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A Lions Fan's Dream

The Dream - The Detroit Lions break their huddle and move to the line of scrimmage as the flashes from cameras continuously pop from the sidelines and stands. Matthew Stafford steps up behind Raiola. A quick glance at the clock shows him the twenty eight seconds left in the game. He can barely keep the smile from his face. A look to both sides lets him know that everyone is in their place and shouts the cadence.

"Hut!" The call was to snap the ball on one and as he shouts the word, Dominic Raiola slaps the leather football into Stafford's hands. The linemen collide together with hardly an effort and he drops to one knee.

The whistles blow and the clock continues to run down. The linemen jump for joy and the first player there to give Stafford a hug is Calvin Johnson, his megatron arms practically engulfing the young quarterback as they shout their joy in unison.

We stare at our television sets for a short time in disbelief. Our eyes fill with tears and we fight the lump that swells in our throats as it all sinks in. The Detroit Lions have just won the Superbowl!

Car horns are honking from outside as others step out and scream with joy. Many of us still just sit there in silence. Sit there and let it all soak in deeper. Our beloved Lions have won the Superbowl.

If we died right then, we would die happy. The happiest many of us have ever been in our lives. All of the shame we face each morning as the bills pile up because we have no job is forgotten for the time being. There is no heart break and loneliness. No problems with spouses. All of our troubles can be put away, for the moment the world is a perfect place. The Detroit Lions have just won the Superbowl.

So many have said it would never happen but some of us always believed it could. For those of us, there is a deeper satisfaction. The victory holds a special place in our hearts that could never be experienced by the many who had given up on the team completely.

The Tigers have won the world Series and it was awesome. The Red Wings have won the Stanley Cup enough times and that is magnificent. The Pistons have won the Championship and how great those were. So many great moments in Detroit history, but all of them together could not compare to this one moment. The Detroit Lions have won the Superbowl.

Reality - So many times I have heard others say.."the Lions have always sucked and they always will." or "They will never win anything." For so many seasons I have suffered the heartbreak of futility as the Lions again and again fail to play good football. I was a fan back when Billy Sims blew out his knee as he dove over the offensive line. I cannot remember if he scored or got a first down but I remember the loss of hope when his career was over.

I was a fan when they drafted Barry Sanders. Oh how great Barry Sanders truly was could never be known by most of the NFL fans who did not watch him every game. I was a fan in Barry Sander's 3rd season in 1991, when the Lions started the season off with a 45-0 loss to the Washington Redskins. I was a fan when in the same season, the Lions won twelve games and ended the regular season in first place in the NFC Central. I was a fan as they beat the hated Dallas Cowboys in Detroit's only playoff victory since 1957. I was a fan as the Lions lost in the NFC championship game 41-10, again to the Redskins.

I was a fan when Barry Sanders retired unexpectedly after only ten seasons only 1,457 yards shy of breaking the All-time rushing record. I have been a Lions fan through all of the futile ten seasons since Barry retired. I was a fan through the shameful 0-16 season last year.

I have been a fan through so much heartache and have felt so little joy in return. And I have never once believed the Lions would not someday be a great team. Some day that dream will come true. Some day I will experience that joy. I know it wont be this coming season, but some day it will happen. I do believe that, and I do believe it will not be in the too far distant future.

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