Recent comments from Detroit Lions fans on Facebook and Twitter have shown a strong concern with the Lions placement in prime time games.
This all made me think- Why are the Lions only assigned to one prime time game a year after being on national television six times in 2015? The answer is simple, the Detroit Lions are no longer a marketable team. Before you rip my head of and call me Lions hater, you have to understand a few things first.
What is marketability in the NFL?
The definition of marketable is “Able or fit to be sold or marketed. Or in demand.” The first part of the definition has to make you ask yourself something. What is it about the Lions that would make casual fans or fans from other teams watch them on Sunday or Monday night? Strip away the fact that you’re a Lions fan and think like a businessman for a moment. Calvin Johnson used to be that reason to tune in. But now that he’s retired, what are the Lions?
When you’re sifting through 32 teams trying to come up with the right teams to show on a Monday night, there is just nothing about the Lions that stands out other than Matthew Stafford. As much as Detroit may love him or hate him, he’s not putting butts in seats like Calvin or Suh used to. None of this means the Lions suck or people hate them. It mostly means that the Lions need to form a new reason for fans to watch them.
NFL is about ratings
The NFL isn’t like the WWE or a normal TV show. But they would really like to be and want to show their fans drama, controversy, action and fun every week. They need story lines to do that. Which of course brings me to the Lions one Monday night game and why it makes so much sense to have it.
Every time the Lions and Cowboys have met over the past few years it’s been a wild ride of a game with crazy finishes. But the last time they met was in the 2014 playoffs when the “picked up flag” incident happened. There is a built in story line with drama and controversy ready to go. The announcers will talk about the penalty a lot, they’ll show different replays of it throughout the game to remind you. It will probably be a part of the game’s opening package. Not to mention this game is in the thick of the playoff hunt. If one or both of these teams are in that hunt, you can really build upon that by saying these teams are trying to play spoiler to one another. Or you can come right out and say the Lions are looking for revenge.
Do you really want the Lions to play on prime time?
I mean come on! Do you really want to see the Lions on primetime? Or do you just want the Lions to get some attention. If it’s about attention, I get it. The Lions have been the little brother in the NFL for quite some time now. It was nice to be featured to the world for a while. It was also embarrassing. What does the casual football fan know about the Lions? They went 0-16. No matter who you ask about the Lions, that will be a part of their answer.
Which is why it’s embarrassing when the Lions get that shot to turn that thought around on national television and they get smoked by the Chiefs, lose after a controversial no call, lose after a controversial call and hail mary, lose to a Peyton Manning that nobody should have lost to, and countless other moments of controversy or outright embarrassment. Do you really want to see another prime time game go down that way? Because I’m sure you can only remember the bad ones and completely forget the good ones. I think one prime time game is good enough.
Going back to the beginning again. This is not a dig at the Lions. This is not anyone saying “they suck” or what have you. It all comes back to the big question of this whole piece. Who are the Detroit Lions? New front office, no Calvin and a young core of budding stars that are not household names. It’s all just too many question marks to put it on prime time. Plus what if the Lions wind up being really really bad? Figuring that out in front of the whole country is not what the Lions want and it’s not what the NFL wants either. 1:00 games and Thanksgiving will do just fine for the Lions and should do just fine for most fans that like to enjoy the rest of their Sundays after the game.
If the Lions have a big year, they will wind up getting back into that prime time slot in 2017. They must first show what their identity is. What do you think Lions fans? Be sure to leave your comments below or come yell at me on Twitter @SLR_Mike