Three years ago, the Detroit Lions headed into Week 17 to face the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field with one simple hope: win and avoid a 0-16 season. They failed and hit rock bottom in the process. All of the years of misery culminated in the worst season in NFL history, and the Lions once again had to try to rebuild the franchise and hope that things would go differently for a change.
Fast forward to now and the Lions are once again entering Week 17 to face the Packers at Lambeau Field. That is the only comparison that can be made to 2008, though. This year's Lions aren't in need of a win to avoid a winless season. In fact, the Lions don't even need a win to wrap up a playoff spot. The Lions' 38-10 victory over the San Diego Chargers on Saturday clinched their first playoff berth since 1999 and was just about the best early Christmas present a Lions fan could hope for.
As someone who was only nine years old the last time the Lions were in the playoffs, I honestly thought this day would never come. I have written about this team for Pride of Detroit since April 2006, and with so many negative things that have happened since then, especially in 2008, it just seemed like the Lions would never figure it out. All hope that this franchise would ever get things turned out was seemingly lost following that 2008 season, but after Martin Mayhew became the permanent general manager, Jim Schwartz was hired as the head coach and Matthew Stafford was selected as the first overall pick, the Lions slowly got things moving in the right direction. Now, after putting together 10 wins in 15 games, the Lions are finally once again a playoff-bound team.
Although the playoffs are still a couple weeks away and there is still business to take care of next week at Lambeau, I want to commend all of the people involved in getting the Lions to this point for the job they have done. The turnaround from 2008 to now has been absolutely amazing. On behalf of all fans, thanks for giving us Lions football beyond the regular season for the first time in 12 years.