I’m like most of you. I’ve run through my dream job interview in my head more than a few times. It’d go a little something like this:
“Hi. Hello. My name is Eric Allen and I’m here to apply for the job of booking the halftime act for the Lions-Packers game. Yeah, the one here in Detroit. Yeah, the Thanksgiving one. Oh … You already booked someone? Tony who?”
That’s when the dream starts to dissipate, the colors slowly fading and I wake up in a pool of my own sweat. I’m left thinking, “Fuuuuuuuuuuck me.” Tony Lucca? The guy who fellow Mouseketeer Christina Aguilera couldn’t even pick out of a crowd on The Voice? Yes? Tony Frickin’ Lucca.
Fine. I get it, Detroit Lions marketing and PR department. This performance is about the “Community” (Capital C) and Tony Lucca is the safe choice. Most of your fans probably wish your coach had made a similar safe choice and not ran that fake field goal play against Pittsburgh in Week 11.
Yet, just like that negligent play, each and every debatable call since the end of the ’12 season has led to the Lions being on top of the NFC North. Call it being brazen or having big cojones, but this team has finally become highly combustible — in a good way. Whether it be consistently going for it on fourth down, throwing challenge flags in questionable situations or taking a slight gamble on signing players like Reggie Bush, the Lions have led the ultimate exercise in risk-reward behavior. Finally … something seems to be paying off.
What’s the connection between a safe halftime act and the ballsy team that will play football during the two halves surrounding it? Good question.
The call for the stale musical choice still reflects the Same Old Lions mentality that has plagued both the organization and fans since before the start of the Matt Millen regime. It’s the same type of decision-making that leaves the Lions as one of the only franchises in the league without an official cheer team.
If that doesn’t put it into perspective, then think about this: In a span of fewer than 10 Turkey Days, we’ve had to deal with the subpar football of Joey Harrington and Shawn Rogers and the bland musical gifts of Jesse McCartney and Chris Daughtry. If we don’t deserve a break this Thanksgiving, then when will we finally get one?
Am I saying there is a direct correlation between the Lions losing their first playoff game in more than a decade and Nickelback performing on Thanksgiving Day 2011? Of course not, but damn if that one performance doesn’t summarize years’ worth of painful memories for Honolulu Blue and Silver faithful.
Let’s avoid the mantra of mediocrity. Let’s have some fun. Let’s show what Detroit is all about with highly capable acts like Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., Danny Brown, Big Sean and other young artists with massive appeal. Hell, bring Tony Lucca out and let him sing 30 seconds of his single. If this performance is about community, show a wide birth of who makes up Detroit, and also let it reflect some of the grit that is shown on Ford Field eight times a year.
As I’m used to saying at the end of a Lions’ game on Thanksgiving, “There is always next year.” Instead of an on-field defeat, hopefully this time we will just be talking about the potential for a better halftime act that will match the tenacity of play on the field. Either way, I’m still going to have to explain who Tony Lucca is to my crazy uncle, who probably doesn’t even care anyway.