By: Jamie Samuelsen
In all the coverage of Peyton Manning, Richard Sherman, Marshawn Lynch and the rest of Super Bowl XLVIII, there has been a smaller story that’s gotten a morsel of the attention.
Four members of the 0-16 Detroit Lions will be taking part in the Super Bowl just five seasons after completing the worst year in NFL history. The Broncos feature linebacker Paris Lenon and center Manny Ramirez. Cliff Avril plays for the Seahawks. And Kippy Brown coaches the Seattle receivers. All four were asked this week about their experience in ’08. All understandably preferred to focus on 2014.
It must have been impossible for them to imagine playing for a Super Bowl after what they went through that year. Just as it’s impossible for Lions fans to imagine what would happen if their team ever advanced that far. Most Lions fans that I talk to are convinced that this franchise will never win a Super Bowl in their lifetime. Call it the Curse of Bobby Layne. Call it the Curse of Barry Sanders. Whatever it is, it just seems hopeless. So hopeless in fact that it’s hard to even imagine what that scenario would be like.
But for just a moment, try to imagine it. What if the Lions won had the NFC and were playing the Broncos this Sunday instead of the Seahawks? What would that be like?
– Every time you turned on ESPN, Fox Sports or the NFL Network, you’d see the Lions helmet there on the set. You’d know that every football program on every network would be talking about your team – and it would actually be for good things!
– For years to come after Sunday, whenever one of those NFL Films Super Bowl specials comes on, you know you can see the Lions in the Super Bowl. It may be like finding a needle in a haystack, but at least that needle is there.
– Whenever Chris Berman lists off the teams that never made the Super Bowl, you’d know the Lions wouldn’t get that annual mention. Sorry Cleveland, Houston and Jacksonville – it’s left to you now.
– You could actually stomach watching Fox’s four-hour pregame show because it would actually be doing stories that you cared about. Granted, they’d still talk to Ryan Seacrest, Demi Lovato and Blake Shelton. But they’d probably talk to Kid Rock and Eminem too.
– Tim Allen would be there. So would Dave Coulier. And if that’s not a positive for some of you – you’d also get heavy doses of Barry Sanders, Chris Spielman and Joey Harrington. Hmmm. I might have to rethink that one.
– Huel Perkins would host a live edition of “Let It Rip” from New York City featuring Wojo, Stoney, Dan Miller, Barry Sanders, Eminem…and Charlie Langton.
– When they run that annual Madden Super Bowl simulation, they’ll be using the Lions and video game freaks will be playing with Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson like crazy.
– Every news network in America will do a story on Detroit and how the city is responding to it’s team finally going to the Super Bowl. It will get the same attention that the Red Sox got when they won the World Series in 2004. (Okay, we all know that won’t happen. But we can dream – right?)
– I have to think that Governor Snyder will declare that the state has a full day off the Monday after the game. Either that, or it will be the least productive workday in the history of Michigan.
– Peyton Manning will throw for 493 yards and 6 touchdowns. Matthew Stafford will throw two pick-sixes. And the Broncos will win 63-10 to complete the largest blowout in Super Bowl history. Jim Schwartz will be fired and the Lions will be forced to look for a new coach because Jim Caldwell took the Browns job.
I can’t guarantee that all those things will happen. But in these cold, dark times – you can’t blame someone for dreaming.