Jamaal Williams Has The Power Of God And Anime On His Side
9:00 AM EST on January 9, 2023
The Detroit Lions knew before the start of Sunday night's game that they couldn't make the playoffs. They were no longer sniffin' around, as there was nothing left to sniff. Even so, the Lions had an opportunity to keep the Green Bay Packers out, and they fulfilled that mission, canceling Aaron Rodgers's postseason hopes with a 20-16 win at Lambeau Field. Nobody enjoyed the primetime experience more than Lions running back and former Packer Jamaal Williams, who used his SNF intro to wear a custom Naruto headband and announce himself as "First Swagg Kazekage, leader of the Hidden Village of the Den." A historic moment for otaku everywhere.
This was something of a spiritual followup to Williams's quote last week, when he talked about prioritizing Pokémon over any sound bites from Rodgers:
Against the Packers, Williams led Detroit on the ground with 16 carries for 72 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Those two scores gave him 17 rushing TDs for the season, breaking the franchise single-season record held by Barry Sanders. The guy who used to be Aaron Jones's sidekick in Green Bay became a part of Lions history.
For me, Williams's biggest accomplishment of the night was the postgame interview he conducted with Melissa Stark. He started off by tearfully dedicating the win to his great-grandfather, who recently died at the age of 92, and it was a really lovely moment. But after Stark asked another question, the running back abruptly shifted emotions so he could call out everyone who doubted the Lions. It's a real roller coaster.
"You said this ball is for [your great-grandfather]?" Stark asked.
"Yeah, this is for him," Williams responded. Then he delivered an all-timer of a postgame speech:
And another thing, stop playing us, man. We the Detroit Lions. We the Detroit Lions. Stop playing with us. I don't even watch TV, but I heard everybody already picked the Packers over us. Stop playing with us. That's all I gotta say, man. Don't let these tears fool you. It's all dawg around this mug.
Man. The stakes weren't as high as when Richard Sherman called out Michael Crabtree, but this interview is just as compelling. It's rare to see that range of emotion in such a short span of time, live on national TV. Jamaal Williams wore his hitai-ate, contributed to the ruination of the Packers' season, grieved his beloved family member, and proved that anime is better than South Park. They might not have reached the playoffs, but the 2022 Detroit Lions could do worse than being remembered as the team that can (cry), and will (shit-talk).