Wait! Don’t tune out. This article isn’t about dangerous animals, the City of Detroit, or a football team. As always, the focus is on leadership and the by-product is CLASS.
I’ve been a proud Detroit Lions football fan since I could waddle across my yard with a football under my arm. That was way back in the days that Bobby Layne led the team as quarterback as one of the last players to wear a helmet without a face guard. Today, the Lions are led by a 21-year-old young man, Matthew Stafford, with a $78 million contract, making him the highest-paid player in the team’s history.
- The Lions have won just four NFL Championships in 79 years of play.
- They have the second-longest NFL championship drought behind the Arizona Cardinals.
- The Lions have yet to qualify for the Super Bowl.
- The team has qualified for the playoffs only nine times in the more than 50 years and has won only one playoff game in that span.
- The Lions hold the second longest regular season losing streak in NFL history, losing 19 straight games going all the way back to 2007.
- The 2008 Detroit Lions became the only team in NFL history to lose all 16 regular-season games.
- They have a rookie quarterback in Stafford and a new coach in Jim Swartz.
- They proudly boast one of the most beautiful stadiums in the nation in Ford Field. I’ve had the privilege to speak there and a tour of this facility will leave you breathless.
- Record-wise, the Lions have been losers for decades.
I, like so many others, have been a Lions fan through all of this tragedy.
So why my reference to CLASS? You’d better sit down. The Lions have broken that remarkable losing streak the last weekend in September by defeating the Washington Redskins 19-14.
Needless to say, the players and the fans reacted as though they had just won the Super Bowl! You couldn’t hear anything for what seemed forever. They danced, they hugged, they laughed, they screamed and sang as they relished the joy of victory!
Now the CLASS appears. The team finally made their way into the locker room. They quickly quieted down, and as a team they dropped to one knee and shared a prayer of thanks. They then decided as a team to return to the field to celebrate this unbelievable milestone. They talked, shook hands, and hugged thousands of fans who had gathered on the field. Later, they said they simply wanted to thank the most patient fans in the game of football for their loyalty and support since 2007. Will they win their next game? Will they have a winning season? Who knows? In fact, who cares? On this day, they conquered the world and nothing was more important to the Lions or their fans.
Frosting on this scrumptious cake? You bet! As thousands of proud fans finally filed out of that beautiful, state-of-the-art football stadium, you could hear a low, thunderous, but growing, two-word chant … SUPER BOWL! SUPER BOWL! SUPER BOWL! Those are true fans supporting a CLASSY football team! Losers on the field for now but winners in our hearts forever!
By the way, the Lions one-game winning streak ended the following Sunday in Chicago by a score of 48-24 … but we’ll be back!