America Wants the Lions to Beat the 49ers and Win the Super Bowl

It’s always Detroit Vs. Everybody, but for now, everybody seems to be with Detroit…or at least the Detroit Lions.

The country knows of the city’s struggles over the decades, and its story of resiliency and resurgence. (We’re going to ignore, for now, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith and his rant-turned-backtracking about Detroit.) And people around the country also know that the city’s professional football team has struggled in a significant way, too. 

The Lions are in the midst of a historic run right now, though, putting together the franchise’s best season since it last won a championship in 1957. The Lions hosted and won a playoff game for the first time since the 1991 season, and this is the first season ever that the Lions have hosted and won two playoff games in the same season. Basically, for fans under the age of 70, this is the most successful season they’ve ever witnessed the Lions play.

But for some reason, the majority of the country wants to see the Lions in the Super Bowl. According to a recent poll by BetOnline, more than 80 percent of the people polled want to see Detroit beat the San Francisco 49ers in this Sunday’s NFC Championship game and advance to the Super Bowl. If the Lions beat the 49ers, it would be the first time the Lions have made it to a Super Bowl.

It’s hard to tell whether it’s the “lovable loser” effect or the fact that the Lions Head Coach Dan Campbell and the team embody the gritty, blue-collar nature of the everyday American, but it’s clear that the nation has endeared the team Detroiters root for every Sunday.

National media has picked up on the trend, too. Analysts on networks including Fox, ESPN, and NFL Network have all openly expressed their desire to see the Lions win, and so many of them have pointed out the fact that Detroiters are making the team one to cheer for.

Pat McAfee, on his ESPN show The Pat McAfee Show, recently spent more than 20 minutes praising Campbell and the players for the way they’ve revived a franchise that has been in such desperate need for some wins and postseason success.

Steve Buckley from The Atlantic is rooting for the Lions because for him, this team represents the ability of a historically bad franchise rising from the ashes and gives him hope that his team – the New York Mets, who haven’t won a World Series in nearly 40 years – could one day do the same.

In reality, though, the team is full of likeable guys, and it starts at the top.

Campbell was a part of the Lions 0-16 season as a player. His press conference when he was hired three years ago was weird, where he talked about biting kneecaps and legs. So many pundits laughed and questioned his ability to seriously lead the team.

Brad Holmes, a 44-year-old Black man, serves as the Lions’ general manager and is responsible for assembling the cast of players who have taken the team to these new heights. He was one of the few Black GMs in the league when he began, and people have questioned his draft picks since day one. But now, it’s players like Jahmyr Gibbs and Sam LaPorta (rookies who have broken NFL records for first-year players) who are hugely a part of this team’s success.

Quarterback Jared Goff was traded to the Lions for his career to fizzle out, many said. But instead, he’s become more confident and a true leader of the Honolulu Blue brigade.

Even guys like third-year linebacker Derrick Barnes, who secured the game-winning interception in the Lions’ win over Tampa Bay in the divisional-round playoff win, are getting in on the love. Barnes was a project when he came into the league and was lacking confidence when the Lions drafted linebacker Jack Campbell in the 2023 draft. But he had the sticktoitiveness to withstand the pressure that comes along with someone potentially taking your spot, and he proved his grit in so many moments throughout the season.

Detroiters find it easy to root for the home team, but it’s apparent that others do, too. They love watching videos of the Lions’ special teams unit Swag Surfing before kickoffs, or the crowd break noise records when Lose Yourself plays over the PA system and the video team flashes to Eminem going crazy in a suite with D12 members all around him, or cornerback C.J. Gardner-Johnson exchanging smack talk with the opposing team on the internet.

It’s all a part of the Lions “everyman” appeal. It’s why Detroiters love the team, and it’s why the country is rooting for Detroit to win on the field and off it.

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