.
During the off-season, all of these announcers gave alot of love to the Lions for moves they made in free agencey & the draft. They said the Lions would be a very improved team.
Well, now it was Packer-Lion week and I have to say, TC Martin made me want to strangle him. Basically, he wanted people to think the Lions were still the team Marty Mornhinweg fielded. He was saying the Packers should be able to easily defeat the Lions. Even though he feels the Packers have no talent on defense, he thinks the Lions just have no talent period.
With the offense, he feels there is no running game. His thoughts are Kevin Jones is an injured rookie, so he won't do anything. He doesn't even acknowledge Artose Pinner. When someone called about the game & how bad the Packers are against the run, TC said, "what do you think? That Shawn Bryson will run all over us?"
He feels the wide outs are in disarray. He says nothing about Az-Zahir Hakim. He thinks Tai Streets is no better then JJ Stokes & has been a bad underacheiver. His rant is basically that Charles Rogers is out & Roy Williams won't be close to 100%, so he will be a decoy and ineffective. In a nutshell, according to Martin, the Lions have no offense.
On defense his strategy is, "if you don't throw the ball in Dre Bly's direction, the Lions won't stop you." He completely discredits the Lions not allowing a 100 yard rushing in 11 games. He says nothing about the Lions being at the top of the league in sacks & takeaways. I guess Shaun Rogers, Dan Wilkinson, James Hall, Teddy Lehman, Earl Holmes, Dirty Davis, Alex Lewis, & Frenando Bryant don't exsist.
It was funny to hear him spin things about the Lions, too. He claimed to have watched the Falcon game last week. He said the reason the Lions got 6 sacks on Vick was due to Vick never leaving the pocket & holding the ball to long. It had nothing to do with the Lions pressure or downfield coverage.
Then when it came time to say why the Packers will get to Harrington, he referred to Detroit's offensive line as "PUTRID" at protecting him. Again the sacks on Joey have nothing to do with Joey holding the ball longer this year & looking down field more, it was our ineffective line.
TC Martin also likes to say, "The Lions are the Lions. They beat bad teams & lose to good teams. They had a shot to show they were better when the Eagles came to town & they were destroyed and never in the game."
I say the Lions are not the Lions. This is a different team. They have evolved & you can see it. This isn't the team we've seen in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, or even 2003. This is a new animal. A hungry animal. This is a TEAM. They play more like a team & seem to have each others backs like no Lion team I have seen before.
I admit, the Lions are not yet in the class of the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles have been to 3 straight NFC Championship games & this year made moves to finally win it & get to the Superbowl. I didn't expect the Lions to win. I had maybe thought it would be a better game, but very key guys you need for a game like that were out. One note also, the Lions and Vikings are both 3-1. The one loss came at the hands of the Eagles, so I understand there is no shame in losing to a team that will sweep the NFC North this year.
I don't care how many points the Lions win by, I just want a win. I want the Packers and their fans to know that 6 games into the season, their season is done. I want Packer fans to be bummed for yet another week. Mostly, I want TC Martin to eat his words. After this week, the Packers can win all the rest of their games until the Lions go to Lambeau for all I care. Living in Green Bay, the annual Packer games are my biggest concerns. If the Lions only win 2 games, those are the 2 wins I pray for. With that, I bid farewell to the Packers. Your run has been long & impressive, but everything must end. The winning of the Packers, but more importantly, the losing of the Lions!