Friday, October 24, 2008

NFL Blogging: The Wages of Defeat

This is how bad the Lions are: they can't even sell out their home games any more.

This isn't a minor thing. Detroit is, frankly, a sports mad town. We support four major teams and a half dozen colleges besides whether it's Big Blue or something closer to home. The Lions have not failed to sell out their home dates once since moving to Ford Field from the cavernous Silverdome. Blackouts and less than full seats were a common sight back then but, really, the Silverdome was huge. 70~80k in seating and they still sold out more often than most. When the team moved to the cozier confines downtown, they haven't had much of a problem filling the seats.

Think about that. For all the losing. For all the pathetic displays. For all the ineptitude that this team has shown in amassing little more than a handful of wins as the losses mounted up. The fans still packed the seats.

Like they have for years. More than fifty. Supporting a futile team with lackluster results. With passion. With fervor. With hope for a return to former glories that has never come. But they've been there. Cheering, waiting, hoping all along.

Oh, there've been a few close calls. Weeks when the NFL had to extend its deadline for some last minute sales. Time when one business sponsor or another had to step in and save that streak by snapping up a large block of seats. The rumblings were there. But it was never really in doubt.

Now? That dam has, perhaps, broken. The final straw snapped across the back of the downtrodden and the downcast. That hope is gone. That lingering, persistent, pathetic belief that somehow, some way things will get better. And if that's gone and with everything going on, with the team as pathetic as it is, why even bother?

Because they haven't sold out, the Lions won't be on television this weekend. Not mine, anyway. Nor that of any bar in the metro area. I've never understood this blackout rule, concerns gate receipts and attendance seem so antiquated in this day and age. But it is what it is and at least we won't have to watch the latest blowout of the Lions.

And the thing is, I can hardly bring myself to care.

Oh, and, yeah, the latest Farve thing. Right. I can't really care about that, either. I mean, it's not like it's something that doesn't go on all the time or even violates league rules. But I bet there are some folks in Green Bay right about now who are feeling their loyalty rather abused.

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