‘Brand-new Lions’: P-CEP students and staff react to Detroit Lions’ most successful season ever

The Lions take the field against the Los Angeles Rams in the first round of the NFL playoffs. Jan. 14, 2023.
The Lions take the field against the Los Angeles Rams in the first round of the NFL playoffs. Jan. 14, 2023.
Lauren Francheschi

As the sun set in northern California on Jan. 28, so did the Detroit Lions’ season. With a 12-5 regular season record, two playoff wins and a near-Super Bowl appearance, in my eyes, the Lions had their best season in the Super Bowl era (1967-present). Lions fans have been in a frenzy over the past few weeks, and rightfully so. Head coach Dan Campbell and the Lions have seemingly turned a corner, leaving the so-called ‘same old lions’ in the past. P-CEP and its thousands of passionate fans were overjoyed with the 2023-24 season and can’t wait until next season. 

One Salem High School teacher, Tyniesha Moss, has been a diehard Lions fan for the better part of her whole life. Despite the Lion’s historic lack of success, Moss has stood by the team through everything.

“I’m sure that most people would say that it’s been a disappointing experience watching the Lions over the decades, but I don’t feel that way,” said Moss. “When I first started to become a Lions fan more than twenty years ago, it wasn’t because of what I thought they could become one day. It’s always been about who they are and what they represent.”

A nine-year season ticket holder, Moss believes that we’re in the era of a brand-new Lions with a new, gritty culture that Campbell has created in Detroit. After Campbell started with a 3-13 record with Detroit in his first season, he quickly turned it around leading to a 9-8 record in 2022-23 and a 12-5 record this season leading to their first NFC Championship game since 1991. 

The American flag spreads across Ford FIeld during the national anthem. Jan. 14, 2023.

“Dan Campbell has created such a wonderfully supportive environment for the current players, he has completely changed the culture. The brand new Lions have been building since he was hired as head coach in 2021,” said Moss. “I think a lot of people would say that this is the year of the ‘brand-new Lions,’ and I can’t disagree.”

Sunday night’s heartbreaking loss to the 49ers included controversial decisions from Campbell including deciding to go for a first down on two fourth downs instead of kicking field goals, both ultimately ended in turnover-on-downs. Plymouth senior Nolan Garbacz isn’t critical of Campbell like many fans, but he believes there will be better times ahead with Campbell steering the ship. 

“You can’t switch up on Dan Campbell now,” said Garbacz. “You can’t love him when his philosophy works and hate him when it doesn’t.”

The 2022-23 season was a very important one for the Lions. After finishing the year with an 8-2 record, they just missed the playoff. That’s when Canton social studies teacher Jeffrey Richards believes the team turned everything around.

“The last game [of the season] was at night, on the road, in Green Bay.  The Lions knew they would not make the playoffs but still played well and beat the Packers, knocking them out of the playoffs,” said Richards. “Beyond the talent of the players and the direction of the front office of the team, that game showed something about the players.”

Dan Campbell has drastically shifted the culture in Detroit for the better. No longer are the Lions the laughingstock of the NFL. Instead, incredible drafts by General Manager Brad Holmes have created an immensely strong Lions team for the future. Canton social studies teacher Gordan Copee is also someone who has lots of hope for the coming seasons.

“I think there have been signs since Dan Campbell took over that we could be hopeful,” said Copee. “The last few seasons have been a ton of fun to watch, and it’s crazy to be able to see the greatest Lions team to exist in my lifetime.”

There is much to look forward to with the Lions with a young, emerging core of players on the rise and an important NFL Draft to be held in Detroit in April.  If One Pride plays with the same tenacity in the coming years as we saw this season, the team will be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in no time. 

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About the Contributor
Lucas Gentilia, Business Manager / Sports Editor
Lucas Gentilia is a senior at Salem High School that loves being surrounded by friends and other energetic people. He is involved in all types of activities, including The National Honor Society, Student Council 2024, Link Crew, the Salem Rocks Baseball Team and The Perspective newspaper staff. His life isn’t always centered around school however; he is in love with music, and always has an Airpod in his ear. He enjoys artists like Mac Miller, Mac Demarco and Kendrick Lamar. In addition, he loves weightlifting, golf and watching sports in person whenever he can.

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