Stephen A. is in Detroit. He is not sold on the Lions: "Nobody should expect anything"


Detroit is buzzing about the Lions this season. The rest of the country is listening. They're the darlings of 'Hard Knocks.' They're the people's pick in Vegas. They're 'one of the most interesting teams' in football, according to longtime NFL reporter Peter King.

They're "the team that can, and will," says America's favorite coach Dan Campbell.

One pundit isn't buying it.

Asked about the national perspective of the Lions this season, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith told 97.1 The Ticket, "That you’re the Detroit Lions and nobody should expect anything. That’s just the way that it is."

"You hope you’re wrong," Smith went on. "Playing in Ford Field, obviously that’s an attractive place to play. But from a historical perspective, y’all just haven’t gotten it done. When’s the last time y’all won a playoff game? Was it 1991? Nobody’s thinking about the Detroit Lions."

Smith is in Detroit this week to broadcast 'First Take' live on Friday from the WGPR Museum as part of a celebration of WGPR-TV 62, the first Black-owned and operated TV station in the country. He will also be the keynote speaker at the WGPR Historical Society's fundraising gala Saturday night.

"When you think about the history of that station and what they’ve done for African Americans to address diversity, it’s a subject that’s near and dear to my heart," he said. "My boss is a Detroit native who's intimately involved in all of this and he asked me to come here and speak to the citizens of Detroit. It's an honor and a privilege for me to do so."

But Smith isn't here to play nice about Detroit's football team, which opens the season Sunday coming off its fourth straight last-place finish. He did say that he's rooting for Campbell, who's "entertaining, to say the least" and has "the right personality." When it otherwise comes to the Lions, said Smith, "You don't pay much too much attention to them.

"You look at it and say, ‘OK, show me something.’ Listen, your guy Jared Goff, the second he leaves the Rams they win the championship. You’re just living in purgatory," he said. "But there’s nowhere to go but up and that’s the silver lining.

"I personally believe that if the Detroit Lions didn’t play on Thanksgiving Day, people would actually forget that they exist half the time. That’s my personal opinion. But everything I’m told, times are different, things will be different this year. We shall see. I hope so."

Smith is a provocateur. He's paid millions (and millions and millions) of dollars to make controversial statements. Like this one: the Lions should no longer play on Thanksgiving Day, despite being synonymous with the holiday since 1934.

"It makes absolutely no sense for the Lions to be on Thanksgiving Day. The fact of the matter is, that’s something (the NFL) needs to change. I’ve long held that position, that they don’t have any business being on Thanksgiving Day, penciled in every Thursday at 12:30. No reason for it whatsoever," said Smith.

But what about tradition? What about Detroit?

"You don’t need them ruining your Thanksgiving," said Smith. "The level of ineptitude they’ve displayed has been alarming for far too long. When you haven’t won a playoff game in over 30 years, that’s disgraceful. There is no way around that. Not only that, you’re the franchise that allowed somebody like Bobby Ross to run the greatest player in franchise history out of town. So there’s a lot of infamy there.

"Now, again, that’s the past. Hopefully the future is a lot better. I don’t root against you. I love Detroit, I love the people of Detroit. My point is, you deserve better than the Lions organization has given you, and hopefully they’re on the verge of giving you better times."

At the very least, we can all agree on this: Dallas Cowboys fans are the worst.

"When I say Cowboys fans disgust me and make me want to throw up, I’m serious," said Smith. "Old, young, Black, white, Latina, it don’t matter. They can go 1-15, finish the season on January 5th at 7:00 and at 7:30 p.m. they’re telling you, 'You know we’re gonna win the Super Bowl next year, right?' They don’t take a second to smell themselves. They really think the star belongs to them and represents something pristine and just reeks of championships. It’s been 27 years. They’ve won [four] playoff games in that span, and you would think they’re the Patriots with Tom Brady. Their fans walk around like their stuff don’t stink. They’ll pass gas right in your face and tell you it’s perfume. And not only that, they’re everywhere. If a nuclear bomb dropped, three things would survive: rats, roaches and a Cowboys fan. It’s just who they are."

Listen live to 97.1 The Ticket via:
Audacy App  |  Online Stream  |  Smart Speaker

Featured Image Photo Credit: Justin Casterline / Stringer