I know the pain from the loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game is still fresh. You may not be happy with how the game ended, and as a Detroit Lions fan, I understand entirely. The Lions didn’t lose to the 49ers; they beat themselves. Poor play call decisions on fourth down, dropped passes, a fumble, poor tackling, and other things went wrong for the team on Sunday night. Even with all that, they still almost won the game.
While I have seen mostly a positive reaction from fans when discussing the 2023 season, being thankful and happy to see an improvement, playoff wins, and supporting a team that feeds off that energy, I ask you all to do one thing about that.
Don’t let the success change who you are.
Remember all of the years when there was pain? Remember the years when this team had no direction, no leadership, no players that could even muster up a single win out of 16 tries? We wished to see better players, better coaches, a full Ford Field, and at least a playoff victory. All of these things are here now.
Are they perfect? No, this team is not perfect, but they are building towards being a consistent threat to the Super Bowl. However, it’s ok if the Lions don’t win a Super Bowl next year or even in 2025. As long as this team is making the playoffs and becoming a regular member of the playoff club, it’s something to be grateful for.
What I fear for myself and others is that once we are used to success—something I didn’t think I would ever write—we will start to be ungrateful and spoiled by the possible championships and Super Bowl appearances. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want the Lions to turn into the Buffalo Bills, where they can never win the Super Bowl when they make it. When, not if the Lions win a Super Bowl, enjoy it and cherish it forever.
For years, fans begged for at least a playoff win; this year, we got two of those. It’s understandable to want more, especially when you see how close this team is and how their window is just starting to open now, and we know how quickly windows can open and shut in the NFL. Suppose you take those playoff wins, divisional titles, conference titles, hell, if they win the Super Bowl, for granted. This fanbase will turn into the New England Patriots or Kansas City Chiefs, where even a single championship isn’t enough.
Stay humble in these times. Sure, as a fan, you wanted your team to gain the respect they deserve. You can be cocky to a degree and talk your talk right now, but the last thing I want to hear is complaining after Detroit wins a championship. In an instant, this Super Bowl window could close due to an injury, poor signing in free agency, lousy trade, or a mistake in the draft; something could close it, and we would be right back to square one.
Then a playoff win would sound so great after years of not having one. You’d look back at that championship team and wish you could see that again someday instead of being thankful for that moment.
Ultimately, I am telling you Lions fans to enjoy the ride. Be happy that, finally, this franchise that has been mocked, beaten, battered, and decimated for years is on the upswing. We have waited over 30 years for a playoff win and more is coming soon. The Lions Super Bowl window opened a year early, and we all got a taste of success. We want more because we have been dying for something like this our entire lives.
My grandfather would tell me how, when he was a kid, he would listen and hear about the Detroit Lions before they joined the NFL and how dominant they were. He never got to see where they are now, and I know he would be happy with how this year went and excited for the future. He would savor that title for the rest of his life and never ask for anything else.
When talking to Lions fans, they all say the same thing, “Give me one Super Bowl title in my lifetime, and I can die happy.“
Stay true to your word.