The Detroit Lions are fun.
There, I said it.
Yeah, yeah, they’re 1-1, and the “1” on the left side of that ledger came against the lowly Commanders, two words that don’t often belong next to each other, but then Washington’s owner — we don’t need to name him — should’ve thought of that when he gave his franchise such an imperial moniker.
Pretension aside, the Commanders do employ NFL players, some of them quite good, and in a league where even the best teams scuffle for wins from time to time, any win is a good win, whether accompanied by relief or exultation.
The Lions’ mood fell somewhere in between Sunday afternoon, I’m guessing. As for those that shower this franchise with unrequited love? Well, they may not know what to do with themselves; September wins are that rare around here, kinda like swimming weather in April.
Still, they’ll take it, and have every right to take it. And whatever it is they are feeling, that feeling was everywhere Monday morning.
“Weird,” someone said. “I’m not used to this.”
Few are around here, right?
We don’t have much practice in three-touchdown halftime leads. And fourth-quarter drives to ice the game. And playmakers making plays … all … game … long.
Call it cautious giddiness. Or a normal Monday in Kansas City.
It would be wise not to forget the cautious end of that phrase, of course. Not that anyone in this region needs to be reminded.
Heck, just this past Sunday when Washington scored a few touchdowns and pulled within a single score, the collective groan was hard to miss. Post-Traumatic stress disorder is devilish like that; one giddy afternoon isn’t going to wipe away six decades of (mostly) disappointment.
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So, yes, for those that need to hold tight to their skepticism, even to their cynicism, have at it. You’ve earned that privilege. You have the scars to show it.
But for those who want to somersault into the buzz? Well, you deserve that right, too.
This may not last. Heck, the Lions will likely lose Sunday at Minnesota, and if they don’t beat Seattle at home the following week, well, there goes another season.
At least it will feel like that, and this week, this moment, will feel a long way away.
Though that’s getting too far ahead. It’s only Tuesday. And the glow of what unfolded against the Commanders shouldn’t be doused just yet — or at all.
What Sunday’s win also did was remind everyone of the psychological gulf between 1-1 and 0-2. I know it sounds obvious, but knowing something intellectually and then feeling something in the bones are different.
This is the buzz you feel right now, the buzz the Lions felt in their post-game locker room as they danced and hollered when Dan Campbell gathered them to speak. This is what makes the individual stories suddenly so much more compelling.
Offensive lineman Dan Skipper grinded for six years before finally getting a start?
No wonder you probably/likely/definitely shed a tear.
Aman-Ra St. Brown slipped to the fourth round and the Lions “discovered him?”
No wonder you want to know more about his family and his childhood and what kind of player he was at USC.
It’s not that most NFL players don’t have interesting backstories. It’s just that they become so much more compelling when they are part of something larger. And the Lions are trying to build something larger.
That much we can say with certainty. That they finally — FINALLY! — appear to have a viable plan. And that the offense is ahead of the defense. And that the offense was tied with Kansas City for the most points the first two weeks heading into Monday night’s games.
And that the offense is kinda fun to watch. Shoot, it is fun to watch. So, at times, is the defense.
When was the last time any of us could say that?
When Matthew Stafford was throwing 60-yarders to Calvin Johnson? Yeah, maybe. But as Homeric as Johnson’s talent was, and as big as Stafford’s arm was, neither brought the sort of kinetic joy on their own that this offense does.
So, enjoy this. Revel in it. Doing so doesn’t mean you believe they are headed for the playoffs, or even a win Sunday at Minnesota.
It does, however, mean that it’s OK to tune in with a bit of anticipation, real anticipation. And it does mean that you might have to get used to feeling this way on a few more Mondays this fall.
Contact Shawn Windsor: 313-222-6487 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @shawnwindsor.