Starting in training camp and throughout the season, one of Jim Caldwell’s mantras (and he had a few) was he wanted his Lions to be able to win any time and anywhere. He wanted them to be an indoor team with an outdoor attitude. Caldwell wanted them to be prepared for anything that Mother Nature and the NFL schedule makers could throw at them.
He held a training camp workout at 8:30 p.m. bringing lights to the Allen Park facility for the first time. They had one evening camp practice at Wayne State.
Caldwell wanted them to grow to believe they could win anywhere at any time.
They succeeded in winning four games on the road including at London’s Wembley Stadium and went 7-1 at home.
The Lions were prepared for the playoff game at Dallas.
What they weren’t prepared for is the ineptitude of the officiating crew. Yes, they could have won despite Pete Morelli’s bunch, but they were not given a fair chance.
It's been revealed this week the officials missed (at the very least) a defensive holding call on Anthony Hitchens and a hold on Ndamukong Suh on fourth down on the game-winning drive.
That’s what’s so troubling. We all know the officials blow calls in every game. But this was a playoff game, nationally televised. So much on the line.
It was just the Lions’ second playoff game since 1999.
It was time to show the NFL world they belonged in the playoffs.
The NFL should be ashamed.
Coaches and players should win or lose the game not the officials.
Fans from across the NFL should be upset — this could happen to their team this weekend.
(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book, “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)