Editorial: What I Learned from the Detroit Lions this season

NOTE: The views expressed in this EDITORIAL do not necessarily reflect the views of Detroit Sports Nation or a majority of its writers and should not be misconstrued as such. The views contained within are the views of the author and the author alone.

Another season, with an all too familiar ending. Heartbreak. What the Detroit Lions taught me this season is that this is a franchise that is rebuilding the right way. Sure, you can be pessimistic and say “same old Lions” and click on the laughing emoji on Facebook posts every time there is a Lions topic posted. But if you truly, and realistically understand the game of football, the Lions are one good draft and free agency off season away from turning the corner from being a team that “backed into the playoffs” into an actual team that is considered a contender. I am not saying they will be gunning for the Super Bowl right away, but just as teams like the New York Giants and Atlanta Falcons are considered playoff locks every year, this will be those Lions.

During Saturday’s loss to Seattle, I was upset with the officiating, just as all of you were. However playing competitive sports my entire life, I’ve always been told that you cannot put yourself into positions to where the referees can actually have an affect on the outcome of a game. Sure, Paul Richardson nearly twisted Tavon Wilson’s head off with that facemask on his spectacular touchdown catch, to which the officials apparently said they missed the call, but are now saying they did not. Or when TJ Jones was pulled down on what would have been a huge gain and the pass was deemed “uncatchable” or Russell Wilson throwing a block in the back, or the powerbomb on Matthew Stafford near the end of the game.

It has been a foregone conclusion that these Detroit Lions will never receive calls, especially in the playoffs. Former Safety, James Ihedigbo realizes that it’s time for our fans and more importantly the players on the field to realize that.

The Detroit Lions were already shooting themselves in the foot long before the game started getting away from them, and it was not the referee’s fault at that point. Golden Tate, Anquan Boldin, and Eric Ebron all had key drops that resulted in the end of drives leaving the Lions scoreless. You need to make plays, and when it was all said and done, the better team won the game, and no amount of calls or no-calls was going to change that.

When you look at what the Lions accomplished this season as a whole, it’s actually fairly impressive. Without Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick and DeAndre Levy for most of the season, Darius Slay banged up with a hamstring, Quandre Diggs being on IR, Ansah, Ngata not 100%, Travis Swanson their starting center out since December 8th, oh and this guy named Matthew Stafford with a torn up middle finger, they were still able to put together a winning season and make the playoffs. This is not about “drinking the Kool-Aid” it’s about looking at what is actually in front of you and analyzing it without any bias. The Fords selling the team will not miraculously change the Detroit Lions fortunes, firing Jim Caldwell won’t make those dropped passes not happen and saying that Matthew Stafford is not your franchise quarterback will not stop making the Lions the recipients of awful calls in playoff games.

I learned that these Detroit Lions are almost there, and without a shadow of a doubt will always have my support, and should have yours too. While you may be tired of the “same old Lions” I am tired of the “same old fans.”

Written by Danny Bennett

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