Excitement over the Lions first Monday Night Football game since 2001 is understandable but it is important to remember that this is a beginning, not an end.
The natural question to ask now that the Lions have a game in primetime is, has the team arrived on the national scene? Enthusiasm is growing locally but I see the week five appearance on Monday Night Football as the team’s national introduction, not arrival. The schedulers have deemed the Lions relevant, a far cry from prominent.
The Lions are now known nationally as a team on the rise and have been rewarded for the efforts in rising out of the ashes of 0-16. Fans that watch the Lions closely will see the flashes of brilliance from Matthew Stafford yet the nation knows him for his injuries. Beyond Detroit Calvin Johnson is known more for the one touchdown he didn’t catch (so says the rule book) than the 12 he did. That will start to change with the Lions’ introduction to a primetime audience.
A season less than what the majority of fans think the Lions can have next year and they may find themselves back off the primetime schedule in 2012. The recognition is nice but the Lions haven’t arrived just yet.