Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Night Football...Welcome BACK to Detroit!!!!!!

At Jefferson Avenue and Woodward in Detroit, this sculpture has stood since 1986. It's called "Fist of a Champion." It was built as a tribute to the boxer Joe Louis, who doesn't really need much of an introduction.

But the sculpture has come to stand for something else...the heart of a city that has been beaten down, yet continued to fight back, and always...ALWAYS...gets back up.

Joe Louis had 25 successful title defenses during his amazing career. A record that still stands to this day, and one that probably won't ever be eclipsed. That means that he got knocked down, but back up.

Detroit has taken a beating in recent years. The economic downturn hit The Motor City harder than it did most other cities. Times were tough. Jobs were scarce. And the industry that built this town into what it is, was floundering and largely asking the government to make sure they didn't fail.

So Detroit was down...but remember...Detroit ALWAYS gets back up.

Largely, the Detroit Lions football organization has been a microcosm of what Detroit has been going through. As the economy was falling apart in 2008, the Detroit Lions were mirroring this failure by stumbling to an 0-16 season...the first ever of it's kind in the NFL. Yes, the Lions were the worst team the NFL had ever seen.

Near the end of 2008, the Mayor of Detroit, Kwame Kilpatrick served his last day as mayor. Kilpatrick had failed the City on numerous counts.

Again, mirroring the City, near the end of 2008 the Lions fired their head coach Rod Marinelli. Marinelli had failed the Lions on numerous counts.

The City was at what may have been the worst time in it's history, and likewise, the Lions were in fact at the worst time in their history.

But remember...Detroit ALWAYS gets back up. And like the mirror I've already presented, so do the Detroit Lions.

A rebuilding process began. The automakers were bailed out or made plans to rejuvenate their businesses. The jobs started to slowly creep back, even if they still today aren't anywhere near where they were before the City got knocked down last.

Likewise, the Lions began rebuilding. It started with the hiring of a coach. A coach like the Motor City hadn't seen in a very long time, if ever. A hard nosed, defensive minded coach who seems to love the game as much as anyone and who is animated and celebrates on the sidelines like a player himself. Jim Schwartz started the turn around by saying all the right things.

Meanwhile in Detroit, the automakers were busy getting themselves back on track. Ford ended up not taking any money from the government. General Motors paid their loans back early. And each company ended up making cars that were making a lot of noise in the industry.

At the same time, the Lions continued their resurrection under the new coach. They drafted the stud quarterback from Georgia, Matthew Stafford. They followed that up with a solid tight end, Brandon Pettigrew. Then the next year they added the biggest key in Ndamukong Suh. They also added some help on offense with Jahvid Best.

So the keys to the City getting back up were in place. The auto industry was getting back on track. The corrupt mayor had been removed from power. New businesses were starting to pop up. And the City was starting to get back up.

Again, while this was going on, the Lions were putting their keys in place as well. The stud quarterback missed a lot of games in his first two seasons as injuries took their toll, but the other players were fitting into their positions well and things were starting to look up. 0-16 in 2008 turned to 2-14 in 2009. Not much of an improvement, but the team was different. That turned into 6-10 in 2010. A solid improvement and a foundation to build upon.

So now we make it to today. The City is steadily moving forward. The automakers have cars that are hot sellers and are on the cutting edge of technology. The overall feel of the City is that it's trying it's best to get back onto it's feet, and if you ask people around Detroit they will tell you that things are turning around. The City is getting back up.

And in that mirror, we have the Detroit Lions. Tonight they beat the Chicago Bears at home in what was the first Monday Night Football game in over a decade. They improved to 5-0, which is their best start in 55 years. Those players that were put in place?? All of them are looking like superstars right now. The Lions are getting back up.

So tonight, the City and the Lions can celebrate. They took the "Fist of a Champion" and punched the Bears in their collective faces, and in a way showed the entire country on national television what the City is all about.

The count may have been all the way to 9 on this City.

The count may also have been all the way to 9 on this Lions franchise.

But remember.

The City of Detroit always...ALWAYS...gets back up.

Now?? It would appear that the Lions are learning something from that never say die attitude that this City attitude that has been learned from hard work over countless attitude that is summed up perfectly with that sculpture. So right now, the Lions are trying to get back up...because like the City, they HAVE to get up.

And right now...they're doing a damn fine job getting back into this fight.


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