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A Stir of Echoes

Sports fan often pine for “the next” big thing. The next Michael Jordan. The next Wayne Gretsky. The next Bob Gibson. We want to stir the echoes in the halls and concourses of our stadiums.

When the Lions drafted Matthew Stafford the talk of Bobby Layne began. We have all heard the story: Stafford and Layne attended the same high school where Stafford won the state title that Layne never did. Stafford, like Layne, is a brash Texan, full of moxie and self-confidence. We’ve all heard of Bobby Layne’s curse upon the Lions. Some of us have even heard tales of his determination on the field, where his teammates remember that “Bobby never lost a game…time just ran out on him”.

Lions fans have long waited for the next Bobby Layne, but should they?

The Detroit Lions are not barren in tradition. They are not without legend and lore. There were men who did tremendous things on the field and in the community. Some have even found themselves bronzed and immortalized in Canton, Ohio. Where is the next Alex Karras? Where is the next Joe Schmidt? Lou Creekmur? Who is going to step into the shoes of Dick Lane or Nick Pietrosante? Who will stir the echoes of Charlie Sanders or Lem Barney?

I wonder sometimes if this generation of young players understands and is humbled before those who wore the Honolulu Blue and Silver in years past. Are they too aware of the struggles of the recent past? Do they remember legends beyond Barry Sanders? Whose job is it to teach them? The organization, or we the fans?
The truth is that we don’t need the next Barry, Billy or Bobby.

We need the first Matthew, Kevin, Calvin and Louis. We need our current roster of players, both young and veteran alike, to understand where they fit in to the long, storied history of the Detroit Lions. We need them to realize that those greats did not start out trying to be “the next” anyone. They tried to do their job the best way that they could, and they became great. We need our fans to look to the past and smile, heart warm with memory, and look to the future and cheer on our Gridiron Heroes.

Who cares where Matthew Stafford went to school, or which Hall of Fame quarterback went there too? What matters is how he performs on that field every Sunday. That won’t make him “the next” Booby Layne, but it will make him “the next” Lion legend.

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One Response to “A Stir of Echoes”

  1. Colleen says:

    Great article! It would be nice for the Lions to come together as a team rather than individual players. The first game was a start to something great (I hope). Hopefully Lions fans will realize that this team has a lot of young talent and as time progresses our new leaders and legends will arise.

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