It will not be the happiest of holidays for the Lions ... or their fans. (Paul Sancya/AP)
It was bad enough that fans of the Detroit Lions had to watch their team get eliminated from the 2013 NFL postseason with Sunday's overtime loss to the New York Giants, with head coach Jim Schwartz yelling at some of them when they booed the team. Some of those Lions fans went home, woke up the next day and found ... playoff tickets in the mail.
The team had mailed playoff ticket invoices to season-ticket holders in November. At that time, the Lions were 6-5, and tied for first place in the NFC North. They moved their record up to 7-5 with a 40-10 win over the Green Bay Packers on Thanksgiving, and then the Lions fell completely apart. They've lost their last three games, and the big talk is no longer about the playoffs -- it's about how much longer Schwartz will have a job, and whether the team will shut Calvin Johnson down for Sunday's season finale against the Minnesota Vikings.
The tickets came in two-game blocks, and per the Detroit Free Press, all 2013 playoff ticket purchases will be credited to 2014 season ticket renewals.
Which, we imagine, comes as little consolation to those fans who received them. The hope was that after 2012's 4-12 record -- which followed a 2011 season featuring the first playoff berth since 1999 -- things were about to turn around.
“We’ve come up short the last two years," Schwartz concluded on Monday. "I don’t think there’s any question of that. Last year was a lot different situation than this year. Last year, injuries really mounted and things like that. Even though last year I say that, it was a lot different. I think if you go back and look, I’d be surprised, I don’t remember, maybe even going back to my first year, I don’t remember any game that we weren’t within a score in the fourth quarter. I think that’s been sort of the hallmark of our team. We’ve battled every single game, we haven’t come up with enough of those to be wins.”
Aside from a bit of premature jocularity, there will be no playoff talk in Detroit this season.