Here’s why the Detroit Lions are no longer the S.O.L.
Detroit Lions‘ fans grew jaded over the years due to a seemingly never-ending streak of futility. But Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia are working to buck that trend.
It’s a common refrain that has been sung by disgruntled and frustrated Detroit Lions fans for decades now. As the losing seasons continue to mount, the virtual consensus within some pockets of the fan base is that the Lions will never amount to anything because they’re just the “Same Ol’ Lions” (or just S.O.L. for short).
Those same three initials could also stand for another, more blunt, outlook for the Lions but I can’t include the first word here because this is a family friendly webpage! The last two words stand for “outta luck” and in all honesty, as you look back on the history of the Detroit Lions, it wouldn’t be a wholly inaccurate outlook.
For a long time, the franchise did indeed look to be crap out of luck and it didn’t take long for me to feel that sting as a young fan. My Lions fandom really veered towards obsession in 1998 when I was 12-years old.
That year, the incomparable Barry Sanders rushed for nearly 1500 yards and then bam! Right as I was looking forward to seeing my favorite player continue to set/break NFL records, he suddenly retired. Talk about being out of luck!
I was floored at that moment and it served as my first tangible experience of dealing with a S.O.L. moment. I just hit my 33rd birthday earlier this month and I, like so many other Lions fans before me, have a couple of decades under my belt of dealing with the Detroit Lions’ factory of sadness but in my opinion, things are now looking to be on the up and up.
The arrivals of Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia as the Lions’ general manager and head coach in 2016 and 2018 respectively are helping to change the perceptions of the long-dormant Lions.
This rebuild isn’t a quick turnaround job to happen instantly over the course of a season as some fans may have hoped. Patricia took over a team that finished at 9-7 for two consecutive seasons and promptly went 6-10. Still though, despite the team losing three additional games this past season, the Lions have plenty of reasons to be excited about their future.
Look no further than this year’s free agency class as evidence of this team being on the right path. The most prominent new addition to the team is the versatile defensive end formerly of the New England Patriots, Trey Flowers. He was the best pass rusher to hit the open market this year and the Lions snagged their man with a hefty deal.
Detroit also addressed key weaknesses on the team by signing wide receiver Danny Amendola to play in the slot, big money cornerback Justin Coleman to play as the nickel, and tight end Jesse James to help pick up the slack of his entire position group.
Don’t get me wrong, there is still plenty of work to be done this offseason and Patricia needs to show considerable growth in his second year at the helm of the Lions but just being able to get major free agents to come to the Lions is a big step at continuing to change the culture.
The Lions have pulled off major deals in free agency previously by signing the likes of Stephen Tulloch, Reggie Bush, Golden Tate, T.J. Lang, Ricky Wagner, and Marvin Jones and though each of those players have had their big moments in Honolulu blue and silver, they didn’t lead to a prolonged period of success which is exactly what Quinn and Patricia are both diligently working for.
There are some who will argue that Patricia is just doing a retread of what he did in New England as a defensive coordinator and though there is some merit to that train of thought, Coach Patricia is sticking to what he knows best and is recruiting personnel who can help achieve his vision.
Sometimes you have to take a step or two backward before you can take those progressive leaps forward and this team is truly on the cusp of building something special.
Just give it time fellow Lions fans, our patience will soon be rewarded with one heck of a football team! Unless the wheels fall off completely, there’s no way for you to convince me that these guys will fall under the dreaded S.O.L. mantra.