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The Wildcat Roar

Novi excited by best Lions season in decades

Lions players celebrate a touch-down against the Kansas CIty Chiefs.
Jeff Nguyen
Lions players celebrate a touch-down against the Kansas CIty Chiefs.

Endless wonders can be found in the city of Detroit. From its rich Motown sound to its incredible display of cultures, America’s automobile capital is truly a phenomenal place–in stark contrast to the city’s NFL home team.  The butt of decades-long jokes, the Detroit Lions have consistently been one of the worst teams in football and the laughing stock of the National Football League. Despite this, the Lions still manage to hold a massive following all throughout Michigan, especially within the Novi Community.

Math teacher Garret Zuk detailed the ups and downs of being a longtime Lion’s fan. “Being a Lions fan is a traumatic experience at times. We’ve definitely taken our licks over the years. We’ve had moments of success and then we’ve had a lot of heartbreak mixed in there too.” 

These moments of success are few and far between, however. The Lions have never once won the coveted title of Super Bowl champs and haven’t played in a playoff game since 2016. Even worse, the team hasn’t won a playoff game since 1991. The three decades between then and now have passed at a snail’s pace for loyal fans. 

Nonetheless, the tides may be changing for loyal Lions fans. The team fell one game short of making the 2023 playoffs, and praise for a successful draft and offseason led to heightened excitement heading into this year’s first NFL game: the Lions vs the reigning Super Bowl champs, the Kansas City Chiefs. While expected by most of the sports community to lose this matchup, the Lions pulled off perhaps the greatest upset in recent NFL history and beat the Chiefs 21-20. 

“It was super exciting,” Zuk said. “Winning any game in the NFL is really hard because everyone is so good. When you come out with a win and anytime you beat Patrick Mahomes (the Chief’s star quarterback) it feels really great.”

New team talent and aggressive strategy played a pivotal role in the victory, cementing community faith in the relatively new team management lead by head coach Dan Campbell. Seven weeks later, the team now sits at a record of 6-2, holding the statistical title of second best team in the entire league. A stunning reversal from the team’s situation only two years ago, many attribute the recent success to intelligent talent acquisition. 

Lifelong Lions fan, senior Alex Thompson shared this popular opinion. 

“We have the talent in our rookies. I really like Sam LaPorta as a player and Jahmyr Gibbs. I think Jack Campbell is also going to be underrated throughout his whole career,” Thompson said.

Having experienced many highs and lows over the years, Thompson is cautious about being too enthusiastic. 

“We don’t have enough depth,” Thompson said. “When our players get injured, we don’t really have enough players to kind of make up for those injuries. I think at the trade deadline we should have gotten more, better people. Someone like Max Crosby (a highly rated defensive player). He might have taken a first round pick, but he’s from Michigan and I really like him as a player.”

Zuk reiterated concerns about depth. 

“Our biggest weakness has been staying healthy,” Zuk said. “Our offensive line has been in shambles because of injuries and a lack of depth. David Montgomery has been out and Brian Branch has been beat up. I think our biggest thing going forward is staying healthy and keeping people on the field.” 

Despite concerns, Zuk remains optimistic about the rest of the season. 

“I would love to see us get a home playoff win,” Zuk said. “There’s not any team in the NFL that I’m scared of besides maybe the Eagles, so I don’t see a reason we can’t. If I’m going down on record with a season prediction, I’d say 11-6.”

Only time will tell if Zuk’s prediction comes to pass. In the meantime Lions fans in Novi wait in anticipation for their next game, this Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers at 4 p.m. 


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About the Contributor
Alexander Dyga
Alexander Dyga, Staff Writer
Alexander Dyga is a Junior. This is his first year on staff. Alex enjoys reading, writing, and gaming for an unhealthy amount of time. He is the recipient of 5 MIPA awards honorable mention awards- 4 for sports photography and 1 for news brief writing. There’s a story everywhere. If you have one contact him at [email protected].
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