Detroit Lions Fans Must Temper Expectations in 2011

Kyle Gibbons@@FI2ANCHISEAnalyst IIIJuly 11, 2011

Suh's attends a Tigers game at Comerica Park.
Suh's attends a Tigers game at Comerica Park.Leon Halip/Getty Images

Let me begin by saying that I am thoroughly excited at the very mention of the Detroit Lions becoming a playoff-caliber team.

I have watched as the Lions have gone from perennial bottom dwellers to media darlings, almost overnight.

For the first time in my adult life I heard the Lions even being mentioned by the general media as possible Super Bowl contenders.

This is a team that only two seasons ago finished an atrocious 0-16 en route to becoming the worst team in the history of the National Football League.

I love the positive media attention that the Detroit Lions have recently come to know.

Everywhere I look I see Lions players in commercials; I can't so much as turn on the television without seeing Ndamukong Suh's face.

Rookie Nick Fairley has already done an Armor All commercial with NASCAR’s Tony Stewart, and he has yet to even sign an NFL contract.

Suh took part in the famed Gumball 3000, and just the other day I saw Calvin Johnson in an Acura commercial.

Suh and Johnson even made the NFL Networks Top 100 Players of 2011 list.

I don’t live in Michigan anymore, so I am not accustomed to seeing Detroit anything.

As far as the workplace goes, my allegiance to the Detroit Lions is no longer the butt of every joke, and every so often someone actually speaks of the promise that the Lions showed in 2010.

But let’s be honest for a second. I am, and always have been a realist.

The problem with this positive media attention is the negative impact it will have on some Lions fans.

For instance, say Detroit finishes the 2011 season 8-8.

That would probably be good for second place in the NFC North, but no playoff berth.

For Detroit to finish at 8-8, Stafford would have to have his best year and two or three Lions would have to be selected to the 2012 Pro Bowl.

In my opinion that is a great Detroit Lions season, one of development and contention.

But others will see the results and view the Lions season as another failure.

The issue with blowing this young Detroit Lions team up in the media is that once they don’t go to the 2011 Super Bowl, the general consensus will be “same ‘ol, same ‘ol.”

People will call for Stafford’s head, and every Lions article on Bleacher Report will go back to being “5 Hardest Hitters in Lions Team History.” (I’m guilty of that.)

Those who live Detroit Lions football know exactly what I’m referring to, and you have probably entertained these very same thoughts.

All I’m saying, Lions fans, is please temper your expectations. I am just as excited as you are.

I’ve already gone out and bought my Ndamukong Suh jersey, and I’ll probably reach for Jahvid Best in my fantasy football draft...again.

Believe me; I’m right there with you.

Please just remember that though I have myself projected a trip to the playoffs for Detroit in 2011, finishing the season 8-8, or 9-7 is still a HUGE step in the right direction.

I myself will be able to accept Detroit's not making the playoffs in 2011 if positive strides have been made.

Can you?