**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 from around the state (this was quite hard for the Lions articles)**
I started watching the NFL and following the Lions during the 1991 season. I was a wee lad in elementary school at the time and pretty much became obsessed with anything Detroit Lions related.
I guess I picked a good year to start following them because they had a great season. They won their last 6 games to finish with a record of 12-4, winning the NFC Central Division, and earning a first round bye in the playoffs.
Unfortunately the ’91 season was also the year of the tragic injury to Mike Utley. In week 12 against the Rams, Utley severely injured two of his cervical vertebrae leaving him paralyzed from the chest down. I’ll never forget him giving the crowd thumbs up as he was carted off the field.
The team rallied around their fallen friend, went on the winning streak and took tons of momentum into their playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys. I was so excited all week, I couldn’t wait for this game.
And what an awesome game it was. Well it wasn’t competitive, the Lions pretty much dominated the whole game, but it was a blast to watch.
The Cowboys plan of focusing on and containing Barry Sanders didn’t work out to0 well. Erik Kramer took advantage and went on to throw for 341 yards and two touchdowns, two to Willie Green [editor’s note: THE TOUCHDOWN MACHINE!!!] and one to Herman Moore. Barry eventually busted through for 47 yard touchdown run that made everybody at the Silverdome go crazy.
The Lions won 38-6 and it was on to the NFC Championship game. From my favorite Lions memory to my least favorite. I’ll admit I wept like a baby when Mark Rypien and the Redskins destroyed the Lions 41-10. I told you, I was young.
I got over it, realizing it was a great time to be a Lions fan. With Barry, Herman Moore, and my favorite coach of all time, Wayne Fontes, this team was going to be real good for a few years, right?
Yeah, being a Lion fan is an interesting thing. I was a kid at the time and didn’t realize how messed up the franchise was. As I grew up I continued to watch, watch them suck. There was a point where I think I actually hated them and tried really hard not to watch. But hey, I’m a fan, I’ll always watch. And with Stafford and Calvin Johnson, it looks like the Lions could be competitive for years to come. Uh-oh, here we go.