For Detroit Lions Fans, It Just Keeps Getting Worse

Detroit Lions fans — many of whom are auto-workers — are having a tough year. The team has no wins and 15 losses. We visit a Detroit sports bar to hear what fans have to say during and after game 15.

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ALEX COHEN, host:

And finally today, the Detroit Lions did it again. They lost yesterday for the 15th time this season. They were defeated by the New Orleans Saints. The score? 42 to seven. Sunday's defeat puts them one loss away from being completely victory-free. Celeste Headlee commiserated with fans in Detroit.

(Soundbite of sports bar)

CELESTE HEADLEE: The Lions fans inside the Detroit Brew Company seem to be in various stages of grief. Season ticket holder Scott Benedict(ph) is angry.

Mr. SCOTT BENEDICT: They're a joke. Everybody thinks they're a joke. They're going to break the record for most losses ever, and they're going to be a joke until somebody else does it. So, what can you say?

HEADLEE: His friend, Nick Berard(ph), is pretty depressed.

Mr. NICK BERARD: Oh, they're really bad, and they deserve to lose every game. They're the worst team I've ever seen in my life.

HEADLEE: William Morgan(ph) seems to be in denial.

Mr. WILLIAM MORGAN: Right now, we're in a slump. That's all it is, just a minor slump, just a little hiccup in our road to the Super Bowl.

HEADLEE: And Nick Sanders(ph) has reached acceptance.

Mr. NICK SANDERS: I think that the only way that they're ever going to win a game is if we let them cheat.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. SANDERS: At least this year.

HEADLEE: Sanders says the Lions may be able to beat the Green Bay Packers next week if the refs look the other way.

Mr. SANDERS: So, if we have to play them straight up, we don't have a chance. That's just not fair. And we should be able to, you know, cheat.

HEADLEE: Mike Zaleski(ph) is wearing a Lions jersey and brooding over the team's terrible performance. He blames management.

Mr. MIKE ZALESKI: I always say - equate it to the war in Iraq. You could be against the war, but you can't be against the soldiers over there. Don't blame the kids who are out there fighting their butts off playing this game.

HEADLEE: But Zaleski still buys tickets and still watches the games, as do all of the loyal fans here.

Mr. MORGAN: I love my Lions; I just can't watch it for too long.

HEADLEE: William Morgan says, for better or worse, Detroiters will continue to support their football team.

Mr. MORGAN: Because we love our city, and anybody that represents our city, we love them.

HEADLEE: And Ryan Storm(ph) says the Lions have never been really great, but have always had a loyal following.

Mr. RYAN STORM: I mean, it's part of Detroit, you know? You go Lions games. It doesn't matter how bad they are.

HEADLEE: So, part of living in and around Detroit is going to watch the Lions lose?

Mr. STORM: Yes.

HEADLEE: Next week, the Lions play the Packers, and it's their last chance to win a game this season. The team hasn't beaten the Packers in Green Bay since 1991, but William Morgan says anything could happen.

Mr. MORGAN: Who would have believed that we'd have a black president? So, next year, we could be all the way. We could go - maybe we'll win. We could go 16 and 0.

HEADLEE: Celeste Headlee, NPR News, Detroit.

(Soundbite of music)

COHEN: Day to Day is a production of NPR News, with contributions from slate.com. I'm Alex Cohen.

MADELEINE BRAND, host:

And I'm Madeleine Brand.

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