Lions miss mark with '91 team, can only celebrate winning

Lions miss mark with '91 team, can only celebrate winning
Posted at 11:50 AM, Oct 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-17 12:22:02-04

The Lions have to simply move forward and stop looking back. If they don't, they won't get anywhere, especially not to the Super Bowl.

Enter Sunday at Ford Field. Forget that the Lions scored 10 fourth-quarter points to beat the Los Angeles Rams, 31-28.
The Lions (3-3) have now won two straight after their three-game losing streak put their season in peril.

Still, the most surprising thing at the game came at halftime when the Lions honored the 1991 team.

You remember them, right?

No, they didn't go to the Super Bowl or actually win the Super Bowl that season. That's the team that lost 41-10 to the Washington Redskins in the NFC championship game.

Sounds like a great thing to relish, celebrate and never forget.


But because the Lions' postseason history in the modern era is terrible, they are reduced to celebrating ultimately losers.

This is no good. Ever.

We get it. Those Lions were the last team to actually win a playoff game. Yes, that's the lone playoff win for this organization since 1957.

Still, could you imagine the 2003 New York Yankees embracing the team that lost to the Florida Marlins in the World Series.

Or the 2004 Los Angeles Lakers having a special night for that team that lost to the Pistons in the NBA Finals in five games.

Or even the Red Wings bringing back the 1995 bunch, the team that was swept in four games in the Stanley Cup to the New Jersey Devils.

Ridiculous. Totally.

And at least in those three example, all the losing teams actually made it to the championship.

This Lions team didn't even do that. That's the bad part. Nonetheless, 21 former players from that '91 squad were recognized at midfield during halftime. Sure, the crowd cheered. Many, no doubt, were still left scratching their heads.

In no way should fans simply pooh-pooh this team. After all, they were 12-4 that season and won the NFC Central title, too.

It's been 25 years since that team beat the Dallas Cowboys, 38-6. Clear as day, I can still remember TV announcer John Madden saying, "You're watching the two teams of the 90s. The Lions and the Cowboys. We will hear a lot from these two teams for awhile."

The Cowboys - with Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irving - kept their end of the statement up. That same team that the Lions moped up the Silverdome floor with went on to win three Super Bowls.

The Lions - with six Pro Bowlers, including Barry Sanders, Jerry Ball and Chris Spielman - did nada, zero, zilch. It was, indeed, a wasted era in Lions' history.

Hence, the Lions were trying to remember the team that made Detroiters proud 25 years ago. We get it.
But the Lions simply got it wrong. It should have been just a nice luncheon that  some lucky fans could have attended.

They could have shown a few pictures from the event and mentioned it throughout the game to remind fans.
But a full-blown halftime event? No way, no how.

It's surprising that it happened under the watch of new GM Bob Quinn, who came over from the New England Patriots that won Super Bowls.

Under the old guard, you could definitely see the Lions putting on a lame event, trying to sell tickets and T-shirts. And we get it. It's a business. And yes, the Lions are also trying to make money.

Still, the name of the game is and should always be about winning. That has to be the goal. Nothing else should matter or be accepted.

The current Lions players shouldn't think to themselves. That's cool. The fans love a team that got blown out in the championship game.

If the Lions are serious about doing what just about all other teams - except three - get to a Super Bowl first and then win it - they can't embrace losing. Ever.

That's what the Lions did on Sunday when they looked back at their history.

The Lions should never make this mistake again. This new organization has to make a new history fans can be proud of and honestly worth celebrating.