The argument can be made that the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts have had the best rivalry in the NFL over the last decade. What happens when that rivalry starts to fizzle? Can the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Detroit Lions take their place?
It is a question The Pewter Plank’s Patrik Nohe and I have been discussing. He started off earlier this week with an article comparing the Bucs to the Colts while I put together a Lions-Patriots comparison. Some interesting parallels were found in those explorations.
Today we finish with a Q&A session. We came up with a set of five prompts to help us through our discussion about a possible budding rivalry between the Lions and Bucs with both of us answering each question. Take a look:
What similarities between Lions-Bucs and Patriots-Colts do you find most compelling?
Patrik Nohe: Most striking to me is the quarterbacks. You cannot win in the NFL if you don’t have a good quarterback. Tampa and Detroit are two teams with considerable investments in young quarterbacks and the early returns have been very good. The Lions are a different team with Stafford in the game, they look potent. If he stays healthy he’s going to have a long and decorated career. We all saw what Freeman did in his first full season as a starter (25-6 TD:INT, 10-6 record, 6 come from behind wins).
You can’t quite say these two are the next two great ones yet. But it is OK to let that thought settle in the back of your mind this season. They both look to be on that trajectory. To me the quarterbacks excite me because I feel like we’d be getting a more athletic version of Manning-Brady if they can reach their potential. That’d equate to just fantastic football and I’d love both fan-bases to be treated to that for the next decade.
Zac Snyder: The connection that I find really interesting is that both sets of teams were in the same division until the league went to the current four division format. The fact that the Patriots and Colts used to play twice per year set up a certain level of familiarity. It may not have contributed to the intensity of the rivalry on the field but both fanbases were already used to seeing their team play the other. The Lions and Bucs are in the same position due to their mutual history in the old NFC Central division. I still have vivid memories of some hot games in Tampa and the Bucs trips to the Silverdome. Seeing the Lions and Bucs on the same field is not an odd site.