The Dungeon of Doom.
Man, that's a low blow.
That's a downer, because when Lions coach Jim Caldwell said that about the team's media pressroom this week, it sounded so unlike my former colleagues. I was a sportswriter for 38 years -- still am, occasionally -- and I can't imagine a more relentlessly upbeat bunch. Why, if I had a nickel for every time someone responded with a cheerful "Bleep-bleep it to bleep!" every time his or her laptop took a dump or Coach's postgame presser came back sounding like a comm link from Pluto on the old Dollar General tape recorder ... well. I'd be a rich man.
I mean, if we were truly the Negative Nellies that Caldwell claimed we were, wouldn't we have whirled that dumpy laptop out of the pressbox like a discus? Wouldn't we have thrown that cheap piece of crap tape recorder against the wall? And wouldn't we have reacted with more than just low grumbling and pitiful whining when the bleeps kept the bleeping locker room closed forever or that bleeping Knight brought some bleeping freshman who didn't even play to the bleeping postgame? Again?
I mean, bleep. If we were really such a bunch of Gloomy Guses, wouldn't we have been more melodramatic than that?
Of course we would have. Instead, there was hardly a discouraging word. OK, there were, but mostly it was just a lot of loud sighing and moaning. And that, my friends, is sportswriter code for, "Heavens to Betsy, ain't this a great life?"
Because, see, mostly it is, and deep down we all know it. And so the bitching and moaning isn't really negativity, because our hearts aren't really in it.
That's why I suspect Caldwell is wrong, wrong, wrong about this Dungeon of Doom business. I bet there are plenty of sunshine-y souls covering the Lions these days. Why, I bet even now someone up there is crafting a story pointing out that, you know, things could be worse. The Lions could be nine games into the season instead of just eight, which means they'd be 1-8 instead of just 1-7.
And, yeah, sure, they rank 26th in the NFL in total offense, 27th in total defense and 24th in scoring. But at least they're not last. OK, so they actually are last in rushing -- but, hey, that's just one category. Amiright?
And, yeah, OK. So they went all the way to London last week to get smoked 45-10 by the Chiefs. But, hey, at least they got to see London. You can't call it a total failure when you get to see Big Ben up close.
And no, not that Big Ben, the one who plays quarterback in Pittsburgh. That probably would be a total failure. But you know what?
The Lions don't play Pittsburgh this year.
Go on. Try to put some Doom on that.