Welcome to Detroit, where the optimism runs high and the Kool-Aid is always chilled and thirst-quenching.
Detroit Lions fans’ support of the franchise is at an all-time high, according to our SB Nation Reacts confidence poll, and after the way the season ended, it’s hard to disagree.
The Lions made some impressive strides over the last month and a half of the season, going 3-3 down the stretch, but 3-1 when starting quarterback Jared Goff was under center. Not only did they get two wins over division rivals, but they also twice knocked off the team that was ranked as the NFC’s No. 1 seed at the time—smacking around the Arizona Cardinals 30-12 in Week 15 and then finishing the season with a 37-30 win over the Green Bay Packers in Week 18.
The Lions improved statistically on both sides of the ball, did it with several replacement players, while also seeing young studs come into their own. What Amon-Ra St. Brown was able to accomplish over the last six weeks was shockingly impressive. Lions’ rookie receiver records were set by St. Brown, standard Lions’ receiver records also fell to the Sun God, he was recognized with several awards, and he has established himself as a true foundational piece for the offense to build around.
But it went beyond St. Brown. Penei Sewell dominated, Alim McNeill improved considerably down the stretch, Tracy Walker closed the season in impressive fashion, Charles Harris proved he was more than a flash in the pan, things started to click with Jared Goff, and the list goes on.
With so many key pieces of the Lions organization showing impressive development, faith in coach Dan Campbell (98% approval rate in December) and general manager Brad Holmes (97% approval rate in December) is close to unanimous.
Our latest SB Nation Reacts confidence poll asked the question: do Lions fans believe the team is headed in the right direction? And the fans responded unanimously:
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen 100% approval results in any poll, well, ever.
Lions fans are obviously feeling a lot of excitement surrounding this franchise right now, so for fun, let’s check in on the other NFC North franchise to see how they’re doing (please keep the snickering to a minimum).
There was a positive spike in the poll results after firing their head coach and general manager, but a mere 43% suggest most Bears fans have little faith the organization will make the right replacement hires.
The Vikings are in an identical situation as the Bears, firings all around, but Minnesota fans are slightly more optimistic. Still, quite a fall from where they started the season.
Green Bay Packers: 83%
Lol. The Packers are the No. 1 seed in the NFC and have a first-round bye in the playoffs, yet confidence is dropping after the Lions handed them a loss at the end of the season. Fun times.
Enjoy it Lions fans. Half the division is hitting the reset button and could be a year behind Detroit in the rebuild process, while the Packers are at risk of losing their two best players—Aaron Rodgers (just because) and Davante Adams (free agent)—and will enter the offseason $40 million OVER the salary cap.