It’s like digging my heart out with a spoon to think that we would normally be close to seeing rookies hitting the field for their respected teams for the first time. There would be OTA talks, interviews with coaches and players and an overall sense that football is just around the corner. We can all hope that something will happen soon, like Obama hopes his approval ratings keep going up. With not much happening right now aside from lawyer gibberish or scripted ramblings of players, coaches and owners, the physical sport of football is taking a back seat. The Lions however are driving the car. Getting a tremendous amount of national publicity with their outstanding draft and the commercials airing with our upcoming stars, I wanted to take some stock as to how some rival teams fans feel about what to expect from the Lions in 2011-2012.
Living in Wisconsin obviously Packer fans are plentiful, but Bear and Viking fans alike are scattered about like children in a playground. The consensus is pretty universal throughout the fans of the NFC North rival teams on the thoughts of the Lions in the upcoming year. Most shake their head in disbelief that the Lions will ever be a force to be reckoned with. Comments like, “they will never be winners.” or “they won’t win more than 6 games.” The bitterness stems through their comments like a knife through butter. The fall of the Vikings is just around the corner and whether Vikings fans will admit it or not, the path to the cellar is already paved again. With every year that passes the Bears seem to get older and older and the youth they bring in never pans out. The Packers were the team of destiny last year, as many fans put it, and are poised to contend for another title. But when asked about the Lions and the upcoming year they all cringe at the fact that they all could be deafened by the roar of the lion.
The NFL from year to year has always been compared to a roller coaster ride. Some stay on top longer than others. Some at the bottom, but given the right leadership and attitude the left for dead can and will rise. There is fear in the eyes of the rival fans in the NFC North. The trembling in their voices when they speak of the Lions and the upcoming year is truly evident. Those rival fans will be undoubtedly be cheering against us this year. But given that, one can’t help think of the comparison of the 2011 Lions in story to the New Orleans Saints of a few years ago. New Orleans, a city drowning and forgotten found air in the Saints. They brought life to a city that was washed out to sea by Katrina. Detroit, a city driven by its auto industry fell to the wayside amidst bailouts and greed. The motor city however, flexed its American muscle and the American auto industry has rebounded. Our nation loves a comeback story and would love to see the city of Detroit rev its motor again and the roar won’t fall on deaf ears as the Lions continue to rise with its city. This year Lions fans will be plentiful because wins will bring notice but triumph will bring their hearts and the nation will be painted Honolulu blue and silver.