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.
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.