With 2023 in the books, let us reflect on the 2023 that was for the Detroit Lions.
The year kicked off in style for Detroit, walloping the Chicago Bears on New Year’s Day before crushing the playoff dreams of the Green Bay Packers in the regular season finale. While the Lions fell short of the playoffs for the 2022-2023 season, closing it out in style meant the team and national audience had high hopes for the next season.
The Lions certainly met those expectations.
It all started in the offseason. They signed two eventual key cogs in Graham Glasgow and David Montgomery, but the real prize came in the draft. The Lions walked away with a draft class featuring the likes of Jahmyr Gibbs, Jack Campbell, Sam LaPorta, and Brian Branch. These players were viewed as future pieces to the Lions’ puzzle, but the return on investment came far sooner than most expected. Gibbs has been a phenomenal playmaker for the Lions, pairing wonderfully with Montgomery. LaPorta, meanwhile, has set numerous rookie tight end records, exploding onto the scene in nearly unprecedented ways. Branch has quietly put together a campaign worthy of Defensive Rookie of the Year and has already blossomed into a critical part of the defense.
Training camp would come and go and the hype around the Lions was still on the upswing. Yet they would face a serious test in the season’s kickoff, a match against the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs. The Lions would prove they belonged by upsetting Kansas City in the national spotlight. Though the Lions would drop their next game, the season as a whole was a positive one. The Lions currently sit at 11-5 with a game to go, already putting themselves in the upper echelon of Lions seasons.
Results aside, the roar has firmly been restored in Detroit. Once laughing stocks of the NFL, the Lions are viewed far more favorably by most of the public. The excitement that this team has built has brought life to the city and its fanbase. Lions fans have taken over opposing stadiums. The seats at Ford Field are full and loud. It truly feels like the Lions have reached the level of pride that has been missing for decades.
Today’s Question of the Day is:
What was the Detroit Lions’ greatest accomplishment in 2023?
My answer: Winning the NFC North.
It is an obvious one, but it goes without saying that this was a monumental achievement for the Detroit Lions. Regardless of how this team performs in January and/or February, this season was a success. They finally raised the NFC North banner for the first time in franchise history. Looking back at all the teams Detroit has had since the division realignment, and it has been a rough road, but not one without promise. Despite the largely positive Matthew Stafford era, none of those teams claimed the division. The best they could achieve was an 11-5 record in 2014, a season that would end in controversy at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys and officiating—very fitting given last week’s results.
Even if the Lions are bounced in the first round of the playoffs, this team will forever be remembered as the team that won the North. Regardless of what happens to players like Jared Goff down the road, this is a lasting legacy of this roster. That legacy is still ongoing, and hopefully the Lions can further it in the coming weeks.
What’s your pick for the Lions’ greatest accomplishment in 2023? Is there an under the radar accomplishment worth mentioning? Let us know in the comments below.