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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 receivers in Detroit Lions history, and one of the most prolific 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.
The linchpin of the offense is quarterback Matthew Stafford. Entering his tenth season under center, Stafford has a rocket for an arm and knows how to adjust his offense to get the most production out of his teammates. The tandem of Golden Tate and Marvin Jones proved dynamic for Stafford last season and looks poised for another big year. So, too, is tight end Luke Willson, who signed for Detroit in the offseason. Leaving Seattle, Willson is ready to truly shine as a starter. Longtime starter Eric Ebron signed with the Colts, following the 2017 season. While adhering to a running back by committee style, the signing of LeGarrette Bount may change the structure of the running game. Also on the depth chart at this position are Theo Riddick and Ameer Abdullah.
The defensive squad is filled with quality starters like Ezekiel Ansah, who amassed 12 sacks for the Lions last year. Tahir Whitehead put on a clinic at linebacker with 110 combined tackles. Jarrad Davis was not far behind, racking up 96 combined tackles in his rookie season. Former Titans pass rusher Sylvester Williams is looking to cause damage with his new team 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.
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.