The Detroit Lions are in first place in the NFC North and are currently the third seed in the playoffs.
How come the national sports media seems to brush these facts aside?
No, it’s still about the Cowboys, the Packers, the Seahawks and the Saints. Not that I have anything against these teams (with the exception of the Cowboys and Packers) but regardless the record of these teams, they still get more nationally televised games than just about any other team in the NFC.
Go to NFL.com and do you see anything about the Lions? Nope, it’s got headlines about the Cowboys avenging the lone loss against the New York Giants. It’s got an article about the Kansas City Chiefs taking control in the AFC West. I peruse NFL.com a lot but rarely do I see anything about my beloved Detroit Lions.
Take the Cowboys. They are having a great season this year. But regardless of what type of season they have, Cowboys get a lot of national press.
Take last year for instance when they ended up with a record of 4-12. How many articles were written by national media about the Cowboys and how can they get back to winning? How many times did we see on ESPN or Fox on what’s wrong with the Cowboys or is Tony Romo done? Countless times on both.
Pretty good coverage for a team that went barley over .500 for the past decade (not including this season).
And how about the Packers? Seems to me that the national media is reasoning the only way the Lions are in first place is because the Packers are having a bad season. Now I will grant you the Pack has been very good over the past 10 years. A .650 winning percentage over that time period proves that as well as a Super Bowl win in 2011.
But this year has been a difficult one. The Packers have aged quickly and lost a lot of players to free agency. And Aaron Rodgers doesn’t have a decent O-line to protect him and he hasn’t had a lot of time to throw. When he does, his receivers are not in synch with him. Still, they are a dangerous team and one to watch.
But this down season by the Packers isn’t the sole reason the Lions are in first place in the NFC North.
Let’s talk about the fact the Lions have played, especially in the 4th quarter. Up until the New Orleans Saints game, the Lions have trailed entering the 4th quarter in every game. And in seven of the eight wins the Lions have, they came back and won with Matthew Stafford tying the Manning brothers record (Peyton in 2009 and Eli in 2011) of seven comeback wins in a season.
That’s something that many great quarterbacks have not done. Tom Brady, Joe Montana, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Dan Marino, John Elway, Dan Fouts…none of these guys have had as many comebacks in a season as Stafford and the Manning brothers. And with 4 games left in the season, Stafford has the chance to own the record outright.
Look, I’m saying these teams don’t deserve the recognition they are getting (except the Cowboys…we’ve been deluged with Cowboy drama for over 25 years now…shut up about the Cowboys…nobody outside of Texas gives a darn). But how about some recognition of how well the Detroit Lions are doing?
Yes, I know that from 2006 to 2015, the Lions have a 57-103 record including the wonderful 0-16 record of 2008. National media has no problems pointing out all that is wrong with the Lions.
But this is 2016, the Lions are 8-4 with a 2 game lead in the NFC North with four games to go. The Lions are currently 3rd in the playoff picture, a mere 1/2 game behind the Seattle Seahawks and if by some miracle, could sneak into second place and get a bye in the first round and host a playoff game in Detroit.
At some point, the Lions luck has to turn…but I don’t see this year as being lucky. I see this team working hard, playing good defense and Stafford putting his team in position to win. I know, as well as everyone does, we bemoan that we don’t have a running game. We only have 947 yards rushing on the year. But we do rank 15th in passing and since the NFL is turning into a pass-happy offense, I’d say we are in good shape.
Still, imagine if we had Barry Sanders with this personnel. To be honest, I don’t think the record would be any better since we’d still give the ball to Barry too much. However, the Lions could draft a good running back in the 2017 draft. Perhaps Christian McCaffery out of Stanford or Alvin Kamara from Tennessee?
GM Bob Quinn knows what’s needed for the Lions and a running game could put the Lions in a very sweet spot for the next 5 years or so. I know we haven’t really had a decent running back since Barry but that had a lot to do with the front office evaluations instead of talent.
I suppose we need to earn the respect of the national media by making a strong showing in the playoffs. I’d like to shut them all up with a Super Bowl win but the Lions aren’t there yet. But they are a helluva lot closer than they have been in years…
All I’m sayin to the national media, how about some love for the Lions?