It's sad but true. We have been Lions Fans all of our lives; I still remember the day we picked Barry over Deon... imagine that, picking somebody over Deon Sanders still made us a winner! I was 8 years old.
Ever since that date we have taken in over 20 years of disappointment. Barry retired in 1999 just shy of breaking the all time rushing record. Could a team be so bad that it would suck the competitive spirit out of a man to make him retire abruptly? He had a shot at the one of the most prestigious records in football and the agony of spending 10 years with a team who in his eyes, had no intention of making the necessary upgrades to push pass the first round of the playoffs made it more sour than sweet? Since then how many "steals" have we made in the draft? Wait... I have a better question. How many big splashes have we made in free agency since then? I am not going to go down the "Blame Matt Millen Road." Quite honestly that's a blog for another day. My question is why now after so many years are the Lions finally not falling asleep at the wheel?
I know everyone is rolling their eyes and God knows we've all drank enough of the Kool-ade to last a life time but just think for a minute about the last two off seasons compared to all the other off seasons since '99. With in the last year the Lions GM has already earned the nickname Martin "Make a deal" Mayhew. This isn't a bad thing either! He walked into a team that had maybe a handful of players that diserved to be starters in this league. The rest were a bunch of guys that Rod remembered coaching to a Superbowl winning season years back... I'm surprised he didn't convince Millen and Ford to trade for the Bucs Pirate Ship and have it sit on the roof of Ford Field.
Mayhew first trades Roy to Dallas for a 1st round and other picks which would eventually will get us Pettitgrew. He then trades an overpriced and under-productive Corey Redding to Seattle for Julian. Obviously it wasn't enough because we went 2-14 last season. But now this off-season, he was even more active and I honestly have to say am on board. He picked up exactly what we needed the most... a defensive line! Kyle Vanden Bosch, Corey Williams and now Suh! Coming from a guy who has played the game of football, I can say that all great defenses depend on the defensive line. Other than Brett Favre, I don't know any other quarterbacks who can complete passes constantly throwing off their back foot. Mayhew knows this and despite having so many areas to address, he addressed the area that is the most critical.
Now please don't mistake my enthusiasm for a prediction. The most annoying thing about being a Lions fan is hearing the predictions about the winning records and how they're definitely going to make the playoffs and blah blah blah. I've hear it every year and we all know what happens after that. I will be the first one to say that we indeed have the talent to be competitive in this league and at this point... not being the league joke and having that social stigma just isn't good enough anymore. And as good as it would feel to kick all those bandwagon jumpers off the wagon! Why bother? The Lions winning would feel just too good! Stafford already proved something last year in just one football game against Cleveland... he will be the quarterback that the Lions have been trying to get for the last 50 years. The most sucessful quarterback in the last 25 years was... are you ready for this? Scott Mitchell! And why? Because from the time of Darryl "What does a coach have to do around here to get fired" Rogers until this season, we have gone through more quarterbacks like I go through Diet Mt. Dew.
I like where their Lions are at, I like where they are headed and I'm glad to see that they finally woke up.