No longer the NFL's lovable underdogs thanks to a recent losing skid, allegations of dirty play and the fact that they're no longer underdogs but a good football team, the Detroit Lions are adapting a sort of "us against the world" mentality.
Before the start of Thursday's practice, the team concluded a pre-practice huddle with the breakdown, "[expletive] them."
According to quarterback Matthew Stafford, "them" is all the folks who have jumped off the Lions bandwagon since the team has struggled following a 5-0 start.
"Absolutely [the chant set the tone for practice]. It was a good one. I think we had that attitude coming out already. We were ready to go. We understood what happened, we watched the film, we learned from it, we put it behind us, and we're excited for a new week."
Stafford added that the chant wasn't meant for any team. "It was just a general statement," he said.
I don't want to read too much into a pre-practice chant, but I'm going to anyway. The "us against the world" thing is cool, provided players realize there's a number of reasons the world has rallied against them. You've lost three of four games. The sole win during that stretch came against one Timothy Richard Tebow. Your official team website still leads with news that home games are sold out. You play dirty, and too often it's not "hard" dirty like the Steelers but "dirty for the sake of being dirty" dirty. Can you blame folks for not being as enthusiastic about a 6-3 team as they were about a 5-0 team?
I'm not sure people have jumped off the Lions bandwagon in the first place. Aside from last week's Bears game, the team's two losses were competitive. Unless you were one of those Kool-Aid drinkers who thought the Lions would be undefeated at Thanksgiving, seeing them at 6-3 and in contention for a wild-card berth is right in line with expectations.
Oh, and if the Lions are going to personify the title of a 2Pac album, it should be the rapper's debut. "Suhpocalypse Now" would have made for an awesome '80s sports poster.