**Football Memory Lane is a segment that will be running in August with various contributors providing their favorite moments in Detroit Lions, Michigan State and Michigan football. With the start of training camp and college practices we’ll take a look back at some great moments (this was quite hard for the Lions articles)**
Before the St. Louis Rams made their mark on the NFL with the 1999 Greatest Show On Turf there was the Lions’ Run and Shoot offense headed up by Wayne Fontes and executed magnificently (in 1995 at least) by Scott Mitchell, Barry Sanders, Herman Moore, Brett Perriman, Johnny Morton and David Sloan.
This team was as fun to watch as any, when playing well, Scott Mitchell was able to lead the offense capably and the entire team could out score seemingly anyone.
This was apparent on Thanksgiving day that year with the Vikings in town for a shoot out. The Vikings had Warren Moon at the helm and Jake Reed and Chris Carter but poor Amp Lee was no Barry Sanders. In their own right, they were an offensive machine, but not like the one the Lions were able to put together.
Scott Mitchell threw for 410 yards (which was A TON in 1995) and 4tds while Barry still ran for 138 yards! David Sloan even had a couple of catches (that’s twice I’ve shoe-horned him in to this column).
On that particular Thanksgiving, all seemed right, Barry was running, Moore, Perriman and Morton were showing what a threat they could be on the field at the same time, the defense was apparently out there too (they had tackles recorded in the box score so I assume some one was out there) and it was exciting to watch and know things were changing.
The Lions won 44-38, this was the sign that the team and fans needed to see that the Lions were for real and that they finally found their Quarterback and offense and things were going to change.
Never mind that in true Lions fashion, Mitchell would throw for 32 TDs in 1995 then only 17 the following year and was worthless after that. The team would once again fall apart and leave the fans broken hearted.
Still a reasonably young lad at the time, I did not fully understand what the Lions franchise really was. This was a team that would make the playoffs, giving up 58 points to the Eagles (maybe that was the greatest show on turf) and again, losing in the first round.
Then turning around in 1996, missing the playoffs thus ending the Wayne Fontes experiment, and making a decision to say that BOBBY ROSS WAS COMING TO SAVE THE DAY!!
This was a great day and game for many Lions fans including myself, but only in that moment. Once I started to get a little older and see this team crap all over the field time and again, I, like all Lions fans, have become jaded and cynical year in and year out about this morbid franchise.
*note: while writing this article, I slammed my head on my desk 3 times in frustration. Being a Lions fan is awful*