Happy Thanksgiving to all Americans. Being a Lions fan over the years it’s a day I always look forward to because beyond being the only televised Lions game for many, many years (remember how bad they were?) it was also an excuse to call in sick and stuff my face with wings, nachos and as many beers as I could muster before blacking out. Ah, the holidays.
The Lions gave all their fans an early Christmas present yesterday by spanking…smashing…annihilating the Chicago Bears yesterday. To be fair, I turned it off for a bit when the Bears went up 14-3 but that was more of the Lions beating themselves at that point. The Lions finished the game on a 31-3 run and watching Megatron pull in those touchdowns was literally the same feeling as I used to get on Christmas morning when I opened my G.I. Joe action figures (which is a strange gift for a 38-year old man). It was like watching all the good things from 2011 again as if the last two seasons never happened. There was obviously some correction to the offensive system and Stafford looked great yesterday with a little help from his friends. If Tommy Football and the Pats can put a beating on the Packers this weekend (I am predicting a 45-21 victory), the Lions are back in first place in the NFC North. I told a good friend of mine who is a Packers fan that he was in dreamland if he thought the Pack would win that game. His response “The only thing in dreamland is the Lions EVER hanging an NFC North banner.” He might be right but the Lions don’t want one of those. They’ll take the Wildcard and hang a Superbowl Champion banner up instead.
RAP-TORS!! Speaking of dreamland, the Raps are 13-2 and have won 6 in a row! I don’t know when this team is going to slow down but it is impressive to watch them. Even with tough games against Phoenix and a somewhat sloppy game against Atlanta, they find a way. They are confident and even when a few players have not hit their stride this season (cough…Vasquez…cough) the rest of the team picks it up. They aren’t afraid of anyone and they expect to win every game. In a time when teams are moving away from the Big Three strategy, it is a perfect time for a young, deep team like the Raps to steal the Eastern Conference and make some noise in the playoffs. Hey, the trailer for the new Jurassic World movie came out this week so their dumb name will even be relevant again! Good news all around!
Sad news out of Vancouver this week as former Leafs coach Pat Quinn passed away at the all-too-soon age of 71. I had not heard that he was sick but apparently he was for a while. I spoke about Pat Burns a couple of weeks ago and how he coached the most beloved Leafs team since 1967 and I think Pat Quinn was next in line. He was the GM and coach of the Leafs which is almost impossible to believe with the media vultures in this city but he was here for a long run. I felt like at times he didn’t coach enough but I loved that he was an old time guy with a reputation as a tough and chippy player (just ask Bobby Orr) and I heard many stories about him and Rick Ley showing up at parties with a half empty bottle of whisky in each of their hands. The two Pats are forever beloved in Toronto, not just because they were burly, Irish gents but because they remind us of a better NHL and a much better era for the Leafs. Let’s face it though, who wouldn’t have wanted to sit down and have a few beers with Pat Quinn? Yes, maybe Bobby Orr.