Due to recent criticism, I would just like to state that I am proud to say that I am a Detroit Lions fan.
Not just a Lions' fan, but I am fan of all the Detroit teams (Tigers, Red Wings and Pistons). Yes, the Lions have not done so well the last few seasons, and they are getting an extreme amount of negative publicity this year, but I am still a diehard. I wear a Lions' shirt every Sunday, and every Sunday and Monday night I proudly wear my Detroit Lions' scrubs to work.
Thanksgiving is a special holiday for me because it is one day when Detroit actually gets some spotlight. Shannon Sharpe said he wishes "that the Lions would lose all 16 games" so he could say that he saw a team go winless in a season.
The beloved Bill Cowher suggested that the Thanksgiving Day game should be alternated because he is subjected to watching the Lions every year. I could not believe that these men would make such negative comments. It is easy to ridicule and kick a man when he is down, but it is probably the lowest and most classless gesture imaginable.
The Detroit Lions and Thanksgiving have been a tradition since 1934. The Lions were the first team to play on Thanksgiving; the Dallas Cowboys started in 1966. It is pretty much a slap in the face that the NFL added a third game. When the NFL was becoming popular in the mid-to-late 1960s they offered all the teams at that time to play a second game on Thanksgiving. The only team that wanted to host one was the Cowboys.
Of course, now that the NFL is extremely popular - and practically overexposed - everyone wants a piece of the holiday TV money market. It would be a downright tragedy if Detroit would not play on Thanksgiving Day. In my eyes, that would be equal to not setting fireworks off on the 4th of July.
The Detroit Lions have actually won four championships, one less than the mighty Steelers. However, they are not "Super Bowl" victories but championships nonetheless. The Lions were the Steelers of the 1950s, winning three NFL championships in 1952, 53, 57 (their other championship was in 1935).
It is unfortunate that teams are measured by their Super Bowl wins and not total championships. If this were true, then I guess Penn State has zero national titles, due to the outright champions now being called the BCS national champion. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were 0-14 in their first year. They then proceeded to lose the next 12 games the following year, compiling a record of 0-26 and 2-26 overall in a two-year span.
I will never give up on the Detroit Lions, and I know when they get out of this bad stretch and hopefully win another championship(s), I can honestly say I have been with them through the thick and thin, the true testament of a real fan.
However, I will probably be labeled as a bandwagon jumper, but I know in my heart where my fandom lies. Altoona's Ed Flanagan, who was recently honored as part of the Lions' all 75-year team, along with a certain Steeler coach, Dick LeBeau, can also proudly say that they are Lions fans.
Jared Pufka is an occasional contributor to Voice of the Fan. He resides in Altoona.