Santa Clara, California. – Detroit Lions fans are used to holding onto the idea of next year, but not like this.
No, this is a different and fresh kind of pain. The kind of pain that only comes from achieving too much, but not enough. The Lions were two quarters away from reaching the first Super Bowl in franchise history and let the opportunity slip away, allowing the San Francisco 49ers to erase a 17-point halftime lead at Levi’s Stadium in the NFC Championship Game. before the home team finished the comeback. , 34-31.
In what has been a once-in-a-lifetime season for many, Lions players were confident that their accomplishments this season will become the standard.
“It’s Super Bowl or bust. That was our mentality this year,” linebacker Alex Anzalone said. “While people on the outside didn’t necessarily think or believe that, on the inside, our team knows that’s our standard, and that’s going to be our standard going forward.”
Lions running back David Montgomery, who never played in a playoff game during four seasons with the Bears before signing with Detroit this offseason, reflected on what this season must have been like for fans and added a promise to return to betting how are you doing.
“They deserve it,” Montgomery said. “When it’s a desire to love for so long, since you’ve always had that feeling, when it comes out, you have to be sure to appreciate it, but it’s definitely not the last time you’ll feel it, because we’ll be back.”
Nothing about reaching the NFC Championship, breaking a 30-year division title drought or winning two home playoff games was easy. But still, Lions head coach Dan Campbell was realistic about the road ahead and said reaching the NFC Championship will be twice as difficult next year.
“I told those guys this might have been our only chance. Do I believe that? No. Do I believe that? No. However, I know how hard it is to get here,” Campbell said. “I know very well. Getting back to this point next year will be twice as difficult as last year. That’s the reality. And if we don’t have the same hunger and the same work, that’s something completely different once until we get to the offseason, then we won’t have any chance to come back here.
Something would indicate that the Lions plan to make an effort. When offensive tackle Penei Sewell, general manager Brad Holmes’ first draft pick, was asked how this loss will motivate him, he said, “This s**t, bro. That’s all I have to say.”