Almanac NFL – The 2023 Bobby Layne Cup: Week Seven


Detroit Lions
Image: Wikipedia


Greetings Tipsters

Detroit Lions beat Kansas City Chiefs, reigning Superbowl champions, in Week One, lost in overtime to Seahawks in Week Two, then won four straight and generated a lot of column inches about their chances in the NFC, maybe a Superbowl, Jared Goff a possible MVP. Then we went to Baltimore…

2001, after several years of being a casual fan of American Football, I decided to choose a team. Looked at the list, of course it had to be Detroit. Motown and Mustangs, John Lee Hooker and John DeLorean. Then I read about the history of the team. Last championship, 1957. One playoff win since, 1991. Chuck Hughes, died onfield in 1971, Don McCafferty, coach, died in pre-season, 1974. Great colours, Honolulu blue and silver. I could not but love this team.

I have enjoyed years of total ineptness, such as Matt Millen’s reign as the most thoroughly clueless General Manager of all time, the 0/16 season of 2008, which at least featured Daunte Culpepper, one of the better named quarterbacks, and got us #1 2009 draft pick Matthew Stafford, who heroically dragged the team along to wins they had no business getting ‘cos he was a tough Texan and he had Calvin ‘Megatron’ Johnson to throw to.

Stafford grew up in the same town as Bobby Layne, quarterback of the 1957 championship team. Bobby was traded the next year and said that the Lions wouldn’t win a championship for at least 50 years. The ‘Bobby Layne Curse’ has become legendary. Almost seemed like it might be broken in Jim Caldwell’s three years as coach, we made the playoffs twice, got screwed by the officiators in a game in Dallas when they ruled against a Megatron catch – which caused a rule change but too damn late for us.

The Lions have been screwed by the refs more than any other team, it is statistically proven. Anyway, despite Jim being the most successful coach in 25 years, he was sacked by the new GM Bob Quinn, ex-Pats, and replaced by Matt Patricia, ex-Pats DC.

Some Head Coach’s co-ordinators and assistants go on to great things. Not one of Bill Belichick’s underlings have done anything other than destroy the teams they ran. Matty Patty was terrible, took over a decent roster and drove most of the good players away, ‘cos Bill is a grump, so I should be too.

Sheila took over as principal owner in 2020, the first time in over twenty years we’d had an owner under 70, sacked Bob and Matt in November after another embarassing loss, hired a couple of young blokes – Brad Holmes, a college scout for the Rams, became GM, Dan Campbell, former TE for the Lions, including the 0/16 season, a position coach on several teams, got the HC job.

Dan grew up on a cattle ranch in Texas. He’d played for Detroit. He knew the city. He’s as big and lean and fit as his playing days His first press conference became legendary when he said “you can knock us down, but we’ll bite your kneecaps off.” Oh, how they laughed, who is this meathead?

I got it. He was talking to the city, to the fans. He’d been there, he KNEW.

Brad drafted from the trenches outward. Topline D & O linemen, skill players taken in third or fourth round who outplayed first rounders in their rookie season. Dan is an inspirational head coach who gets players performing above themselves. Stafford didn’t want to go through yet another rebuild, so Brad traded him to the Rams – where he won a Superbowl – for Jared Goff and two first round picks.

’21 was rough, three wins and a tie. ’22 started 1/6, ended at 9/8. ’23, we were 5/1 before the match in Baltimore and the hype was happening.

I’ve a link to a dodgy streaming site. Missed most of the first half ‘cos the game started at 4AM, Ravens up 28-0 at the long break, 355 yards to 97, a touchdown on every drive in the first half. Our top five D and top five O had been obliterated.

Lamar Jackson, Ravens QB, won MVP in his rookie year. Now the team has finally designed an Offence where he doesn’t have to do everything himself and hired a smart young DC, it all came together on Sunday afternoon, at the Lions expense.

Detroit is the only good team in the NFC North and there’s five divisional match-ups yet to play. No opponent left on the schedule has a positive W/L ratio. 13/4 is not an unrealistic aim.

2008, I decided that I wouldn’t listen to MC5’s ‘Kick Out The Jams’ until Lions win a playoff. 13/4 won’t mean a thing if I can’t spin that platter in January.

Cheers Tipsters

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About Earl O'Neill

Freelance gardener, I've thousands of books, thousands of records, one fast motorcycle and one gorgeous smart funny sexy woman. Life's pretty darn neat.


  1. Russel Hansen says

    a very entertaining read, Earl! many thanks
    (aka Rabbit in the Vineyard)

  2. Earl O'Neill says

    Thanx Russel. You’re now a Detroit Lions fan?

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