We quizzed Lions fans on why they watch, their fondest memories, and why the Lions are different 

A community of fans

Steven David Tuthill, 37, frontman of the Beggars

On being a Lions fan | Being a Lions fan is about unconditional love, loyalty, and hope. To dream of one day winning the division (NFC North), a playoff game, and one day a Super Bowl is worth it alone. The heartbreaking seasons and games only pave the way for what will be the greatest day of my life (winning it all one day). I never miss a game ... football season is very thrilling!

On good Lions memories | My fondest moments being a Lions fan come from watching the games with my father and my brother. I was at the game when Barry Sanders ran for 237 yards against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Lots of heartbreak, but being a true fan is about loyalty. Take the good with the bad. The payoff will be very rewarding when we win the Super Bowl in 2016.

Favorite Lions other than Barry Sanders | Chris Spielman or Brett Perriman.

Coolest Lions memorabilia | I do have the 45 RPM single of "Another One Bites the Dust" by Jimmy "Spider-Man" Allen.

Predictions | 10-6, winning the division for the first time since 1993.

Larry Joe Campbell, 43, actor

On being a Lions fan | I don't know how to be any other kind of fan. I know of people who have jumped ship and now root for other teams, but I can't do that. I ride the same wave as every other loyal fan does: super stoked in the off-season, then reality check. "This year will be different." I say it every year, but I truly believe that. Why be a fan if you don't? I love Coach Caldwell. It'll boil down to having a winning record on the road.

On being a Lions fan far from home | It's actually easier. There's a lot of empathy out here in Los Angeles for the Lions. It's hard to find anyone who hates the D. They actually tell me, "I sure hope the Lions get one." That's from Patriot fans, Steeler fans, Bronco fans. Of course, those teams have several!

On great memories | I remember my oldest brother taking me to my first game at the Silverdome when I was 10. I lived up in Cadillac, so this was a big trip to head back to the city of my birth. My brother was broke, and our seats could not have been any higher. The players looked like ants. But he said, "These are the best seats, 'cause you can see the entire play develop." I made a sign on a bed sheet that read "Who sacks quarterbacks every day? It has to be William Gay." And then accidentally left it at the house. Jeff Komlo was the QB. I think Billy Sims was out that game, and it was still one of the happiest days of my life. Oh, and I also loved it when Billy Sims kicked that Houston dude in the face. Or the lone playoff win (in 1991), especially because we beat the Cowboys, who I cannot stand. My wife is a Cowboys fan, and she gets really upset when they lose. I say, "I'm sorry, honey" — and then secretly snicker. Then there's Barry Sanders, Barry Sanders, Barry Sanders. I cried when he retired. Then got really mad. Then cried again.

How my support differs from other Detroit teams | I don't have to tell people I'm a Lions fan. I wear it. My car shows it. Walk into my man cave and everyone knows it. I'm a Lions fans first and foremost. I think everyone in Detroit is. Honestly. Because they haven't won. All the others have championships or at least have been in the championship in the last two decades. If the Lions were to go to the Super Bowl, there wouldn't be a dry eye in the entire state of Michigan. Then we could collect those tears and dump them on California. No more drought!

Jimmy Doom, late 40s, actor

On being a Lions fan | Yes, I am a Lions fan. I was actually at the Lions' last playoff victory (in 1991) at the Silverdome against the Cowboys. I was there, in the serious nosebleeds. We were so far up, I was afraid that an air duct was gonna suck me out like some kind of Logan's Run thing. It was great. About four rows in front of us there were a couple college-age dudes who had driven up from Dallas to see the Cowboys play the Lions, and we spent the first quarter ripping on them. Then the Lions' victory was so secure — it sounds so weird to say, but — the Lions were stomping them so bad that we felt sorry for the guys and bought them beer and wished them well on their trip home and it was all friendly.

I actually have a Lions victory story. I feel like the last surviving Civil War soldier or something. That's a great memory.

On what sets the Lions apart from other Detroit teams | I can't speak for everyone, but I would think that Detroit sports fans would keep this in mind: If the Lions win the Super Bowl, that's my career grand slam. That's it. I've lived through and witnessed the Tigers winning the World Series, the Wings winning multiple Stanley Cups, and the Pistons winning the NBA championship. So if the Lions win, that's it. What more can you ask for, as a sports fan, than all four of your major hometown teams winning their championships in their respective leagues? So that's how I look at it. Damn it, I hope to live to see them win a championship. I mean, it's like they're our problem child. The Wings, for years, have been our straight-A student, and the Lions are like our fuck-up kid, the one you get a call from the cops at about 3 in the morning, saying, "Come bail your kid out." [laughs] That's kinda what the Lions are. But that doesn't mean I'm gonna stop loving them.

