Allegan County News & Union Enterprise Clare County Review & Marion Press Columns Courier-Leader & Paw Paw Flashes LaFayette Sun Three Rivers Commercial-News, Penny Saver, & Sturgis Sentinel

Mike’s Musings: If you are a Michigan football fan, plenty to cheer for

Despite a crushing loss to the 49ers, all Michiganders can me mighty proud of how their professional and collegiate football teams (Michigan State not withstanding) performed this year.
Just a few weeks ago the Michigan Wolverines were crowned National Champions. They endured so much drama during their season- sign stealing accusations, and Coach Harbaugh suspended for four games, to win the Big 10 title, then squeeze past Alabama, and then handily defeat Washington in the championship game to post an undefeated season and their first national championship since 1997.
They won because they had a balanced attack on offense, and a stifling defense that was rated number one in the nation by many services. Quarterback JJ McCarthy wasn’t great but didn’t make mistakes in the big games. Running back Blake Corum could always be counted on to score when the Wolverines were close to the goal line. When they needed a stop defensively you could count on the Wolverines to make it happen.
Next year may be different. Coach Harbaugh is going back to the NFL, where he had success with the 49ers and doesn’t have to spend a lot of time recruiting high school players or put up with the NCAA’s petty rules. And Washington, USC and UCLA are joining the Big 10 which will make Michigan’s schedule much harder than it was this year. Another undefeated season realistically is not likely to happen.
U of M won a championship in 1997. The Detroit Lions haven’t won since 1957, and have never been to the Super Bowl. Unfortunately those hopes were again dashed this year, although this team went further than any Lions team in the modern era.
Quite frankly, I’ve never seen a town (strike that, area and state} get behind a professional team like the fans of the Detroit Lions have. We have suffered through decades of less than mediocrity football. I was a season ticketholder at one point, but just couldn’t take loss after loss and finally gave the tickets up.
But a new coach rode into town, and he told us changes were going to be made. Kneecaps were going to be broken and toughness was the new mantra. In three short seasons he brought us to the brink of the Super Bowl.
Many might criticize Dan Campbell for “going for it” twice on fourth down when a field goal could have scored 3 points. But Campbell has been a gambler with the Lions since Day 1, and if Raymond would have caught the pass right in his hands and Goff would have made an accurate throw on the second 4th down, the Lions would have won the game. The right plays were called. We just failed to complete the mission.
The Achilles heal for the Lions was their defense, particularly their secondary, or should I say their cornerbacks. One in particular, Cam Sutton, doesn’t belong in the NFL as a starter. He was beaten countless times in the last two games, and on top of that missed several tackles when the 49ers would run to his side.
In the second half of the championship game the defense was unable to stop the 49ers. SF never punted. They scored on every drive. It was maddening as a Detroit fan to see them fumble away the game in the third quarter, and not be able to score in the fourth until the very end.
All said, however, it was a great season for the Lions. Just seeing Ford Field at capacity with cheering fans trying to will their team to victory in San Francisco was awesome.
Congrats to both the Wolverines and the Lions for providing us with an exciting football season.

Leave a Reply