The Laker Anchor

Spring Lake High School's student-staffed publication

The Laker Anchor

The Laker Anchor

Seniors Dont Know How to Act - Graduation
Seniors Don't Know How to Act - Graduation
Lily Zuelke, Reporter • May 8, 2023

The Evolution of the Lions Legacy

Luke Roller reflects on the Lions’ historic season.
The Evolution of the Lions Legacy

The Detroit Lions, the favorite team of many Michiganders, concluded its season last Sunday with a devastating 31-34 loss against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game. If the Lions had won they would have made it to the Superbowl — their first ever. 

The Lions are a historically bad franchise. They’ve never made it to the Superbowl since its inception in 1967. They’ve rarely even made it to the playoffs in over three decades, most recently in 2016 after a 9-7 campaign under coach Jim Caldwell. But they had their chance this year after having an absolutely stellar season with a record of 12-5, making them No. 1 in the NFC league.

In 2021 the Lions traded franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams for draft picks and fellow former No. 1 pick Jared Goff. After firing Matt Patricia mid-season, the Lions hired new General Manager Brad Holmes and brought in Dan Campbell as a first-time head coach. This, the spirit of Detroit, and a bit of luck turned the NFL’s biggest joke team into semi-finalists for the Superbowl. But why? Why out of all years did the Lions play so well this year?

Despite their notorious reputation, the Lions actually aren’t that bad. In 2015, the Lions finished their season 17th out of 32 teams. In 2016, 12th. 2014, 7th. You get the picture.

The Lions are no great team, don’t get it twisted (they finished 31st in 2019), but they aren’t always the worst in the league. One of the reasons the Lions can’t ever seem to stack up against other teams is that, because of their middle-of-the-pack standings, they don’t get good picks on the draft. After their rather phenomenal 2014 season, the Lions got nothing. However, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, finishing 31st in the season, got the No. 1 overall draft pick of Jameis Wilson, an incredibly prominent quarterback who improved their standings significantly until transferring to the New Orleans Saints in 2019.

So when the Lions finished 31st in 2019 and 26th in 2020, the Lions were due for some good picks. With other strategic pickups throughout the seasons, like Jared Goff in 2021, the Lions had built up a strong team. This and new management led them to a good season right out of the gate. Their momentum continued to build throughout the season as Michiganders and Lions fans everywhere began to wonder if they could really do it. When the Lions beat the Buccaneers in the Divisional Round, the entire football community was ecstatic. They could really make it! 

Unfortunately, it was not meant to be. The Lions dominated in the first half against San Francisco, but absolutely collapsed in the second half. Losing on Sunday was a demoralizing loss to all fans, but there is hope. Even though the Lions didn’t win, they still had a monumental season and it’s a great step in the right direction to no longer being the league’s most ridiculed team.

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