The Detroit Lions haven’t been doing a lot of winning lately, and depending on who you ask, the reasons can range from trouble with injuries to a leaky defense to problems with the coaching staff.
Perhaps, however, there is a different reason the Lions have nose dived in the second half of 2019, and perhaps it has to do with a game which wasn’t even related to them. Such an explanation would likely be tasty for Lions fans looking for an excuse amid another lost season.
Following a November 4 Monday Night Football game between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys in which a black cat sprinted on the field, any NFL team that has a cat as a mascot has lost all their games. In total, cat teams are 0-12 since the sighting, and the Lions lead the way with an 0-4 mark. ESPN pointed out the interesting statistical anomaly on a graphic after others had shared it as well.
The other cat teams in the league are the Cincinnati Bengals, Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina Panthers. Minus the winless Bengals, all have had a very rough go of things suddenly on the field as well, which is more than interesting
Lions’ Bobby Layne Curse
If the Lions, along with others, are now cursed by a cat in 2019, it would hardly be the first time the franchise has dealt with such a hex. Reportedly, the team has been cursed by former quarterback Bobby Layne upon him being traded from the Lions to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1958.
According to local legend, Layne remarked after the deal that the Lions wouldn’t win for 50 years after trading him, and while even though many claim the story to be a hoax, it’s now been well over 50 years since the Lions have been relevant in the national scope of the NFL. They have only one playoff win in over 60 years, and have struggled to win their division since the early 1990s.
In 2009, Detroit drafted Matthew Stafford, a quarterback who graduated from Highland Park High School in Dallas, Texas, which was the same school as Layne attended. Many felt this, along with the 50 year mark expiring, would mark the end of the team’s dry spell. However, they have still struggled to get over the hump. It’s safe to say the Layne curse has not yet been lifted, even as it may have a new partner.
Should Lions Tank to Finish 2019?
The Lions are in an interesting predicament the rest of 2019, potential cat curse not withstanding. Stafford has a painful back injury he’s fighting that might not be as debilitating long term as it initially sounded. As a result, Stafford could return in a few weeks to give the team some much needed juice, even though he probably shouldn’t. Do the Lions still have a shot at the playoffs? With three teams ahead of them in the NFC North and other contenders with better records, the hopes would seemingly on the surface be slim at this point, meaning many will contend the team should decide to tank for the chances of a better draft selection.
Detroit isn’t likely to outwardly give up on their 2019 season with the sole purpose of the 2020 draft even if it makes sense, but should the team keep losing, a higher pick is merely another advantage of some short term pain. This coming season, the Lions could use more defensive help most of all in addition to some depth at wide receiver, quarterback, running back and along the offensive line.
As it stands today, Detroit has seven picks in the 2020 draft. They added an extra fifth round selection after dealing Quandre Diggs this past trade deadline. Detroit traded a 2020 seventh round pick for Eli Harold entering the 2018 season.
While many things can and will change near the end of the season, perhaps finally there’s an explanation as it relates to why the Lions are losing so much on the field.
Fans can blame it all on the cat.