In the NFL, one wrong decision can have a lasting fallout on the perception of a team.
After each week of the NFL season, we asked readers to vote in our latest SB Nation Reacts poll, answering the question: How confident are you that the Lions are headed in the right direction?
Through the preseason and first two weeks of the regular season, Lions fans’ confidence has lived between 95 and 99 percent as the team lost a close game to a very good Philadelphia Eagles team in Week 1, then convincingly took down the Washington Commanders in Week 2.
In Week 3, the Lions were confidently in control of the Minnesota Vikings holding a double-digit lead at times behind coach Dan Campbell’s aggressiveness and offensive execution. But late in the game, the Vikings had climbed back into it and were within three points, when Campbell was faced with another fourth down decision. This time, Campbell opted to go with a passive approach and it cost them when the Lions failed on a long field goal, followed by the Vikings marching down the field for the game-winning score.
“I regret that decision 100 percent,” Campbell said after the game. “I really do, Dave (Birkett, Free Press). I hate it, and I do feel like I cost our team. I really do, man.”
The fallout from that decision dominated the Lions news cycle for the next few days, and on Wednesday we once again asked our readers the question: How confident are you that the Lions are headed in the right direction?
The results of that poll are now in and fans’ confidence has dropped from 99 to 88 percent. 11 percentage points is a fairly significant drop, but it’s also not overly surprising, as the team had shown fans what they were capable of during the first two weeks, then appeared to take a step back against the Vikings.
With the struggling Seahawks next on the schedule, it’ll be interesting to see how the Lions perform in Week 4 and how fans’ perceptions change following the game.