The Detroit Lions watched as one of their contemporaries in the longest NFL drought club finally broke through and won the Super Bowl for the first time in 50 years.
Seeing the celebration and the excitement on the faces of all Kansas City Chiefs‘ players, fans and coaches had to be motivating for the Lions. Not long ago, the Chiefs were in the same position as Detroit, and not sure if they would ever make the Super Bowl again much less win one. Now, they’re waking up as champions.
What can the Lions learn from watching this Chiefs run in 2019-20? Here’s some of the top lessons that the team can take away and apply in order to perhaps end their own elongated drought soon.
Commit To Your Quarterback
The Chiefs found a guy they believed in with Patrick Mahomes, drafted him, developed him and have supported him through his rise to becoming one of the best players in the league at his position. The Lions have Matthew Stafford in the mix, and he’s been someone they’ve been committed to for years who has played solid football. Questions are arising if that commitment is wavering this offseason, so the Lions have to make their choice and stick with it. Either it’s Stafford, who had a solid 2019 season before injury, or it’s someone else. Nothing suggests that the team would give up on Stafford
Invest In Defense
The Lions have done this already with Trey Flowers, Justin Coleman and a few others, but it’s clear the defensive side of the ball needs some more major help this offseason. Kansas City knew they had to pressure the pocket on defense in order to have a chance to win at the biggest level, so they traded for Frank Clark. Additionally, they knew they needed help on the back end, so they added Tyrann Mathieu to the secondary. They also overhauled their defensive mindset with a new coordinator. All these changes paid off, and the Chiefs were able to get things done with defense year after it cost them. This is what the Lions have to focus on in the 2020 offseason considering the shortcomings they have had on that side of the ball the last few seasons.
Develop Multiple Capable Offensive Weapons
Not only do the Chiefs have Mahomes, they have Travis Kelce, Damien Williams, Sammy Watkins and Tyreek Hill. There has been a commitment to find plenty of help for the offensive side that can make a game breaking play whenever it is needed. Without these weapons, the Chiefs don’t come back in the second half and win the game. Even on the San Francisco side, names like Deebo Samuel and Raheem Mostert have been found and developed. Detroit is off to a good start with names like Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, Kerryon Johnson and T.J. Hockenson, but they need a little extra to get them over the top. Unearthing some gems and putting them in position to succeed on offense has to be a huge goal for the team this offseason.
Let Losing Motivate
The Lions bottomed out in 2019, and have only managed to go 9-26 in Matt Patricia’s tenure. The Chiefs weren’t always elite either, and even last season, struggled after losing the AFC Championship. Instead of feeling sorry for themselves, Kansas City went to work and looked determined coming into this season. That’s the mindset the Lions have to take in order to turn things around in a big way. It’s time for talk and pettiness to be over, and the team to come together for a common good of winning. Learning lessons from the losing and finding a way to win close games will go a long way next season for the team.
Don’t Give up Hope
As the Lions can attest, the Chiefs were never out of a game this year, whether it be on the road or at home, in the regular season or in the playoffs. They erased a 24 point deficit in the divisional round, so why would a 10 point deficit late in a Super Bowl be any more difficult? The team simply believes in itself and believes they are never out of a game. The Lions have had the ability to come back before, but need to get back to this mindset. Often times, all it takes is one game at the start of a year to forge the mindset. Perhaps the Chiefs became galvanized by their early season comeback against Detroit.