The newest Detroit Lions got a history lesson during their rookie camp from the Lions’ Bill Keenist that was “mostly positive” and predictably ignited a chorus of snark from all corners of social media. When you see the words “Lions history” and “positive” in the same headline the jokes really write themselves.
While it would be easy to pile on in that regard, it is worth mentioning that any played born in the mid-to-late 1990’s probably shouldn’t be expected to know a whole lot of the origin story for a franchise that started less than a decade and a half after the conclusion of World War I. Despite the mediocrity of last few decades there truly are great and historic moments that the Lions can call their own and traditions like the Thanksgiving Game that owe their story to times these players and many fans know nothing about. While it’s telling that it requires a deep analysis of the team history to find them, any corporation worth their salt should inform new employees of their business and community roots.
It’s also important to remember that the history of the franchise is more than just the dates of moves, new stadiums or uniform changes. A comprehensive history of the Lions should also inform the newest members of the pride of the conviction of the fanbase and the generations of fans that have grown old supporting the team. Having lived around the country I have often been asked “How can people support that team?” and my answer has never changed; “Because they’re ours.”
That bond between the Lions and their fans is generations old and still very much alive. The most recent decades may have tarnished the relationship and the immense growth of the NFL as a whole has only drawn more attention to the Lions current futility but the story of the connection between the City of Detroit & the Detroit Lions is still one very much worth telling.
There’s also no need for a recent history lesson for these young Lions. Anyone with internet access or basic cable knows about the NFL and the handful of have-not franchises like the Lions just as they know of the success in places like Foxboro. When the positive portions of your recent history can be summarized in the highlight reels of a Hall of Fame running back with one playoff win and a game-changing wide receiver with none there isn’t a lot more that needs to be said. Every one of the players selected and signed by the Lions knows that it is their task is to change the only history of the Detroit Lions that they’ve ever known.
That brings it all the way back around to the roots of the team and the deep bond that the Detroit Lions still share with their fans after all of these years. If the new Lions can be a part of changing future of the Detroit Lions they will forever have their own special piece of Lions’ history.