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A staple in the NFL since 1930, the Detroit Lions are a classic team in the NFC North. After moving from Portsmouth, OH to Detroit in 1933 and changing their team moniker from the Spartans to the Lions, this group has been a consistent competitor on the gridiron. However, despite decades of blood, sweat, and tears, the Lions have yet to earn their first Super Bowl title. In fact, the Lions have only made one NFC Championship appearance. That came in 1991 and ended with a 41-10 loss at the hands of the eventual Super Bowl champion Washington Redskins.
Fans in Detroit are all too familiar with the tough side of being a fan. Compounding factors such as playing in a division with the Packers, Bears, and Vikings coupled with bad luck, bad draft decisions, and the early retirements of two of the greatest players in their history (Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson), the Lions need to catch a break. However, never a team to look for a handout, this blue collar squad is intent on earning their keep and winning a Super Bowl through brute force on the field.
The Lions hired a new general manager following the 2015 season and since then Bob Quinn has been doing everything he can to construct a Super Bowl champion. Facing a crisis after the sudden departure of Calvin Johnson, the most prolific wide receiver in Detroit Lions history, and one of the best in NFL history, Quinn had to calm the nerves of the Detroit faithful. Three days after the Johnson retirement, the Lions signed wide receiver Marvin Jones to a five year deal. He immediately took over the role as the second receiver and amassed nearly 1,000 yards in his first season with the team. He went over 1,110 in his second year, proving to be a valuable asset in the passing game. His third season, however, was cut short as he finds himself on injured reserve for the rest of 2018 with a bad knee.
The linchpin of the offense is quarterback Matthew Stafford. In his tenth season under center, Stafford still has a rocket for an arm and knows how to adjust his offense to get the most production out of his teammates. His numbers are down, however, from previous years as Detroit is having a tough season in its first year under new head coach, Matt Patricia.
Injuries have not been kind to Detroit. Kenny Golladay and Bruce Ellington have been thrust into bigger roles in the passing game, while Kerryon Johnson fights on out of the backfield. Signing Danny Amendola from Miami will be a big help this year. The slot receiver will team up again with Coach Patricia. They previously worked together in New England.
The defensive squad is filled with quality starters like Ezekiel Ansah, who amassed 12 sacks for the Lions last year. He is the latest to join the ranks of the IR. Jarrad Davis has stepped up to be a leader on this defense in his second year. Damon “Snacks” Harrison was acquired to bolster the line via a mid-season trade with the New York Giants while the corner and safety positions are looking good with Darius Slay, Glover Quin, and Quandre Diggs patrolling the outfield.
There is plenty of support behind GM Bob Quinn and the new head coach of the Detroit Lions, Matt Patricia. After 14 years in New England, Patricia finally gets the chance to become a head coach. A clear vision from a management perspective, coupled with star players on the field and a new head coach could yield the winning formula that has been absent in Detroit for so long. Winners of four championships in their history, the last was in 1957, well before the merger. The title drought of more than 60 years could finally end in the near future.
Among the best players in Lions history to take the field are Dick “Night Train” Lane, Herman Moore, Dick LeBeau, Billy Sims, Bobby Layne, Calvin Johnson, and Barry Sanders. Click here to learn more about the Detroit Lions.