If you have been a die-hard Detroit
Lions football fan over the last 50 years (unbelievably, there are a
few of us), dont bother reading this column.
As for the rest of the football fans out there, I do understand your
skepticism over any mention that the Lions team will be good in our
lifetime but you are wrong. Beware: if you read further you risk
joining those of us who see bluer skies ahead for Detroit Lions
football Honolulu blue.
The reasons outlined below are irrefutable evidence that the Lions and
their fans have finally escaped the futility experienced since
Detroits last NFL championship in 1957. Expect the Lions to finish
8-8 in 2010 at worst, followed by a run in the playoffs for the Super
Bowl in 2011 season.
First of all, Detroit finally has an intelligent and hard-working
management team in place. Coach Jim Schwartz has a proven track record
as a defensive coordinator and is considered one of the bright young
coaches in the game. General manager Martin Mayhew has bucked the
dismal pattern of his predecessors after engineering two excellent
drafts in a row, while pulling off several shrewd trades and
free-agent acquisitions to upgrade the Lions talent. Good teams start
at the top and, until lately, the Lions front office has been a joke
around the rest of the league.
Another reason to be optimistic is that the infamous Bobby Layne curse
is officially over. When the Lions traded their Hall-of-Fame
quarterback Layne in 1958, he reportedly muttered that the team would
not win for 50 years. Since then, Detroit has compiled the worst
winning percentage of any NFL franchise. The 50th year of the curse
ended in 2008 with the ultimate humiliation as the Lions became the
first team in pro football history to lose every game in that season.
Injuries are part of the game, but the tragic fate of so many Lions
over the years is downright eerie. Offensive lineman Mike Utley was
paralyzed during a home game in 1991. The following year, another
Lions offensive lineman, Eric Andolsek, was killed by a runaway
semi-truck while working in his front yard. Defensive
tackle Corey Smith was lost at sea in a Gulf of Mexico storm a couple
of years ago. Most telling of all, Detroit is the only team in NFL
history to have a player actually die on the field during a game when
Chuck Hughes suffered a heart attack in 1971 against the Chicago Bears
while trotting back to the huddle.
This is only a partial list of mayhem suffered by
Detroit players during the cursed seasons. Now that the dreaded hex is
Lions are long overdue for some good luck. They got it when Matthew
Stafford left college early and was drafted last year by Lions as
their quarterback of the future.
The Lions new signal-caller should be a great QB well into the next
decade. It is amazing (or cursed?) that Detroit has not had even a
decent QB in the last 50 years. Matthew Stafford is blessed with a
strong arm, smarts, and leadership qualities that have been lacking
since, well... Bobby Layne.
The Lions are back and the curse of Bobby Layne is over. If you are
superstitious and need further proof, Ill leave you with a final,
curse-busting fact; Matthew Stafford attended the same high school as
Bobby Layne in Highland Park, Texas and was drafted by Detroit 51
years after Bobby Layne put his 50-year-hex on the Lions.