Commentary

Who did it -- Lions or Will Ferrell?

Franchise's story lines and scenes from classic comedies are eerily similar

Originally Published: October 31, 2013
By David Fleming | ESPN.com

It was the giant alligator that finally changed my mind.

Look, I'm a Detroit native, so I know what it has been like for Lions fans the past, oh, 60 years or so. And the last thing I wanted to do was cause any more pain or humiliation. But over the past few years, I've noticed a unique pattern with this team's behavior that I've just been dying to share. Still, I didn't write anything after Dominic Raiola's run-in with the Wisconsin marching band, or, after Nate Burleson broke his left arm after becoming distracted by a pizza while driving or even when tight end Joseph Fauria started doing the Cabbage Patch Dance after touchdowns.

But this week, Detroit improved to 5-3 with an incredible last-second win against the Cowboys, and then I read the headline "Louis Delmas Gives Up Pet Alligator" and, honestly, I just couldn't wait any longer to test my theory.

So here it is:

During the past several years, the Detroit Lions have become so wonderfully weird it has gotten to the point that you can no longer tell the difference between the team's odd behavior and the plot of a Will Ferrell movie.

(I will, like Dean Gordon Pritchard in "Old School," now pause for a moment to allow that information to properly sink in.) To further prove my point, below I've laid out 17 scenarios. Trust me, there were more, many, many more.

See for yourself if you can pick which one is an actual byproduct of the twisted Motor City Kitties or something only Ron Burgundy or Chazz Michael Michaels (a veteran of Detroit's underground sewer skating scene) could dream up.

There's an answer key at the end in case you struggle. (And you will.)

As always, I'm counting on you to send along your own crazy connections to @FlemESPN (#FerrellLions).

Okay, you decide: Is it Will Ferrell or the Detroit Lions?


Scenario No. 1

Undisciplined children dressed in blue jackets desecrate moment of thanks with threats to scissor-kick defenseless old man.

Undisciplined child dressed in blue jersey desecrates moment of Thanksgiving by scissor-kicking offensive lineman.

Scenario No. 2

Until recently this highly skilled athlete enjoyed training a 6-foot alligator in Allen Park and teaching it to eat out of his refrigerator.

This highly skilled athlete enjoyed training Komodo dragons in Sri Lanka and teaching them to perform Hamlet.

Scenario No. 3

Member of fraternity gets wasted, strips naked and requests a trip to KFC.

Member of coaching fraternity gets wasted, strips naked and drives himself to Wendy's.

Scenario No. 4

On grand stage, guy with Transformer nickname ends debate with guy who just can't seem to shut up in front of a microphone.

On grand stage, guy with Tank nickname ends debate with guy who just can't seem to shut up in front of a microphone.

Will Ferrell, AnchormanParamount Pictures Did Ron Burgundy's brilliance inspire the Lions ... or did the Lions' dysfunction influence Burgundy?

Scenario No. 5

A hope-devouring suck tornado spawned in the hell fires of Motown.

An ice-devouring sex tornado spawned in the hell fires of Motown.

Scenario No. 6

"My first year I played ... I was the best."

"Here's the deal: I'm the best there is, plain and simple. I wake up in the morning and I piss excellence."

Scenario No. 7

Drives vehicle to event, parks, strips, dances around half naked.

Drives vehicle in event, parks, strips, runs around half naked.

Scenario No. 8

A guy gets distracted by pizza box on the front seat of his truck, police are called after serious accident with injuries.

A guy gets distracted by pizza box on the front seat of his truck, police are called after serious accident with injuries.

[+] EnlargeRod Marinelli
Rex Brown/Getty ImageDoes Rod Marinelli believe in the invisible?
Or does he live in a class case of emotion?

Scenario No. 9

Disastrous, bizarre live interview with Matt Lauer makes people question his sanity.

Disastrous, bizarre live interview with Brent Musberger makes people question his sanity.

Scenario No. 10

During horrific run of bad luck, a guy named Rod says, "I believe in the invisible."

During horrific run of bad luck, a guy named Ron says, "I'm in a glass case of emotion."

Scenario No. 11

Band performs during break in event wearing ill-fitting white polyester suits, causing elder team member to go berserk.

Band performs during break in event wearing ill-fitting white polyester suits, causing elder family member to go berserk.

Scenario No. 12

Team leader plays jazz flute.

Team leader plays concert piano.

Scenario No. 13

Derives perverse pleasure from attending sad, public events, eats meatloaf afterward.

Derives perverse pleasure from attending sad, public events, eats Coney Island chili dogs afterward.

[+] EnlargeJoseph Fauria
AP Photo/David RichardJoseph Fauria had reason to dance during his three-TD game against the Browns back in Week 6.

Scenario No. 14

Dressed in tight pants, man performs awkward, suggestive dance moves inspired by cheesy pop songs for a score.

Dressed in tight pants, man performs awkward, suggestive dance moves inspired by cheesy pop songs after a score.

Scenario No. 15

Driven by competition of high-end fashion world, man commits crime against model.

Driven by competition and high-end fashion luggage, man commits alleged crime against model teammate.

Scenario No. 16

Guy wearing helmet broadcasts universal sign for "Go f---k yourself Detroit" to audience, gets fined.

Guy wearing hair helmet broadcasts universal sign off "Go f---k yourself San Diego" to audience, gets fired.


Answer key: (1) "Talladega Nights" / Ndamukong Suh suspended two games for Thanksgiving day stomp on Packers Evan Dietrich-Smith; (2) Louis Delmas, 2013 / Jean Girard, "Talladega Nights"; (3) "Old School" / Lions assistant coach Joe Cullen, 2006; (4) Calvin Johnson, 2013 / James Carville, "Old School"; (5) Matt Millen era / Chazz Michael Michaels, "Blades of Glory"; (6) Titus Young tweets / Ricky Bobby, "Talladega Nights"; (7) Booty Lounge, a mobile strip club at Lions games, 2011 / Ricky Bobby, "Talladega Nights"; (8) Nate Burleson, 2013 / Ricky Bobby delivering for Hugaloos, "Talladega Nights"; (9) Dr. Rick Marshall, "Land of the Lost" / Lions fanatic Eminem, 2013; (10) Rod Marinelli during 0-16 2008 season / Ron Burgundy, "Anchorman"; (11) Dominic Raiola incident with Wisconsin's band, 2013 / Dr. Robert Doback, "Step Brothers"; (12) Ron Burgundy, Channel 4 News Team / Joey Harrington, 2003; (13) Chazz Reinhold, "Wedding Crashers" / Lions fans, et al; (14) Chazz Michael Michaels to Billy Squier's "The Stroke" in "Blades of Glory" / Joseph Fauria, Cabbage Patch, 2013; (15) Mugatu, "Zoolander" / Rudi Johnson's Gucci luggage incident with Tatum Bell, 2008; (16) Raiola, 2008 / Ron Burgundy, "Anchorman."

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