Can the Lions really change their culture under this new regime?

Dan Campbell, Detroit Lions (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Dan Campbell, Detroit Lions (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

From 1930 to the current 2021 NFL season the Detroit Lions have 20 playoff appearances, with the last appearance coming in 2016. The Lions have 567 wins and 681 losses to go along with 33 ties.

The last winning season the Lions had was in 2017 and their record was 9-7. Although the team is in rebuilding mode it’s time for a culture change and that time is now.

Winning covers many things in the NFL in this day and age. Winning can mend bad relationships
between players and coaches. Winning turns turmoil into team chemistry and team unity.

It allows coaching philosophies to convert individuals into a group focusing on moving as one unit, displaying team cohesion. It gives the fan base something to cheer for and be proud of.

While the Lions have had 15 losing seasons from 2001 to 2020, they have made the playoffs three times during that span. Former head coach Jim Caldwell brought hope and life into the Lions organization producing 36 wins in four seasons.

Caldwell’s brilliance showed during his tenure and his coaching style allowed Lions legendary quarterback Matthew Stafford to flourish. The team fought hard and displayed resiliency during those four seasons.

Instead of rewarding Caldwell for his achievements and success, he was replaced by Matthew Patricia in 2018 who had never been an NFL head coach. Patricia was one of the worst coaches of all time and he derailed the beauty of the Lions with his arrogance and strict guidelines.

Fourteen wins over three seasons showed me Patricia was two shots below mediocre. And riding the coattails of head coach Bill Belichick’s success with the New England Patriots.

Moves like this had Lions fans wondering if owner Martha Ford cared about winning. Did she value the Lions ascending into a playoff-caliber team? Or did she only care about ticket sales and more revenue to put into her own pocket? The value of the dollar seemed more important than giving the city of Detroit the winner it deserved.

Why didn’t Stafford get better offensive talents put around him? Why was Hall of Fame wide receiver Calvin Johnson forced into retirement? Why wasn’t free agent money spent on acquiring better defensive players?

These questions went unanswered and it made Lion fans furious. Again lack of trying to build a winner led to losing seasons under the old regime.

Fast forward to June 23, 2020, and Sheila Ford Hamp is now the principal owner and chair of the Lions. Hamp hired a successful scouting director to become the new general manager in Brad Holmes coming in from the Los Angeles Rams.

Hamp also brought in a highly energetic head coach by the name of Dan Campbell after a five-year stint with the New Orleans Saints. The Lions have a head coach that bleeds Honolulu Blue with a new scheme and coaching style. Building positive energy while installing a new culture, these actions shows a belief that change is on the horizon.

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The Detroit Lions fan base deserves a winner. Every year they attend home and away games supporting and cheering for the Lions whether they win, lose, or draw. The fans, as well as the city, are the pulse of this franchise; hard-working fans displaying loyalty, passion, and that Detroit grit.

It’s time to add a winning atmosphere to the Lions’ culture. Building a winning culture will perform miracles for this franchise for years to come. Only time will tell if it will happen.