The year was 1999. The number one television show in America was "Who Wants To Be A Millionare" with Regis Philbin. The number one song in America was Cher's "Believe." A gallon of gas would cost you about $1.10 and the number one movie of 1999 was "American Beauty." Bill Clinton was in the White House and had just survived a messy impeachment trial for his affair with Monica Lewinsky and the Detroit Lions were in the playoffs, when they lost in Washington to the Redskins 27-13. 12 years later, the Lions are back. For 12 years since their last appearance in the postseaon, the Detroit Lions were considered the laughing stock of the National Football League and an easy win for most teams.
Things were really bad in those days. How bad? So bad that fans were showing up to the games wearing paper sacks over their faces. The Lions even went 0-16 in 2008 and even went so far as to lose 9 of their last 10 Thanksgiving Day games. In that 12 year span, the team had some decent drafts but nothing to really write home about until 2010, when they picked up QB Matthew Stafford from Georgia. They managed to improve from that dismal season but still fell short of their goal to reach the playoffs.
After that 0 and 16 season, which some fans would rather forget, the Lions got a little better, finishing the next two seasons with 2 and 6 wins respectively. And now, kitty has claws. Granted, they're in the same division with powerhouses Green Bay and Chicago but they're a team that you can't take for granted. It's sort of like the girl you teased in third grade because she was really ugly and now she comes back to the class reunion as a Sports Illustrated model. It's a huge upgrade.
So from the time that Bill Clinton left office to now, the Detroit Lions failed to make the playoff party for 12 years. Detroit has fallen on hard times lately with the auto industry taking hits but with American car maker Chrysler making a comeback, it would only be fitting that the Lions join the Tigers, Red Wings and Pistons in the postseason party
in the Motor City. 48 and 128. Not something to write home about. But with the new found success, the Detroit Lions will go into the playoffs probably as an underdog but their fans can finally hold their heads up high. Doormats? We think not.
2000 - 9 and 7, missed playoffs
2001 - 2 and 14
2002 - 3 and 13
2003 - 5 and 11
2004 - 6 and 10
2005 - 5 and 11
2006 - 3 and 13
2007 - 7 and 9
2008 - 0 and 16
2009 - 2 and 14
2010 - 6 and 10
Sources - The National Football League and the Detroit Lions. Logo courtesy the Detroit Lions.