Detroit Lions: 7 Things About This Team That Infuriates Fans

James Van EttenContributor INovember 7, 2011

Detroit Lions: 7 Things About This Team That Infuriates Fans

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    Fans are a fickle bunch. Within the best of scenarios, a rabid fan base can find fault. Truth be told, the reason behind the capricious nature of fans is along with every unforeseen victory, the parameters of acceptability are modified.

    Thus no fan base will ever be satisfied. There will always be another play that should have been more successful, a game with a fortuitous bounce of the pigskin and always a blown call by a referee in desperate need of a trip to the ophthalmologist.

    The fans of Detroit are no different. A majority of Lions loyalists view this team through Honolulu Blue & Silver goggles, which allows for fandom to prosper. Without the irrational fan, where would NFL merchandising be?

    Going into the second half of the season, there are still many who can find fault with the 6-2 Detroit Lions, although the boisterous negativity is much more difficult to locate now than in years past.

    Here are seven points of disdain for Lions’ fans; some new, some old but all still infuriating…

No Cheerleaders

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    When I was a teenager, I enjoyed going to the Silverdome and watching four sets of high school cheerleaders rotate around the cement covered Astroturf borders of the field, giving us their best Friday Night Lights impersonations.

    A couple decades and several bachelor parties later; my refined palette now has an appreciation for the physical attributes of professional dancers.

    There are only six NFL teams that do not have NFL cheerleaders (Love You Detroit Pride!): Bears, Browns, Giants, Packers, Steelers and the Lions. Those other five teams play their home games outdoors in cold weather cities. What is the Lions' excuse? Detroit has the cozy confines of Ford Field. That my friends is truly home-field advantage!

    I’m certain this policy will not change while Bill Ford Sr. is in charge, but maybe change could come further down the road.

Jeff Backus

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    Yes, Jeff Backus is the whipping boy, and I've tried to be fair to the veteran, but every time this guy goes up against an above-average defensive end, Matthew Stafford is picking himself up off the turf.

    Left tackle must be priority No. 1, 2 and 3 this off season. Hell, I don't care if we give away the draft with a Mike Ditka-type trade as long as we solidify the left side of the offensive line.

    This team goes nowhere without No. 9 healthy and I have faith Martin Mayhew could plug the holes if necessary.

    Jeff Backus drives every Lions fan bonkers.

Tailgating at Ford Field

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    Although the Silverdome was a dump, it has one distinguishable difference from Ford Field: unified tailgating.

    Yes, the time honored tradition of Brats and Beers was much better in Pontiac than the isolated pods of activity that Ford Field provides. Fans are all over the downtown area, from parking garages to outdoor markets to abandoned movie theatres.

    The Silverdome allowed for the majority of fans to celebrate before kickoff and usually bemoan the home team afterwards as one.

    Ford Field is not conducive to this kind of pre and post-game camaraderie.

Short-Yardage Conversions

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    The Lions just can't seem to get the tough yards when they need them. 

    According to NFL.com, the Lions rank 26th in power rushing off both the left and right sides. This statistic is percentage of rushes on third or fourth down with two or fewer yards to go that achieved a first down or TD. They are only marginally better at 20th up the gut.

    The Lions don’t need to run the ball like Bo Schembechler’s Wolverines, but fans would like to see this team be able to line it up and get a couple yards within a cloud of dust.

    This trend, though, may be changing. Keiland Williams and Maurice Morris have both recently shown the ability to move the chains.

    If the playoffs are in this team’s future, cold-weather tough yards are going to be critical.

Calvin Johnson and the Red-Zone Fade

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    Although he has an NFL-record 11 touchdown grabs in the first eight games, many still clamor for Megatron to get more looks in the red zone. As crazy as it sounds, I'll agree.

    There is not a better target in the league than Megatron anywhere near paydirt. The game against the Falcons where Calvin was not targeted once in the red zone was inexcusable.

    Stafford can throw to him in triple coverage 40 yards down the field in Dallas, but can't throw the fade once against Hotlanta? I don't know who takes more of the blame, Scott Linehan for not calling the plays, or Stafford for not checking to Calvin.

    Either way, fans can't comprehend why this play is not called more often.

No Super Bowl

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    Yes, it's been since 1957 since the Lions won their last World Championship. Only the new Cleveland Browns and Houston Texans join the Lions in never reaching the Super Bowl.

    The Lions have hosted two Super Bowls XVI and XL, so they have that over Cleveland.

    While it appears the team is headed in the right direction, this is still a sore subject for all fans of the Jungle Kings. We have yet to enjoy the two-week media extravaganza focused on the Lions while basking in the winter sun of Arizona, California or Florida.

    The irony of the Lions getting to the 2014 Super Bowl in New York is beginning to take shape, right? 

Detroit Lions Good, Nittany Lions Bad

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    Yes, we have Joe Paterno to thank for all that we can’t stand about Pennsylvania State University.

    He gave us third round bust Derrick Williams, the worst General Manager in the history of professional football, The Mustache, and now the trilogy is complete with the alleged heinous activities of former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. If you are not yet familiar with the accusations Mr. Sandusky is now facing, please follow this link.

    This should be another warning to all parents out there to continue your vigilant protection of your children. There is a scumbag waiting around every corner to exploit your unknowing and impressionable child; even within the perceived squeaky-clean confines of Happy Valley.

    If this doesn’t end the reign of JoPa, I don’t know what will.

    On that somber note, those are my seven Lions fans irritants. Did I miss something that pushes your buttons? If so, let us know; should make for some interesting comments.