Why I Like the Detroit Lions

Charles ClintonCorrespondent IMay 27, 2009

DETROIT - NOVEMBER 09: Daunte Culpepper #11of the Detroit Lions looks to pass against the Jacksonville Jaguars on November 9, 2008 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. Jacksonville defeated Detroit 38-14. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Since William Clay Ford took over the Detroit Lions in 1964, the team has been representative of the gradual ultimate decline of my hometown of Detroit

While the Big Three automakers have continued to eat it economically and drag the rest of the town with them, the Lions have been consistently bad as the city has gotten progressively worse. 

On top of that, both the city and the team have blown what chances they have had to change their losing ways and improve their standing in the world. 

The culmination of this has been last year, in which the team went 0-16. It was an absolutely magnificently bad season that I had never seen.  

I've seen some bad teams in Detroit (the Tigers once lost 119 games setting an American League record), but even then they were able to turn around their futility as they now sit in first place in the AL Central. 

The Pistons had some really bad years in the mid 90's, and the year after they lost Grant Hill was one of the toughest times to be a Pistons' fan in anybody's lifetime.

However, the 0-16 team was special because they had been bad for so long, this was the ultimate culmination in the team's futility. 

It wasn't like the team was trying to lose either, it was just that every time the Lions would make it close they would find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. 

By the fourth game of the season, I began to sense that this was going to be something of historic proportions.

The team had been run into the ground by a horribly incompetent General Manager in Matt Millen, who reminded me of the many corrupt politicians who ran this city and state with his general lack of knowledge in how things go down and how to run things smoothly.  

The only game that was in any way controversial all season long was against the Minnesota Vikings, in which their was a questionable pass interference call against the Lions that allowed the Vikes to get into field goal position to win the game in the last minute. 

Even I think that game was a hopeless cause, because in it Dan Orlovsky committed the mistake that defined the season by accidentally running out of his own end zone for a safety. 

So, with all this bad stuff happening to the team, why do I support them?

The primary reason is because there are thousands of people flooding out of my home town and my home state. If i don't support this team and support this city, who will?

This is where i grew up, the only home I know and I will always have a deep-seeded emotional connection to it no matter where I go in life. 

Plus, we Detroiters tend to be emotionally masochistic. I know that from going to half-full Tiger games for much of my childhood during the summer when the team would be absolutely terrible and consistently snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in close games. 

However, I kept going to games kept supporting them. Now they are up on top, which leads me to my second point.

The Detroit Lions are at the absolute bottom of the NFL and, in a sense, they're at the bottom in life like so many people in my depressed hometown who have been laid off and are looking for work wherever they can find it. 

I've been in a similar position in life and I'm trying to work my way out of it now. If the Lions can work their way out of the bottom, then there is hope for all of us in this town. 

I believe that if I get anywhere positive in life, it will be because I grew up here and because of the tough experiences of supporting the Lions and Tigers, who were painful to root for but I had to love anyway.