NUMBER FOUR – I WAS YOUNG, THE LIONS WON
This is simplest reason why I believe in the Detroit Lions. I was only fourteen years old when they went 12 and 4 in the 1991 season. When they were in the NFC Championship in January 1992, I had just turned fifteen. That is the prism through which I view the Lions. They were one win away from the Super Bowl.
In my mind, and understand my Lions devotion began in 1989 with the drafting of Barry Sanders, the Lions built a title contender in just three years. This team could accomplish great things, and my fandom had only just begun.
Now, of course, since then I have suffered through unnecessary quarterback carousels, inexplicable coaching decisions, the worst general manager and head coach in any professional sport, two of the best players in franchise history retiring at the age of thirty, and all of the many bad decisions and moments that are too numerous to list. Which all has dampened by enthusiasm from time to time, but has not extinguished it.
The NFL is a league where turnarounds can happen fast and furious, both in the positive and in the negative. However, it is the latter that always worries me.
My greatest hope is that the Detroit Lions will win a Super Bowl, but my larger dream is that they find some consistency like the Patriots. Not to say we will participate in eight Super Bowls in seventeen years, which I will happily take, but just building a team that is competing every year.
Consistency is a very important step towards winning.
So far, Bob Quinn has two 9-7 seasons under his belt with one playoff loss. It is fair to call that competitive, and maybe even refer to it as a good record, but clearly: not good enough.
The firing of head coach Jim Caldwell demonstrates this point. The standard is set just a bit higher now.
Hiring Matt Patricia is all about improving that record, winning the division, and going deep into the playoffs. Caldwell did a decent enough job, but Patricia is expected to do more.
Meanwhile, Quinn must make roster decisions that help Patricia on that path. Without a good and deep roster, Patricia is destined to fail.
I don’t know what is going to happen next. What I do know is that the Lions are not held back by curses, bad ownership, or an inability to win.
It really all comes down to management. If they start at the top, and I hope they have already been on this path for the last two years via Quinn, they can win a Super Bowl.
Here’s hoping it happens before 1991 becomes lost to me by age or even death, and I no longer see the Detroit Lions as a team capable of winning it all.