November 22, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; General view of an American flag at Ford Field prior to a game between the Detroit Lions and the Houston Texans on Thanksgiving. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

SideLion Report 4th Of July Edition: Detroit Lions Who Have Earned Their Stripes

Happy 4th of July Lions nation! Let’s start this thing off by thanking those who have given their time and their lives to keeping America free. We deeply appreciate everything our military and soldiers have done for us.

Now for the celebration. In honor of the fourth of July SideLion Report is going to hand out the Honolulu blue stripes to current players who have made Lions football palatable in the struggles that have taken place over the last decade.

Calvin Johnson- The Lions’ MVP has registered 3,656 yards and 21 touchdowns in the past two seasons including breaking Jerry Rice‘s record of yards in a season with 1,964 yards in 2012. Rooting for Johnson to break Rice‘s record was about all Lions fans had to root for last season. Megatron Has definitely earned his stripes.

Ndamukong Suh- The Lions took Suh with the second overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft and ford field hasn’t been the same since. Although the Lions only won six games in Suh’s debut season, but fans had a lot to cheer for particularly when Suh displayed his nasty sacks that often ended in a quarterback getting his helmet ripped off. Thanks to Suh the fans at Ford field were able to change their chants of “boo” to “SUH!” even in losing seasons. The Lions also ended their 26 games road losing streak in Suh’s rookie season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which may as well been the Lions’ Super Bowl that season. Speaking of Super Bowls, one of the Lions six wins in 2010 was against the eventual Green Bay Packers.

Matthew Stafford- When the Lions’ released Bobby Layne in 1958 he proclaimed that the Lions “would not win for 50 years.” In that time the franchise managed just one playoff win and zero franchise quarterbacks. Fast forward to 2009 and the Lions draft their first franchise quarterback since Bobby Layne, who ironically played at the same high school as Layne. Coincidence? I’ll leave that up that one up to you. More importantly the Lions finally have a franchise quarterback who has passed for over 10,000 yards and 61 touchdowns, including over 5,000 yards, 41 touchdowns, and the franchise’s first playoff birth in a dozen years. What Stafford has given the fans is a superstar who stays in Detroit year round, excitement, and more importantly hope.

Nate Burleson- Since coming to Detroit via free agency there has not been a better spokesman for the Lions and their players than Nate Burleson. Burleson has been productive on the field averaging 691 yards in his two full seasons and registered nine touchdowns. Burleson can be seen leading the team chants before the game, boosting up his teammates on detroitlions.com, and making a case for Calvin Johnson as the best player in the NFL on NFL Network. He’s been the leader the Lions needed while Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford where developing into the best in the game making for a smoother transition in the locker room.

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Tags: Calvin Johnson Detroit Lions Matthew Stafford Nate Burleson Ndamukong Suh

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