At the end of Friday morning’s episode of the NFL Network’s Good Morning Football show during a segment titled “Call of the Wild Card,” host Kyle Brandt had a special message for Detroit Lions fans on the upcoming playoff game against the Los Angeles Rams. A video clip of the segment begins by flashing back to something he said on the show back in August before the season started. 22 weeks ago, Brandt said he was tired of franchise histories being held against them and that he didn’t want to hear about Wayne Fontes or Barry Sanders or how long it’s been since Detroit won in the playoffs (the original full rant from August is in an Instagram post Brandt annotated “The Lions are Uncle Lenny. And Lenny’s gotten his life together. Leave Lenny alone.”).
Now return to the present: Brandt was back on Friday morning to emphatically declare that “Uncle Lenny’s had a year. Boy, he’s had a YEAR. He got 12 wins, his future’s on fire, his past is DEAD.”
Hinting at the storylines about Matthew Stafford and the flap about wearing or not wearing Stafford jerseys to Sunday’s game, the host said, “I’m not even from Detroit, and I’m sick of the Lions’ past. So for the love of God, burn it and bury it.”
In his view, the Rams-Lions matchup is actually a perfect opportunity for the team to finally bury the past and move on.
Channeling his inner Dan Campbell, Brandt delivered a pretty solid Detroit versus Everybody-style promo.
“People hate that the Lions aren’t theirs to push around anymore. They hate the changes! Your rookies were draft grade punchlines. Now they’re playoff headlines. Your wide receiver was known for his dad being Mr. Universe. Now he plays like first team All-Universe.”
It was recorded in the morning, or he would have been able to change these lines to work in that one of those rookies and the Sun God made All-Pro.
The segment flows into the disrespect that Goff (“poor man’s Matt Ryan”) and Dan Campbell have overcome (“now he is one of the best coaches and most beloved men in all of football”). Another great one: “It’s more fun for everybody else when Uncle Lenny is a loser begging for bail money after getting beat up at the OTB.” But nothing really seals the hype as much as the end of the promo: “Detroit, I am reporting you as eligible for the Divisional Round and I hope you get the Cowboys so you can beat them AGAIN. You’ve earned it. Enjoy it, Detroit!”
The segment’s video clip is up on Twitter as well as the official NFL site, and audio for it can be heard on multiple podcasting sites like Spotify (starts at 38:54) Now, on to the rest of your Weekend Notes:
- In case you missed it, Meko and Morgan were back at it again with another great video discussing the biggest X-Factors in Sunday’s game. You can watch the entire 22-and-a-half minute video on our Pride of Detroit YouTube channel:
- The Wild Card preview episode of the Detroit Lions Breakdown podcast from Joe Kania and Erik Schlitt is up. You can listen to audio of the entire 100-minute episode in a web player on their site or your favorite podcast service.
- From MLive’s Ryan Boldrey, we have a story about a lawsuit filed by photographer Allen Kee alleging the statue now outside of Ford Field infringes on his copyright of the photo it was modeled on because neither the Lions nor the sculpting company ever asked for permission. The reference given in the filing is for the 3:53 mark of the video posted by the team to their official YouTube channel. Also included in the lawsuit as defendants are McFarlane Toys, who apparently never licensed the photo as source material for its NFL Legends series figure and newer figures, and Getty Images for relicensing the photo without the original owner’s permission.
- Former NFL Executive and XFL Executive Vice President for Football Operations Marc Ross posted his final rookie rankings for the 2023 regular season. A second-team All-Pro tight end finished at number four for the Lions. Jahmyr Gibbs also checked in at number 10 as the top rookie running back, just ahead of Miami’s Devon Achane and Atlanta’s Bijan Robinson. Finally, Brian Branch finished as Ross’ 16th best rookie of the season.
- In Rick Gosselin’s final 2023 special teams rankings, the Lions finished 20th. Their opponent on Sunday, the Rams, finished dead last at 32nd.
- Justin Rogers from the Detroit News believes linebacker play and tackling will be critical for the Lions to deal with the Rams’ offense.
- Three out of five of the “Game Picks” Around the NFL staff are picking the Lions over the Rams, but all of them believe it will be a close high-scoring game. Meanwhile, NFL Network’s Eric Edholm thinks the Rams are a bad matchup for the Lions and the road team will pull off the upset at Ford Field.
- According to ESPN’s Kevin Seifert, there were 42% fewer kickoffs actually returned in 2023 when compared to 2022.
- Remember that jersey swap thing from Thursday? Well, Fox 2’s Hilary Golston and Jack Nissen have some information about why that event is no longer happening.
- The entire NFL Live panel (including Dan Orlovsky and Mina Kimes) picked the Rams over the Lions:
- Former Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew ranked the primary running backs for each team in the 2023 season. He considers David Montgomery the Lions’ primary running back, and slotted him at eighth (one spot ahead of D’Andre Swift on the Eagles). Kyren Williams on the Rams was second only to CMC on MJD’s rankings.
- A second-team All-Pro selection is a heck of a birthday surprise: