All appears to be lost in Detroit, Mich. after the city filed for bankruptcy, the largest of its kind in the history of the United States. However, when the chips are down the people turn to football in order to escape their problems for just a few hours a week. That is why the Detroit Lions feel the need to bring hope to the Motor City. The players feel they can become the shining light the fans in Detroit desperately need.
“A lot of people might say, ‘Man, it’s tough playing in Detroit, man. You guys went bankrupt. Your city sucks. There’s burned-down buildings, schools that are not even open,'” wide receiver Nate Burleson said, according to USA TODAY Sports.
“But it’s a great gift to bear that weight of the city, especially if you can deliver on a product that people want to see.”
There is no question the people want to see the Lions play. Even though the finances of the average person are up in the air, fans continue to travel to training camp and sell out Ford Field in hope of a Lions victory.
The team has personal expectations to return to the postseason and make some noise in 2013. However, with an entire city backing them up in hopes of bringing a little joy to their lives, it is so much more than personal expectations. The Lions feel they have to win at whatever cost. To have that kind of pressure can make a team very dangerous.
Look no further than the New Orleans Saints after Hurricane Katrina hit. Obviously, a natural disaster and a city’s financial crisis due to the automotive industry collapsing are incomparable. With that being said, the two football teams are in similar situations. The Saints felt the need to win to boost the morale of the city. Even though they lost in the NFC Championship game against the Chicago Bears, they still brought plenty of happiness, which was finally made complete when the Saints won the Super Bowl a few years later.
The Lions also feel the need to win immediately to help lead the city out of the darkness they currently find themselves in.