Whenever I encounter a football fan who knows I’m a native Detroiter who covers the NFL for a living, it never takes long for them to eventually ask the same question:
“So, um … what do you think of Matthew Stafford?”
At which point I inevitably shrug, sigh and do some live-action version of the Alonzo Mourning Meme. How do you explain watching an incredibly gifted player take a starring role in the most frustrating fan experience in football?
Eventually, I settled on this: Watching Stafford — who was just reportedly dealt to the Los Angeles Rams for Jared Goff, two first-round draft picks and a third-rounder — in Detroit was the football equivalent of seeing Ben Affleck, a gifted actor, slog his way through “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
Following Detroit is such a grind that many fans either check out of Lions fandom altogether or instead latch on to a second team, usually one that actually wins games.
Since their last NFL championship in 1957, the Lions have won a miserable 41 percent of their games and only one playoff game. They are also among the four teams to have never played in the Super Bowl across 55 seasons. A big reason for the futility is their unbelievable knack for either giving too much power to the wrong people — Matt Millen or Bob Quinn or Matt Patricia — or outright failing to provide a winning organizational structure.