The Detroit Lions are in the NFC Championship game. It’s not a dream, it’s reality, and they have made people believe in it. Detroit can turn the page, starting a new chapter in their history. Participating in their first Super Bowl and defeating one of the most successful franchises in the NFL would be another achievement for the Lions.
Historically, Detroit has been one of those organizations with the word „cursed“ attached to it. Even when Detroit recruited all-time great players like Barry Sanders, Calvin Johnson, or even Matthew Stafford, they usually found a way to mess things up. The Lions have participated in one championship game during the Super Bowl era, and that was at the beginning of Sanders‘ career.
Detroit has been successful in four NFL championship games, but since the NFL/AFL merger and the start of the Super Bowl, the Lions have been an afterthought. Just a few years ago, in the first season of head coach Dan Campbell, they only had three wins. This is an organization that has gone through a season without winning a single game. Winning in the NFL isn’t easy, but even the worst teams have been lucky to secure a victory.
Now, the Lions are on the other end of the spectrum, among the final four remaining teams with a chance to appear in the franchise’s first Super Bowl. From young to old, no matter how old, Lions fans remember all the bad times because there wasn’t much good. This is not meant as an insult; it’s the truth. The Carolina Panthers, who have only been around since 1995, have participated in more NFC Championship games (three) and two Super Bowls than the Lions.
A Truly Terrifying Opponent
However, it won’t be easy to travel to the Bay Area to face San Francisco. While the entire positive history is on the side of the 49ers, they have struggled to overcome the hurdle and win Super Bowl No. 6. Since 2011, the Niners have played on six championship Sundays and have made it to two Super Bowls, losing both. So, they have been very successful but have not achieved the ultimate success of winning a Lombardi Trophy since the 1990s.
For the Lions, it’s about firsts. When you’re an organization that hasn’t had much success, almost everything is a first. The Lions hosted their first playoff home game in decades during Super Wild Card Weekend and the first ever (for the team) at Ford Field.
When opportunities present themselves, you have to seize them. Many teams and players have had magical seasons and assumed they would do it again. Look at how the Eagles reached the Super Bowl last year, failed this season, and exited in the Wild Card round. Nothing is guaranteed, so you have to capitalize on the moment.
Hall of Famer Dan Marino led the Dolphins to the Super Bowl in his second season as a pro. Due to their talent, everyone just assumed they would come back after being trounced by the Niners. Marino and the Dolphins reached a few more AFC Championship games, but never appeared in a Super Bowl again. This dynamic is not a given, no matter how talented the team is.
Detroit is the clear underdog against the 49ers, but that doesn’t matter once they’re on the field. It’s a cliché, but you have to leave everything on the field. As much as this roster has improved under Campbell, there’s no guarantee they will be among the final four again next season. Not long ago, everyone was anticipating a rematch between SF and Philly. The Eagles and all their fans will be watching from home on Sunday, just like the rest of us. The fate of the Lions is now in front of them, and it’s time for them to make history.