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Lions Fans Often See what They Want to See

Human nature. It is human nature to survive. It is human nature to learn. It is the nature of learning that curses the fans of the Detroit Lions.

If a child touches matches and you ignore it, he will sooner or later burn himself. If you slap his hand when he touches them, once, twice or a dozen times (depending on how intelligent the kid is), he will learn not to touch those matches. When the Lions lose as often as the Lions have, the fans learn to expect it. When the Lions play bad football for as long as they have, the fans learn to focus on the bad football. I saw evidence of this since last Sunday's game against Pittsburgh.

Culpepper has not started a single regular season game this year. He comes in against the defending Superbowl Champs. Almost immediately in the game, he loses his star receiver Calvin Johnson to an injury. Let's face it, the guy was up against some pretty harsh circumstances for his first game since the preseason. Yet Culpepper threw for almost 300 yards, 62% completion, a TD and scrambled for two big first downs to keep drives going.

Daunte Culpepper did an admiral job under those circumstances and yet, throughout the week I have heard far more complaining than I have heard praises for the veteran quarterback. People want to point out his mistakes. That he had an interception and an intentional grounding called on him. It doesn't matter that the intentional grounding was nothing more than him trying to throw it away and would have been legal if he would have gotten the ball three more yards down field. The fans still say it was a stupid play. It doesn't matter that his interception came while he was scrambling for his life and he overthrew a wide open receiver. The fans want to say it was a stupid play on his part. Not a bad throw, but a stupid play. If he would have thrown the one another three plays, the fans would have said he did what he should have done. If he would have hit that receiver, the fans would have said it was a great play then forgot about it. We don't remember the good but we look for the bad.

The Lions got called for a personal foul for hitting the QB low. Replay showed it was an awful call by the refs. Rather than the Lions having the ball after an interception, the Steelers got it back plus a first down, plus an additional 15 yards. They scored a TD they should never have had. Take that away and the defending champions only scored 21 points against the Lions defense. Yet I have not heard anyone saying how well they played. I hear how the Lions could not tackle again.

Every team except for Jacksonville scored last weekend. How could that be? If other teams always played perfect, they would shut their opponents out. So how come even all of the great teams of the NFL were scored upon? How did Philadelphia give up 14 points to Tampa bay? How did Minnesota allow the lowly Rams to score 10 points? How is it the great New York Jets defense gave up 31 points? Could it be that maybe they don't play perfect every play? Could it be that they miss tackles sometimes and miss coverage sometimes?

The fact is, every defense, even the great ones will mess up sometimes. They all let teams score on them. The Steelers offense is no push over. They can run and they can pass. The Steelers are a very good team in the NFL and look how much they crushed the Lions by. Eight points! And seven of those came from a lousy call by the refs.

The Lions played a pretty good game Sunday against the defending Superbowl Champions. They played pretty darn good on offense and defense. Under the circumstances, Culpepper played very good. Far better I think than most of us thought he would in that situation.

Lions fans need to shed the losing mentality just as much as the team does. If they play really bad, the fans need to let them know it by screaming out about it. But when the Lions play a decent game, win or lose, the fans should acknowledge that as well. Last weeks loss aside, I saw a much improved Lions team on the field from what I saw last year. If they continue to improve, the fans will have a much brighter future ahead of them.

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