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Notes: 49ers are up against the people’s NFC champion

The storyline lies in Detroit’s favor.

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Tampa Bay Lightning v Detroit Red Wings Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images

In a sport that’s equally about the game as it is about storylines, the Detroit Lions are living out one of the biggest ones in football — the scrappy underdog.

It’s not a term that’s been used to describe Detroit much this season, but historically it’s how this team is known. Shoot, not just as underdogs, but as an absolutely miserable franchise. So you have one of the only teams to record a winless season, one that’s never been to the Super Bowl in the 90-plus years they’ve been around, playing in a city known for economic hardships. Along comes Dan Campbell, gritty and in-your-face, to lead this poor team to the most success it’s seen in decades.

Then you have the San Francisco 49ers, who boast five Super Bowl titles and have been to the NFC title game three years in a row. The only teams with more Super Bowl wins are the Patriots and the Steelers — they’re basically NFL royalty. Frankly, it’s a storyline where I wouldn’t want to be in the Niners shoes.

USA Today’s Nancy Armour phrased it in such a funny way:

Anyone who can relate to feeling unlucky or downtrodden in the sports department will likely be on the Lions’ side. In fact, The Athletic’s Steve Buckley penned an article entitled: “Why I’m rooting for the Lions to win one for all the tortured sports franchises.” I’m sure if you look under any post asking fans without a team in the playoffs who they’re cheering on, most will say the Lions. Anyone who has felt their heart ripped out by a team can relate to what Detroit fans have felt for decades and will be rooting for them to overcome mighty, well-decorated San Francisco.

“San Francisco might be the No. 1 seed, but Detroit is the people’s NFC champion,” Armour writes.

I, for one, would not want to be on the other side of that storyline.

And onto the rest of your notes.

  • Checking in on an old friend:

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