The 2011 Detroit Lions was a team that rewarded long suffering fans with a season for the ages. Sure, Lions teams of the 50's actually won championships. A Barry Sanders-led team even won a playoff game in the 90's.
When you consider the team's recent history, though, it is hard to fathom what they've accomplished this year—and how good they can be in years to come.
Going from 0-16 to 10-6 in three years is quite an accomplishment and I hope that fans appreciate it. It seems that some have already taken it for granted. Instead choosing to complain about another first-round playoff exit.
Yes, the Lions have not won a playoff game in over a decade. I suppose if that is how you gauge success then you might consider this year a failure.
However, for the rest of us sane people, 2011 was an amazing year. One that restored pride in a perpetually down on its luck franchise.
There were insane comebacks, jaw dropping plays, players that came through in the clutch, plenty of controversy and best of all: winning!
Fans can rest assured that this was just the beginning. Detroit is set up for many years of success.
They finally have a front office that appears to know what they are doing. They have a coach that changed a losing culture and they have highly talented players in key positions.
2011 was definitely a year to remember in Detroit. It was a year filled with highlights; and some lowlights (but I'll save those for a different day).
Here are the best of the best. The top 16 plays from the season that was.