Are the Lions the next 1999 Rams?

Seeing the St. Louis Rams on Monday night takes me back.  Back to the last time we last saw the Lions on Monday Night Football.  In 2000 the Lions were throughly embarassed by the Rams in what began over a decade without having the coveted game on the schedule again.  Luckily, we were all oblivious to what the next ten years would bring to us.  If we would have known then, we’d have shut the game off at that moment and not looked back until the decade was over.  We wouldn’t have missed anything.

But things are different now.  A few years of good personel moves and the right coaching hires have put the Lions in an enviable spot.  An explosive offense and attacking defense have giving the 2010 NFL darling Bucs and Chiefs absolute fits through the first two weeks, and are making the NFL take note that the Lions went from an easy victory, to a tough game, to a game you don’t want to play.   Even when it feels like the Lions aren’t playing well, you look at the scoreboard and see they’re up 14 points.  Will it continue?  Maybe not, but there’s plenty of reasons to think it will continue.  The next three games see the Lions getting the Vikings, Cowboys and Bears.  With the Vikings 0-2, the Cowboys hurting and the Bears making the Monday Night Football visit to the “sure-to-be-insane” Ford Field, there’s reason to think that the Lions will be favored in each of those games.

Which gets me to my point.  It’s early now, and I’m getting ahead of myself, but if the Lions pull those three games out, after that October 10th Monday Night game, there will be inevitable comparisons to the last completely out of nowhere team, the 1999 Rams.  The team featured a receiving trio of Issaac Bruce, then rookie Torey Holt and Az Hakim.  Especially with yesterday’s breakout game by Titus Young, the Lions could feature a similar fearful wideout corp of Calvin Johnson, Nate Burelson and Young.

The Rams had the dual threat Marshall Faulk, it might be a reach, but maybe Jahvid Best will is a poor man’s Faulk.  Best already has 237 yards of total offense, only about 50 yards off Faulk’s 1999 pace through the first two game.  As for defense, the comparison could begin and end with the Lions defensive line.  I’m nearly certain that the Lions secondary got a couple of reputation picks yesterday as a skiddish Matt Cassell was chucking the ball up to anyone whenever he sensed pressure.  The 1999 Rams featured an incredibly fearsome front four with some highly recognizable names like Kevin Carter, D’Marco Farr, Leonard Little and Grant Wistrom.  Despite the names, I’d put Ndamukong Suh, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Corey Williams and Cliff Avril and the rest of the Lions deep line up against the Rams line.

Where the comparison doesn’t match up is quarterback.  Matt Stafford was a highly heralded, number one pick.  Kurt Warner was “The Natural” of NFL quarterbacks.  An absolute no one from no where who turned into one of the greatest stories in NFL history.  But like Warner’s need to prove himself when overlooked by everyone, Stafford might be feeling the need to prove himself like Warner once did after much of the league has labeled him as a massive injury concern.

The Lions have that aura about them now that the 1999 Rams did.  Everything they’ve touched has turned to gold.  Will it hold up, probably not.  They’ll probably comeback to Earth and struggle to finish .500, but it’s nice to dream now while we can.

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Tags: Calvin Johnson Cliff Avril Detroit Lions Jahvid Best Jim Schwartz Kyle Vanden Bosch Matthew Stafford Nate Burleson Ndamukong Suh Titus Young

  • dip

    They just went from Super Bowl Champs to a .500 team in this article. Probably somewhere in the middle is my guess

  • quarter2midnite

    Where the heck is this guy from? In my opinion you either aren’t a “True” LIONS fan, or you’re a plant from the otherside. This article was devised to build up fans hopes, then let the fans down. After watching this team, and their collective mindset, and the building cohesiveness in the various units, you write an article sayng that a team like that would win 5 games in a row, then lose 8 of their last 11, with a bye week in there to right the ship? I agree with the first half of this article, and I truely believe that after that Monday Night game the LIONS will be 5-0, but we differ as to what happens after that point. You believe that after such a eye opening start, there will be what amounts to a total team collapse, and they’ll be holding their collective breaths, praying that 2 teams will lose so we could squeeze into the play-offs as a wildcard (which wouldn’t happen because after a collapse like that, we wouldn’t deserve to go). I believe that after that 5-0 start we will have a loss here and there to deflate any possible brashness, over confidence or lack of focus. Even though I can’t and won’t stick numbers next to their name, I still stand by this……”At the end of this NFL season, the Detroit LIONS will have surprised nearly everyone by winning the NFC north, and winning at least one play-off game.” Not fanaticle, just realistic.

  • BenBerlin

    Calling all New York based Lions Fans!!!

    Come watch the honolulu blue every sunday in The Lion’s Den (back room of Jakes Dilemma upper west side). Last week we got 30 lions fans all in the room and it was a roaring good time. I dont work for the bar, im just a huge lions fan and hope that i can gather the biggest crowd possible.

    Introduce yourself if you show up! my name is Ben

  • detsportsczar


  • detsportsczar

    @quarter2midnite you’re right, the 180 probably was a tad harsh. For the record, while there are comparisons, I don’t quite think they’re the 1999 Rams yet. 5-0, and we’ll start talking. Also, I said they’d possibly be favored in the next three, but Minnesota and Dallas are far from sure things. If you read my past stuff, you’ll learn I’m still a bit jaded from 0-16. However, I would be surprised if the did only go .500. I expect 9-10 wins.

  • detsportsczar

    @dip The last paragraph was purely my jaded, still healing recovering Lions fan talking. For the record, I do think they’re good, but I’ve been wrong before. Look how Mooch’s career started.

  • quarter2midnite


    LOL!! O.K……I’ll see ya after Monday Night Football!

  • sackedCzarManyTimes


    quarter2midnight- while I might agree with you on the inevitable collapse of the lions, I’ll assure you that detsportsczar is a major lions fan. As rabid as they come.

    The Lions are best described as a hot woman at the bar that keeps you interested only long enough to get free drinks and keep your attention all night. she’ll eventually leave you cold by closing time. While they have made some good moves recently, I hate to get my hopes up. I will say comparing Faulk to Best may sound alittle 5 mile crack-headed, but Suh is a strong contender as long as they can keep it together. I’m saying the lions will hit the 9-7 mark this year and make the playoffs.