Thanks to Sufjan Stevens for the titles. They give me some mileage when talking about the Detroit Lions.
Today’s article, Detroit Lions Using Familiar Rebuilding Plan For Success, is basically me drawing the comparisons in team building between the 2007-current Detroit Lions and the 1988-91 Dallas Cowboys and 1996-99 Indianapolis Colts.
Please check out the article, but here is a summary of the comparison:
- Each team drafted a No. 1 wide receiver in the first round of the draft (Michael Irvin, Marvin Harrison, Calvin Johnson).
- Each team had an awful season (3-13 for Cowboys, 3-13 for Colts, 0-16 for Lions) that resulted in a defensive-minded head coach hiring (Jimmy Johnson, Jim Mora, Jim Schwartz), and the No. 1 pick in the draft being spent on a quarterback (Troy Aikman, Peyton Manning, Matthew Stafford).
- Each team struggled in that coach/QB’s rookie season (1-15 for Cowboys, 3-13 for Colts, 2-14 for Lions).
- Each team used a 1st-round pick the following year on a running back (Emmitt Smith, Edgerrin James, Jahvid Best).
For Detroit to continue on with the success, they still have some holes in the roster to fill. The other two teams did it (Dallas better than most), and that’s Detroit’s goal.
I didn’t mention it in the article, but there’s also this little tidbit:
- In 1990, Troy Aikman (2nd season) set a franchise record with 6 game-winning drives (link)
- In 1999, Peyton Manning (2nd season) tied the then-NFL record with 7 game-winning drives (link)
- In 2011, Matthew Stafford (3rd season) tied the franchise record with 3 fourth quarter comebacks (link)
Stafford was basically in his second season last year after the 19 missed starts in 2009-10. Detroit came back to win after a deficit of at least 13 points in four different games last season.