Detroit Lions' New Uniforms Just the Start of the Change Fans Need to See

Michael MrockCorrespondent IApril 20, 2009

DETROIT , MI - JANUARY 16:  Jim Schwartz, center, head coach of the Detroit Lions poses with General Manager Martin Mayhew, left, and Tom Lewand team president after a press conference to introduce him as the Lions new head coach on January 16, 2009 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The Detroit Lions ended the speculation today and revealed their new logo and uniforms. The changes were too minimal to set the league on its ear as one of those uniforms any buff should have.

A team that has left the greatest goose egg in pro sports history can only do so much to switch the impression that they have within Detroit and throughout the NFL.  

Yet the changes, which were really just a beefed up logo and different numbering, are a start. However, the finish is really the issue.

Chants of "Don't Draft Stafford" and "Curry" at the unveiling may send the message who the fans want to first hold the new jersey come Saturday.

Having Calvin Johnson, Kevin Smith, Dominic Raiola, Ernie Simms, and Jason Hanson model the new uniforms does say a few things. 

The first thing is that these guys are staying, but not having Daunte Culpepper there may mean he is not the QB yet and someone else will model the new uniform come Saturday. 

However, no real direction is known where the Lions will go come when Roger Goodell announces who is going first. Is this a good sign? Tom Lewand, Martin Mayhew, and Jim Schwartz may feel the need to be secretive about who they are picking, but in truth it is not their team. 

The Lions do not have ownership over this team. The fans in truth are the true owners, which is not the same with the other Detroit teams. These fans have put up with too much futility to leave the team in their hands. 

The Wings, Tigers, and Pistons have had their own years of being lousy, yet they took it upon themselves to reward the fans with a quality product that fits the ticket price. The Lions actually raised their ticket prices before the 0-16 season. 

The Wings have done little to the Winged Wheel or the sweaters throughout their history, and they have 11 Stanley Cups. The Tigers won their four titles with an old English "D" that will never go out of style.

Even though one of their logos has the Tiger walking through the "D", it is the "D" that defines the team either old or in cursive on the away in gray.

The Pistons won their three titles when they wore the red, white, and blue. These titles bookended an era of teal that the fans have forgiven them for.  

However, the Lions do not have this luxury. Instead, their changes were adding black accents and an all-black uniform that gave football fans the impression that the team was in mourning of themselves of year after year of mind-numbing draft decisions, a carousel of coaches and a record of futility that reached its apex last season with the 0-16 debacle.

The Lions fans are not calling for the Lions to reach Tampa on Feb. 7, yet what they are hoping for is a team that isn't embarrassing in its own town when compared to the other pro teams, as well as the Spartans and Wolverines football teams. 

The Lions have to create a sense of relevance that far exceeds whatever the uniform will be.

Too many fans have taken the direction to give up on their season tickets and look elsewhere to find a football team worth watching and that is the greatest area where change must occur. The Lions brass can stand before the press and say whatever, but it is truly the fans they must answer to.

Saturday is really the day in which revealing by the Lions will set the team in a direction that will lead to a better roar by the king of the jungle.

Setting a new attitude is not made in speeches, but in action that will deliver a team that will not just fill the seats in Ford Field, but also not leave the national press hating life when they cover the team on Thanksgiving. 

Whether it be Aaron Curry or Matthew Stafford, fan support is the real change that will establish the new look that the Lions must truly be seeking if they want to be taken seriously. A new logo and uniform serves no purpose to a team if the roar from the fans on Sundays is still a crescendo of boos.  

Currently the greatest cheers from Ford Field have been for MSU's amazing rise to reach the National Championship Game and concerts. Yet the original reason for its construction is still a work in progress. 

Change is the real currency the fans of the Lions want to see—a change that gives them a team that can stand on its feet and take notice from whomever they play on Sunday.