Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Prayers of a Righteous Man

When Alex and I were dividing teams to review for Premature Evaluations earlier, I was a little disappointed to not get the Detroit Lions. Jon Kitna had just made his ten or more win prediction, and I couldn’t wait to skewer the crazy bastard. A 3-13 season the previous year? Another first round pick spent on a wide receiver? Another year of notoriously incompetent GM Matt Millen in the front office? THIS was the rock on which Jon Kitna was building a kingdom of ten or more wins? I joked, I laughed, and I mocked how any man, let along Jon Kitna, a pillar of mediocrity under center, could think that this kind of sustained failure combined with no major change in its formula could suddenly produce success. This was Einstein’s definition of insanity, about to be put on display for all to see.

Two games, two strong performances, and one alleged miracle later, I’m starting to believe that as puzzling as what I believed to be insanity was to me as a fan, Jon Kitna is experiencing this Lions season as something still more bewildering: A religious awakening.

In truth, we all should have seen it coming. Awakenings don’t happen with grandeur. They don’t take the pomp and circumstance of a papal visit or a Patriots free agent bonanza. They happen with “a voice of one calling in the desert, ‘prepare the way for the Lord.” They happen with a journeyman quarterback looking upon a collection of singular talents and declaring that the playoffs are not only within grasp; they are a birthright. Hope is one thing, but this kind of belief in destiny is another. It draws and binds more fervently than optimism ever could. Within weeks, the rest of his team had joined him, with Mike Furrey and Roy Williams joining in with proclamations of their own, disciples of a shared vision.

Believers like Kitna are the kind of men that carry movements into new realms. In carrying his own belief into this season, going from city to city, spreading his own gospel of faith in destiny, talent, and a Mike Martz offense, Jon Kitna has become the apostle of the Lions. His faith is his torch, and every teammate, every fan who sees, is another lost soul carrying their own branch, waiting to have it lit aflame with Kitna’s passion.

While we all would have derided Kitna’s confidence before, perhaps we should take a moment to consider whether or not we want to believe in his mission this season as well. Maybe we don’t want to believe in the Lions, after all, we are all fans of our own teams in one way or another, but the idea of the Lions is something that every fan can and should get behind. A man walks onto a field that has known nothing but defeat, carrying nothing but a helmet, his ability, and a faith, an assurance of victory hoped for and a certainty in glory he does not see. With that faith, he transforms a group of men, a franchise, and a city, giving all three hope where they have had none for so long. We all want to believe such a transformation is possible in the Lions because we want to believe that it’s possible in our own teams, in the people and things we believe in.

Doubters of Jon Kitna’s message were given still more ammunition to hurl at the Lions this year with this past week’s proclamation that Kitna’s concussion in last week’s game was healed miraculously. Kitna himself described feeling a presence, calling it “the hand of God.” Some have seen it as further evidence of a deluded mind. Having seen the change in this year’s Detroit team, I see it as another sign that the religious awakening of the Lions is at hand. After all, the final phase in religious awakenings, right before the masses are converted, is a miraculous vision passed on to man. Paul fell from his horse on the road to Damascus. Muhammad was visited by Gabriel at Mount Hira. With Jon Kitna and the Lions calling all football fans unto them, maybe, just maybe, the hand of God visited a quarterback at Ford Field.


Alex said...

When did we turn into the Art History Football blog?

Nice use of the Caravaggio, btw. That's exactly what Jon Kitna looked like when felled by the mighty Vikings pass rush.

David said...

I don't know if I call 5 turnovers an awakening. But they've got a great WR corps. So they're definitely not sleeping and not a team to be slept on.

Anonymous said...

u all r fools

Anonymous said...

david and alex go away to ur homeland