The Agony of Competitiveness
During the dark ages of the Millen regime, the Lions had limited expectations. Under the former GM, Detroit lost 81 games over an eight year period. The only thing to look forward to was the hope that stemmed from a number of early picks in the NFL draft.
Fandom can be a lot less stressful when expectations are objectively low. Being a fan of a team that has legitimate potential like I believe the Lions currently do and not winning significant games is worse than being a bottom feeder.
After experiencing the lowest of the low under Millen, and the recent resurgence to contention, I would honestly rather be the New York Jets. They look like they’re trying to pull a page from former Philadelphia 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie’s playbook and tank this NFL season. I’d rather do that than see the Lions burn through another capable roster and fail to win the division or a playoff game.
The Mayhew Conundrum
The Lions best shot at a recent playoff victory came under the guide of former general manager, Martin Mayhew. Detroit was seemingly in the drivers seat in Big D when a picked up pass interference flag against the Dallas Cowboys swung the momentum and may have cost the Lions the game.
To me, Mayhew’s roster construction could be broken down into two categories: Pros and Joes. The 2014 Wildcard team had a highly ranked defense led by stars like Ndamukong Suh and a prolific offense anchored by Calvin Johnson, but for all the flashy names on the roster the team lacked significant depth in part due to Mayhew’s notable draft blunders.
Mayhew was an improvement upon his predecessor and his 2013 draft netted the Lions significant contributors in Ziggy Ansah, Darius Slay, and Theo Riddick. But he failed improve the quality of the roster enough to make the Motor City actual contenders regardless of whether or not that flag was picked up in Dallas.
Having Pro-Bowl caliber players on the roster makes failing win big games even harder on the fans than just losing games when your expected to lose.