The Fea household will have a new member in May. My future son-in-law is a diehard Detroit Lions fan and we have watched him agonize over every game for the past two years. Emmett was not alive in 1992, the last time the Lions were in the NFC championship, but I don’t think he wants a repeat of that awful day in Detroit Lions history when the Lions meet the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.
Here is Scott Allen at The Washington Post:
The Detroit Lions won four NFL championships before the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, including three between 1952 and 1957, but they have endured decades of futility since and remain one of four teams to never appear in the Super Bowl. They can change that with a win Sunday at San Francisco in the franchise’s second appearance in the NFC championship game.
The first instance came in January 1992, after Detroit won a franchise record 12 games en route to the Central Division title and routed Dallas in the divisional round to clinch a date with Washington with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. Here’s a look back at the Lions’ 41-10 loss in that contest, which ended an inspired run in an emotional season and marked the start of the team’s 32-year championship game drought.
The Lions arrived in D.C. on a seven-game winning streak, which began with a Week 12 victory marred by tragedy. On the first play of the fourth quarter of Detroit’s 21-10 defeat of the Los Angeles Rams, Lions right guard Mike Utley suffered a spinal cord injury that left him largely paralyzed from the chest down.
Utley flashed the thumbs-up sign as he was carried off the field, and the gesture became a rallying cry for the team, which dedicated the remainder of its season to the 25-year-old. After Detroit’s surprising 38-6 playoff rout of Dallas at the Pontiac Silverdome, team owner William Clay Ford delivered a game ball to Utley, who had watched the win on television from the Englewood, Colo., hospital where he was rehabbing.
The Lions were 13½-point underdogs against Washington, which was seeking its fourth Super Bowl appearance in nine seasons. Joe Gibbs’s squad had gone 14-2 and outscored its opponents by 261 points during the regular season.
Including its 24-7 thrashing of the Atlanta Falcons in the divisional round, Washington was 8-1 at RFK Stadium, where it was 4-0 all-time in NFC championship games and had opened the 1991 season with a 45-0 win over the Lions on “Sunday Night Football.” Detroit’s star running back, Barry Sanders, was inactive for that game with sore ribs, which offered the Lions and their fans some hope that the rematch would be more competitive.
“How poetic it would be for America’s Underdogs to bring this season of destiny full circle with an upset victory against a team no one gives them a ghost of a chance of defeating,” the Detroit Free Press’s Bryan Burwell wrote in the week leading up to the game.
Read the rest here.