The Detroit Lions don’t have a rival. I know, I know, you all really, really hate the Green Bay Packers, and I do, too. But to have a true rivalry, it needs to go both ways. And while the Lions have done a much better job playing competitively against the Packers as of late, they simply don’t hold a candle to the Wisconsin franchise. Green Bay leads the series 102-72-7 all time, and their franchise accomplishments dwarf those of the Lions.
It hurts to even type these words, but the Lions are nothing more than an annoying little gnat to the Packers, even as we Lions fans obsess about hating everything Green Bay.
And despite being in the league since 1930, the Lions haven’t developed any rivalry that currently stands today. That’s extremely unique in the league today.
Our fan polling group, SB Nation reacts, highlighted just how rare the Lions’ situation is. They polled fans of all 32 teams asking them what franchise is their biggest NFL rival. They then put the results in a word cloud, with the bigger fonts representing a larger portion of the vote.
The Lions and Bengals were, by far, the least common teams to receive votes. Take a look:
The actual raw data is honestly even sadder for the Lions. A league-wide poll was done of NFL fans asking them who their biggest non-division rival was. Out of over a thousand votes, there was just one voter that believed the Lions were their biggest out-of-division rival: a Bengals fan who almost certainly misclicked. The Lions and Bengals have played just six times since 1998 (and the Bengals have won all six).
It’ll be hard for the Lions to really develop a rival right now. In order for a rivalry to happen, not only does there need to be a serious back-and-forth in success to the two teams, but there has to be significant stakes. It’s hard to get hyped up for a rivalry when the two teams are fighting to avoid last place in the division.
The Vikings are likely the best candidate for Detroit. Neither team has seen a lot of big success—both teams have never won a Super Bowl and they have a combined four divisional titles since 2001 (okay, the Vikings have four the Lions have zero).
Meanwhile, the Bears and Packers—responsible for 15 of the last 19 divisional titles—already have a well-established rivalry that was actually voted the best current rivalry in the NFL today.
So Vikings, I know we haven’t really had much animosity towards each other since you got rid of that mulleted leach Jared Allen, and I know neither of us are really seeing a ton of success right now, but won’t you be our rival?