What a week for the Honolulu Blue faithful. Signed some good players, getting kudos from the national media, and Brad Holmes is all of a sudden Theo Epstein. Anyone need a refill yet?
In my 30 years on this planet I don’t think I’ve ever experienced this level of confidence in the Detroit Lions from beyond the 313 area code.
The Lions are tied for eighth best odds to win next year’s Super Bowl on Draft Kings. Let me repeat that so we’re all on the same page. The Detroit football Lions are the eight most favorite to win the Super Bowl. What a time to be alive.
Reading a lot of your tweets and comments, the Lions aren’t just contenders for the NFC North. They own the North.
And that sounds great. Winning the division is of course a great achievement. Should always be on your pre-season list of goals for the season.
But I don’t think winning the division is the most important thing the Lions can achieve next season. They need to win a playoff game.
The Lions have three divisional titles since 1957 – 1983, 1991, and 1993. But they only have the one lonely playoff win. A divisional round ass whooping they handed the Dallas Cowboys.
Detroit has dropped the eight playoff games since then. A couple were close, such as first round games in 1993 and 1994 against the Packers. There was the infamous picked-up flag against Dallas in 2014.
They’ve also been taken to pound town like in 2011 and 2016. Both of those coming on the road to New Orleans and Seattle respectively. Two tough places to play mind you.
Playoff Win Provides Something Extra
Winning the division is nice. But it doesn’t guarantee me anything. Your division could be terrible. I see plenty of comments saying how the Packers suck. Everyone (rightfully so) thought the Vikings were frauds last year. And the Bears are in prove it mode. I’m not saying officially the NFC North stinks, but it might?
Winning a playoff game doesn’t just give you another night to celebrate a victory. It gives you credibility. It says we went toe-to-toe with one of the leagues best and beat them in a win-or-go-home setting.
You can win the North but if you then get smacked against the sixth seed in the first round did it really mean anything? Sure, you can buy a 2023 NFC North champ t-shirt and see a banner go up. But you didn’t do anything when the lights got bright.
In the movie Moneyball, there is a scene where Billy Beane is talking to the assistant general manager and says that if they don’t win the last game of the series it doesn’t matter. Because people will dismiss team’s like the Oakland A’s with their type of budget.
That’s exactly where the Detroit Lions are at. Not from a budget standpoint obviously but from a reputation perspective. People around the league do not respect you, they do not fear you. Because you haven’t done anything to earn that from them. Winning playoff game(s) changes that.
Why do you think people love to rip on the Cowboys. Because they always choke in the playoffs. They have made it to the playoffs five of the last nine seasons. They haven’t made it past the divisional round once.
Did you know they’ve won four divisional titles in the last nine years? Probably not, but you know they haven’t played for a Super Bowl.
I’m not saying the Lions need to play for a Super Bowl this year or they won’t get any respect. They are a young team on the come up. Winning just one playoff game would earn them massive respect. And that’s what is most important than a banner to put in the rafters and collect dust.
Photo Credit: © Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK
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