When you hear the word dynasty, what do you think of?
The Steelers in the 1970s, the 49ers in the 1980s, the Cowboys in the 1990s, the Patriots in the 2000s?
Yes, these are all great NFL dynasties. But who will be the great dynasty of the 2010s?
The Detroit Lions. Yes, the Detroit Lions. They have al the tools in place to win 3 or more Super Bowls in the next 10 years.
In 2008, the Lions finished with an infamous 0-16 record. After that, I’ll bet no one thought someone would associate the words “Lions” and “Dynasty” in the same sentence for at least 50 years. After they lost their 16th game that year against the Packers, Lions’ broadcaster Dan Miller delivers the words that are etched forever in Lions’ history:
“Clock ticks down here in Green Bay. The Lions find themselves in a very familiar position. For 16 weeks, starting in Atlanta back in September, they took the field thinking this was gonna be their day. Sixteen times they were wrong, and now there are no Sundays left. By record, they are the worst team in league history.”
After finishing 0-16, I’ll bet no one would think to associate the words “Lions” and “Dynasty” in the same sentence.
0-16. How on Earth are they going to turn into a .500 team let alone a dynasty in the next few years?
Answer: The NFL Draft.
In 2007, the Lions had drafted WR Calvin Johnson with the 2nd overall pick. During the next few seasons, the Lions worked on developing Johnson in to a star wide receiver. I think we can all say they did more than succeed at that.
But what’s a wide receiver without a quarterback? In 2009, the Lions, of course, had the 1st overall pick. With this, they selected quarterback Matthew Stafford, from Georgia. He got off to a slow start, but I think we can say that he picked up the pace pretty quickly in the coming years.
What’s a good offense without a good defense? In 2010, the Lions decided they had to beef up their defense. With the 2nd overall pick, they chose Ndamukong Suh, the standout defensive lineman from Nebraska. He was described simply as “a beast”, and quickly became the cornerstone of the Lions’ defense. They also selected
California running back Jahvid Best to bolster their lacking running game.
He was simply described as “a beast.”
Last year, they had trouble putting it all together.
They finished last in the NFC North with a 6-10 record, and brought a 26-game road losing streak midway through the season. Also, quarterback Matthew Stafford couldn’t seem to be able to stay healthy.
The Detroit Lions were lost and looking for answers.
Again, they turned to the draft.
This year, with the 13th overall pick, the Lions picked another standout defensive lineman. This time it was Nick Fairley, from Auburn, who is an amazing complement to Suh.
So far this year, the Lions have been nothing short of amazing.
They are 4-0. Calvin Johnson set an NFL record with 2 touchdowns in each of his first 4 games. Matthew Stafford is healthy for the first time, and is 3rd in the NFL with 11 touchdowns. Their defense is stringent, having given up an average of only 19 points per game (3rd in NFC). They boast the best defensive line in the league. With Ndamukong Suh, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Cliff Avril, and Nick Fairley on the verge of returning from injury, this line is not a “Steel Curtain,” but rather an “Iron Wall.”
The determination and resilience of this team is magical. Against the Minnesota Vikings, they were down 20-0 at halftime. In the second half, they were unbelievable, outscoring the Vikings 26-3 on their way to a 26-23 overtime victory for Detroit.
Their defense isn’t a “Steel Curtain,” it’s an “Iron Wall.”
The next week, against the Cowboys, the Lions were down 27-3 in the 3rd quarter in Dallas. All hope was surely lost for the Lions.
Just when you thought they were finished, they shocked the world. They came all the way back, outscoring Dallas 31-3 in the final 25 minutes of the game. This epic comeback included a touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson. Oh and by the way, Johnson was in triple-coverage. Just ridiculous.
The Lions are finally putting all their talent together, as they are 1 of only 2 undefeated teams left in the NFL. The other undefeated team: The defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers.
This Lions team, led by head coach Jim Schwartz, is finally making a name for itself, and with talent like Stafford, Johnson, Suh, Fairley, and Best, are prime to become the NFL’s next dynasty.
“This team is for real.”
Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson may just become the next Joe Montana and Jerry Rice. Ndamukong Suh might be the next “Mean” Joe Green. Jim Schwartz may just be the next Bill Walsh. The Detroit Lions may just
be the NFL’s next great dynasty.
After their final game of the 0-16 season, Lions broadcaster Dan Miller offered these words:
“Zero and 16, those are the numbers that will forever be associated with the Detroit Lions.”
The Lions of today are making people forget those numbers.
By Sam Brief