Unfortunately for all the outstanding players that have worn the Honolulu Blue and Silver since their last title, they all carry the same mark of playoff futility. Not that it is any of their faults because football is the ultimate team game. If you don’t have an outstanding defense, an elite quarterback, and superior coaching, it’s an uphill battle.
Those three traits are existent in almost every team that has ever won the Super Bowl. Sure exceptions happen, just look at the 2000 Baltimore Ravens that rode the coattails of their dominant defense while their quarterback, Trent Dilfer, just made sure he limited his mistakes all the way to a Super Bowl title. But again, that is the exception, not the rule.
Since that fateful day of December 29, 1957, when the Lions humiliated the Cleveland Browns 59-14 to become the champions of the NFL, this franchise has had great difficulty finding competent, much less, outstanding coaching.
The defense has had more than their share of heartbreaking moments, but they have also had some years they were good enough to make a playoff run, unfortunately, they never got any help from the offense.
Then there is the quarterback position. Gary Danielson, Chuck Long, Rodney Peete, Andre Ware, Charlie Batch, Scott Mitchell, and Joey Harrington are just a few of those who failed to lift the Lions out of their losing ways.
As a matter of fact, the only Lions quarterback to lead them to a playoff victory since that championship win in 1957, was Erik Kramer in 1991. A player that wasn’t necessarily even the best quarterback on their roster.
So not only have the Lions failed to win any championships since 1957, but they haven’t come close to assembling those three key ingredients at the same time to give themselves a chance at winning it all.
Then came rock bottom in 2008 when the Lions became the first NFL team since 1978 when the schedule expanded to 16 games in a season to go winless for the entire year. That’s right, 0-16.
Yet from those ashes, the expectation was that Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford, who the Lions used the first pick in the 2009 draft on, would be the savior they had been searching for. If they could just put some players around him, greatness awaited.
Unfortunately, here we are a decade later not only waiting for the promise to be fulfilled but also for that long-awaited second playoff win since 1991.