Sir Winston Churchill on the 2010 Detroit Lions: Part I

John Farrier@GriffWings UnitedCorrespondent IJuly 14, 2010

The man through whom a special relationship was borne and fostered between two great nations during some of the darkest days of the 20th Century left to us some of the greatest inspirational quotes in all of history.  I’ll take a look at the 2010 Detroit Lions through a purview of three quotes by Sir Winston Churchill and how they apply to this year’s team.


“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”


Paradigm is everything.


The sights and sounds out of Allen Park these days are those of a hungry Detroit Lions team that has set its collective sights on making a playoff run at the end of the 2010-11 season.


For the loyal, long-suffering fans of the franchise, the question they struggle with is whether or not they can believe positive results can be immediately achieved following a 2-14 and 0-16 record over the previous two seasons.


Video Play Button
Videos you might like

After all, the team has done nothing but finish last or next to last in their division since 1996, with one playoff appearance (1999) along the way.


You sure wouldn’t know it by what we’re hearing from Detroit Lions players during the run up to the 2010 campaign.


Yes, the Lions will face the NFC East.   They will also play the AFC East.  They also play in the NFC North which boasts two of the best defenses in the National Football League in Green Bay and Minnesota.  Top it off with games against St. Louis and Tampa Bay, and there’s the opponent list for 2010.


By most accounts, the Lions face stout competition in each of this year’s contests, with no opponent to take for granted.


Yet, from Louis Delmas, Jonathan Wade, Ndamukong Suh, and entire host of Detroit Lions players, we hear an inner confidence that suggests each man truly sees the opportunity in the difficulties he will face during the upcoming season.  If they didn’t, we wouldn’t be hearing talk of a playoff run in June.


The players have to believe, and they do.  The results have yet to be determined, but it all starts between the ears.  If you don’t believe you can win, you’ve lost already.


Despite seasons of losing, I sense that Lions fans largely support the decisions made by Mayhew, Schwartz, Lewand & Co.  The rate at which this front office has acquired new players is a positive step that fans believe will result in more wins than many expect.  


“We shall draw from the heart of suffering itself the means of inspiration and survival.”


The biggest farce of a motto going into a season for any Detroit Lions fan was this one:


Do You Believe In Now?


I believe I just witnessed by team’s final dismantling by going winless on the 2008 season.  Yes, I now believe I have been cheering for the most moribund franchise in the NFL.


There are few players on the current roster who were members of the 2008 squad.  Last season’s roster was changed by about 60 percent, and this year’s roster will again find about half of the players being new.


For Lions fans who view the game from a defensive bent, the past four seasons have been nothing but sheer torture.  A once-proud franchise that boasted the likes of Joe Schmidt and Chris Spielman has been shamed with a woeful defense that offensive coordinators drool about teeing off on come Sunday.


Can’t rush the passer, can’t stop the run, and can’t defend the pass.


That deadly combination results in two victories over two seasons.  No surprises here.


Regardless the facts and statistics of the Detroit Lions recent failures upon the field of play, both players and fans alike are fired up for another season of Lions football.


Because this team is not lead by the staff who brought shame upon the franchise, and because these players are largely not the players who achieved the failure of 2-30 over the past two seasons, the leadership and players don’t feel attachment to the team’s previous poor record as an indicator of future success.


Thank goodness.  They have to feel that way; they must possess that mentality that past performance is not indicative of future results.  If they did, the fight would already be lost, and it doesn’t sound to me like the 2010 Detroit Lions plan on backing down against anyone anytime soon.


“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”

Many of us have heard the phrase, “Attitude determines altitude.”  Obviously, if your head is in the dirt, you’ll never get off the ground.


Honestly, I’m not sure if the players ever truly believed they were going to be able to win during the late throws of the Marinelli era.  The disorganization from the top down throughout the franchise created certain disaster on game day.  When the head coach, offensive coordinator, and offensive line coach are not on the same page relative to the offensive line’s blocking assignments and scheme, you have laid the foundation for failure, and that’s exactly what they achieved.


Players like Dominic Raiola and Jeff Backus have seen a career’s worth of lows, yet are upbeat about the upcoming season and the promise it holds.


The outward expression of an inner belief by many a Detroit Lions defender speaks volumes about each of them maintaining a positive mental attitude in the face of lingering doubt.


Sure the Detroit Lions have made wholesale changes to the roster and have been voracious in their appetite to acquire and upgrade talent, but they have as of yet to perform as a new “group of talent” that can win regularly on Sunday afternoon, or at least lend another reason to give thanks on Turkey Day.


After years of being dumped on for their loyal support of a dysfunctional and largely non-winning franchise, Detroit Lions fans are optimistic that their team is on the verge of turning the corner and maturing into a winning franchise.


From what I have gathered around the Internet, I would say that most Lions fans would consider a six-win season the beginnings of a successful turnaround.  A team that could finish with a .500 record would be surprising for most Detroit Lions fans.  A playoff appearance would send the people of Motown to the Moon.


Come January 2011, Louis Delmas hopes to be “the man on the moon,” and I’d sure like to see him and the rest of his teammates there too.


If that altitude from attitude thing holds true, we’re all going to be pleasantly surprised.  “Hopium” all the way around!



HäMM ë R


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.