There are a lot of Detroit Lions that fans have to feel good about having the opportunity to reach the post season with this team. Jeff Backus and Dominic Raiola have been with the team for a decade and suffered as the public face of the Lions’ futility under Matt Millen. Jason Hanson also comes to mind, a player that tasted some success in the Barry Sanders-era and remained one of the game’s best kickers despite received little to no recognition outside of Detroit for his efforts.
It was another name that came to mind what I started thinking about this group of Lions heading to the playoffs. Kevin Smith.
While guys like Backus, Raiola and Hanson were around as the disappointment of recent years turned into great anticipation for the 2011 season while Kevin Smith was at home after the Lions chose not to tender him a contract. I can only imagine what he was thinking as he watched the Lions start 5-0 while he was still without a team.
It was Kevin Smith that drew ridicule after proclaiming the Lions would go to the Super Bowl as a rookie in 2008. Of course, the Lions went 0-16 that season. Undeterred, Smith again predicted a playoff appearance in ’09.
Call it ignorance or the confidence of a high level athlete, it doesn’t really matter. Kevin Smith worked himself into the position he currently finds himself and in doing so helped work the Detroit Lions into the playoffs, just like he said.