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It's an unfamiliar position, being a Detroit Lions fan heading into the 2023 season. We've never really been in this position like this before: coming into a season with expectations. It's like Rickey Bobby after his first race win in “Talladega Nights” not knowing what to do with his hands in an interview, us Lions fans really don't know how to handle all the expectations placed on our Lions. There are some that are hesitant to believe the hype, worried that the past letdowns will rear their ugly head in 2023. Others embrace the hype, drink the Kool-Aid, and don't let past indicators be a determiner of their future. Be this type of fan.
The Detroit Lions past doesn't dictate their future
It's really easy, and dare I say human nature, to be skeptical of future events based on past experience. And, for Lions fans, there's been plenty of disappointment over the years. Even as recent as last year we were treated to the hype of HBO's “Hard Knocks,” that was quickly deflated by a 1-6 start and shouts of “SOL! SOL! SOL!”
It's been a long time since the organization has played games of consequence. Whether it was the two first-round losses in the 2010's, or simply the fact that they haven't won a playoff game since 1991, the hurt experienced by the Lions fans – the disappointments and the “well get 'em next years” – is real. And sometimes those scars on our souls serve as reminders to not get too deceived by the hype and protect ourselves from future hurt. It's a classic, “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me,” situation. And many are guarded.
But, let's be fair here. Just as momentum doesn't carry over from one season to another, neither do the misfortunes of a team stuck in obscurity. When the Lions kick off their season against the Kansas City Chiefs this season, they will be embarking on a 2023 campaign that has yet to be written with every indicator pointing up. Nothing that has happened in the past, non of the killjoy SOL stuff, will matter because this is a brand new season and a new opportunity.
In 2023, Detroit Lions fans need to leave the past in the past
The hurt is understandable, but it's the past and must be left there. Yes, the expectations are high. And, admittedly, unmet expectations are the seedbed of disappointment. But we're going to take those negative thoughts, bundle them up, and toss them away. The Detroit Lions have the ninth best odds of winning the Super Bowl and the fourth best odds in the NFC. Not to mention, they are the betting favorite to win the NFC North.
This is uncharted territory.
For some of us, we don't know how to go into this season. Let's try something: let's attack this season with reckless abandon. We have the best offensive coordinator in the NFL, who is poised to lead one of the premier offenses. Our defense was improved through the offseason, with second year leap potential for Aidan Hutchinson & Co. Not to mention a head coach in Dan Campbell who everyone and their brother would run through a wall for.
There is every reason to believe in this team and if we let the past rob us of our present enjoyment, we will not get the most out of this season and what it could potentially bring. Let's not wait for the other shoe to drop, or the past to rear its ugly head because if we do we'll constantly be looking over our shoulder and miss what's right in front of us.
The bottom line
The hesitation that some Lions fans feel is well-earned. But maybe 2023 is a time to shed that hesitation. Sure, there’s plenty of reason to look at the past hurt of Lions fans and be skeptical, but let’s not let the past enslave our present. We need to enjoy the moment, enjoy the expectations, and let the chips fall where they may. Here’s not NOT getting hurt against in 2023.