Edson: Third Pick In Draft Is Lions Reward for Another Lousy Season

At least the Detroit Lions made everyone happy on Sunday.

* They led the entire game until the final play when the Green Bay Packers kicked a field goal to pull out a 23-20 victory and earn a first-round bye in the NFL playoffs. Our “brothers” who are Packer fans were delighted.

* Lions management, like Old Man Burns on The Simpson’s, was chuckling from their luxury skybox as they saw the stadium filled at Ford Field, raking in the money as the team rewarded its fans with a ninth straight loss to finish 3-12-1.

* Detroit fans, who are so used to this losing atmosphere under coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn, were openly rooting for the loss so that the Lions would pick No. 3 in this spring’s NFL draft.

Yes sir, everyone went home a winner. That’s just what we’ve come to accept from this franchise.

Most teams would be talking about what they would do in the off-season.

The Lions are masters at directing their focus elsewhere – like who they will take with the third pick.

There are plenty of fans who have fallen for the same old, “We need a quarterback, running back or receiver” in order for this team to improve.

What people who follow football for a living will tell you is: Winning starts at the line of scrimmage. That means resisting the low hanging fruit of sexy positions and players.

Your building blocks should be the defense and the offensive line.

It’s not a terribly complicated formula for winning… teams have been doing it for decades at all levels of football.

But somehow that has escaped the Detroit Lions.

With the third pick in the draft and the rounds that follow, the Lions are in a prime position to get this right.

But if you’ve followed this team as long as I have, you know they won’t.

Let’s put this in perspective. I’m starting my fifth year of retirement. I’m 66-years-old. The last time the Detroit Lions won an NFL championship I was 4-years-old in 1957.

That means I never saw that 1957 team play. The first Lions team I remember seeing was on an old black & white TV in 1961.

I’ve seen so many seasons like the one we just witnessed that I’ve grown numb to the promises and predictions of productivity.

I’m now the kind of fan the Lions love – eagerly awaiting the 2020 NFL draft with no expectations of success.

Nick Edson is a retired Hall of Fame columnist and sportswriter. He worked 25 years at the Traverse City Record-Eagle, 18 as sports editor. He is a two-time president of the Associated Press Sports Editors Association and a member of the Michigan Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame.

Categories: Football