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I'm Very Excited For The 2023 Detroit Lions, And That Scares The Hell Out Of Me

I get asked all the time to write about the lines, which is bizarre because I have written several blogs about them in the past. I plan on covering them more extensively during football season this year. Expectations are quite high, so I figured I'd let the world know my opinions, though I'm sure they'll be remarkably unpopular. 

I think Brad Holmes has done a fabulous job as a GM. This is legitimately the first period in history in which I believed a Detroit Lions GM isn't a complete buffoon. If you would've told me after the Matthew Stafford trade that this is the roster they would have entering the 2023 season, I would've been ecstatic, and I am. I was very skeptical of Dan Campbell when he was hired here, but he's passed with flying colors up to this point. I never had any concerns about his rhetoric or whether or not his players would play for him, but I had doubts about him as a strategist. Up to this point, he's done an excellent job. The Lions are the popular, sexy team right now. Many people are rooting for them. They have a good, young roster. Aaron Rodgers is no longer in Green Bay, meaning many people believe that the Lions may be the odds-on favorite to win the NFC North for the first time in my lifetime. I'm excited, and it scares me.

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I can't begrudge anyone for feeling overwhelming excitement about the Detroit Lions. To a certain extent, I am a part of that bandwagon. This is the most excited I've ever been about the Detroit Lions. The way they played down the stretch last year, nearly sneaking to the playoffs, was truly inspiring. I want to buy in. I want to believe that this team will be to Detroit what the 2016 Chicago Cubs were to Chicago, that one magical group that breaks the mold. And on paper, there are reasons to believe that. But I've been a Lions fan since I was born. I have watched teams that didn't have some legitimate expectations, and all of them flamed out spectacularly. At some point, a team will come along that bucks that trend. I would love to be cynical, but I am at the "I'll believe it when I see it" stage with the lions. But that doesn't mean I'm not excited. While my love for them doesn't run quite as deep, I feel about the Lions, similar to how Frank feels about the Mets. You can hold out hope, but there's always that feeling that things will go sideways. This may be the team that changes that mindset. 

I've been watching Lions football my entire life, and I have seen some teams that were OK, but I never found them particularly likable. Maybe they just had that aura that came with being owned by the Ford family, but whether it was in Suh stomping on people, overhyped draft picks shit-talking the fans, or Matt, Patricia's dumb fucking defenses blowing lead after lead after lead, they always annoyed me. That has changed in the Brad Holmes/Dan Campbell era. If this were baseball, I'd say they finally got the clubhouse chemistry right. It may sound cliché to say, but vibes do matter. And the vibes are high in Detroit right now. 

We'd all like to see the Lions win the Super Bowl. That is extremely difficult, and calling for that in 2023 would be unfair. It's playoff win or bust. If they win the division and don't win a game in the playoffs, it means nothing to me. Detroit fans sometimes like to imagine that we're out of the dark ages, but we're not. We are still in the midst of the worst stretch of professional sports the city has ever seen. And we are desperately waiting for the team that will break that mold. Everyone thinks that this Lions team can do that. Again, that scares me. Putting all your eggs in the Lions' basket feels like a recipe for disaster, but it's all we've got now. I hope this team is different. Detroit needs this.