Mark Covington, 42, founder and chairman of the Georgia Street Community Collective

On being a Lions fan | Well, it's a little torturing. [laughs] I love being a Lions fan. I am a die-hard fan. I go with somebody in my family at least three times a year. And we always watch them on TV. It began with my father. When we were younger, we'd watch the Lions on TV with Dad. Now we just show the games at the center. It has a lot more room, and we're all over the place, jumping up and down, hitting tables, throwing food. [laughs]

On good Lions memories | I remember going to the Pontiac Silverdome to see them play the San Francisco 49ers. I remember we beat them at the last minute at the Silverdome. And we had seats in the end zone, where, I think, Herman Moore caught a touchdown pass to beat San Francisco. And then a couple years ago, when they made it to the playoffs, it was super exciting.

On what sets the Lions apart from other Detroit teams | I'm a sports fan, a Detroit sports fan. I don't watch the Wings much. I watch the Tigers and Pistons a lot, but they don't really compare to the Lions. I don't know why. I'm an ex-football player, I played in high school, college, and semi-pro, so I'm a football guy, and my bloodline runs deep for the Lions.

Chanel Hunter, 37, drag performer

On being a Lions fan | I have lived in Michigan my entire life and I have always been a big supporter of Detroit teams. My grandfather was a huge fan, and I looked forward to watching games with him every Sunday.

On good Lions memories | Well, honestly, I don't have a ton of great memories, as they have never been the best of teams. But I always loved watching Barry Sanders play. That was a great time to be a Lions fan. Win or lose, there was always a ton of excitement.

On what sets the Lions apart from other Detroit teams | To be honest, I am the biggest Tigers fan. Tigers, Pistons, and Red Wings have always had a tradition of winning! The Lions have not. You have to be a true-blue fan to stick by a team that has never really won. Every year, I'm anxious for the start of the season and I hope it's the year to have a deep playoff run.

Derek Robertson, 24, from the bands Slow Dance and Junk Food Junkies

On being a Lions fan | My relationship with the Lions is like ... one of the depressed, constantly disappointed siblings of someone featured on Intervention. I spend time with them every week, hoping for the best, but grimacing with resigned expectation when they inevitably disappoint me again. Even when they show positive signs, I know that there is such a fundamental sickness at play, that to hope for complete redemption would just mirror the delusion that enables them to wake up every morning pretending anyone takes them seriously.

So I wouldn't say I'm a superfan or anything, but they're definitely my second favorite Detroit team, and I have their best interests at heart every Sunday, even though I can never fully give myself over to the "hope springs eternal" mindset of a lot of area fans.

On what sets the Lions apart from other Detroit teams | [My favorite team] is the Pistons, which places me squarely in the minority of Detroit sports fans at this point.

I love the current-era Pistons the way a pet owner loves an overly affectionate and enthusiastic pet who still won't stop just pissing all over everything.

As for the Red Wings, I've just generally always been indifferent toward hockey as a whole. No one in my family ever really watched it in considerable amounts while I was growing up, even when the Wings were in the Stanley Cup. As for the Tigers, I do like them, but baseball is probably the least interesting of the four major sports to me, just on personal preference, and a little bit is probably my own admittedly bitchy personal bias against their emergence since the 2006 World Series run as the unofficial team of basically the white-pickup-truck, fitted-cap, wouldn't-be-caught-dead-outside-of-the-stadium-area set.

I grew up around my mom's family religiously watching the Lions every Sunday, but I didn't start really paying attention to them on a regular basis until 2010, when I made a concerted effort to start following sports in general. At first I tried to take a detached approach to fandom, where I wanted to just support a team whose playing style and personality was appealing to me regardless of where they were from, but sentimentality won out, and now I find myself just hoping they at least get one playoff victory within the next 20 years before all of my long-suffering uncles die out.

Mikel Smith, 56, owner of Detroit Threads

On being a Lions fan | Oh, man. I don't know. It's a love-hate relationship. I guess I followed them since the mid-'70s, right before they went to the Silverdome, and it just seems like they have a couple good players to watch, but never quite enough to do anything other than '91 when they won their first playoff game since the [1950s], and no championships. I'm a sports fan overall; I just follow sports a ton, and there's just something about the Lions. They keep you locked in, and then they piss you off, then they get a couple new players and that lures you back in, and you're cussing at yourself by the end of the season. [laughs]

On the best Lions memory | I went to the 1991 playoff game against Dallas, when we beat Dallas. Just watching Barry Sanders is pretty much the highlight of being a Lions fan. Watching that run he had, one in particular, one that's probably in a lot of highlight reels, he looked like he was mobbed, but he just popped out from the crowd and took off down the field.

On what sets the Lions apart from other Detroit teams | It's weird. The Lions are different. When the Pistons got bad, I just dropped it and didn't pay attention until they were relevant again. With the Lions, it's like, good, bad, indifferent, I watch every year. There's always years where I'm like, "I'm not watching these assholes." And then it's 1 p.m. on a Sunday and you know I've gotta click over and watch. I'll end up at least watching the last quarter. I just can't completely just turn them off. — mt

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