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Lions Discover Worst Way To Lose Football Game

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By winning.

Back in 1920, the Rock Island Independents became the first team in NFL history to end a game by scoring more points than the opposition, thus losing the chance to "lose" a football game, known as a "win."

After 19 straight games of avoiding this fabled "win," the Detroit Lions forfeited their current losing streak by "winning" such a football game against the District of Columbia Redskinned Washingtonians, 19-14. The fans hid their dismay quite well by cheering as the Washingtonians' last chance fourth down failed to reach the end zone by the clock's expiration. (But not as well as the game was hidden by televisions plugged into electrical outlets in the state of Michigan.)

They've lost by field goals. They've lost by pass interference calls. They've lost by 37. And now they've lost the ability to lose — perhaps the greatest loss of all. That ability is now handed over to the St. Louis Rams, a collection of arena football poseurs who are now the gold standard in losing by playing on an NFL-regulation football field, and doing so poorly for 13 straight games.

Also happy about the Lions winning? Joanne Huspek.

But what of the Detroit Lions? Most scholars and fans agree they are no Rock Island Independents. Can they regain their losing ways? Studies show that other franchises which have lost at least 19 straight games at some point — of which there has only been one, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — would go onto win at least one Super Bowl sometime in the next 40 years. So things look incredibly grim. It's entirely possible the losing ways of the Gray Pride may soon perish.

Football is a sport one can only take one week at a time. Next week is a trip to Chicago. What does one do when they get back on a horse? As the old saying goes, they fall back off. It would take until Week 6 of the 2010 season to get back to whence they arrived last week with their 19th straight loss. It's an admirable thing to try to recreate. Because nobody loves sorta bad teams. But everyone adores an incredibly terrible one.

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About Suss

  • Somewhere, Matt Millen is in a bar, taking credit for this win.

  • I saw the result scroll across the bottom of the screen while the 49ers-Vikings game was on and assumed it must be a latest score.

    I can only conclude that the Lions made the same mistake, and miscalculated that there was plenty of time left on the clock in which to lose.

    Ah well. Better luck next week.

  • zingzing

    woo000-ho000 go vikings! what a goddamn game. my love-hate of favre continues, but he did it today. we look shaky in every game, but we’ve pulled it out. monday night. come on, green bay. football’s been good this year.

  • I wrote something about them. You beat me to it.

  • OK, zing, let me figure this out. You were born and raised in North Carolina, lived in New York City, then moved to Seattle, then back to the Big Apple. In between there has been at least one interlude of overseas residence… right?

    So how exactly are you a Vikings fan?

    (This random-fandom phenomenon is a bit of a puzzler to me. One expects at least some geographical or genealogical connection to the team one supports, however vestigial. Take my sister-in-law’s husband. He was born and raised in Bakersfield, now lives in San Diego and as far as I know has never even been to Florida. Yet he’s a Dolphins fan.

    Maybe he just likes the colours or something.)

  • Simple. Zing’s ancestors settled Newfoundland.

  • Ah, that must be it.

    And my sister-in-law’s husband is of Mexican extraction. His ancestors must have come in the long way round. 🙂

  • Well, take the Oakland Raiders, for instance. Their following seems to transcend geographical boundaries.

    Which is to say, if you’re a hooligan, you’re a Raider fan.

  • zingzing

    doc–born in nc, lived in england for a while, moved back to nc, moved to seattle, then to nyc. my parents are from minnesota, and we didn’t have a team in carolina when i was little and impressionable. thus, my team is minnesota (in both football and basketball, but not college sports, hockey, basketball or rugby league).

  • Which is to say, if you’re a hooligan, you’re a Raider fan.

    That must be why there was no rioting in Detroit (see Joanne’s article on this subject). 😀

  • zingzing

    ahem–“football and baseball,” not football and basketball. although the football can remain.

  • It’s because the Detroit fans have class.

    Remember, though, the celebration years back when the Pistons won the NBA title?

  • sports people, to me, are like the people who like the black jelly beans. i don’t get why.

    the only thing i care about in a sports game is whether or not it is interrupting something i want to watch.

  • It’s a matter of identification, Cindy, just like many identify with the car they drive.

    An ego-compensation thing, if you like.

  • zing: “…or rugby league).”

    Ah, yes, the ferocious Carolina Helmetscorners. Feared throughout the rugby world. Once celebrated a Super League play-off victory by eating the Panthers.