1991 Lions and favorite overachievers

1991 Lions and favorite overachievers

Postby sheajets » Wed Jul 06, 2022 1:33 pm

Are they the best team Detroit has had in the past 30 years? This certainly is the closest they've come to making a Super Bowl in that same time period. Not that they really even had a chance vs the Redskins...but they got to the precipice of it somehow.

They really weren't a traditional 12-4 team in any way. Not close. In a fortunate year they could've gone 9-7...maybe 10-6 if they're especially lucky. But 12-4 is pretty darn hard to luck into with an overall roster this unimpressive. I've seen similar teams go 7-9 or 8-8. Maybe even a bit worse in the 6-10 or 5-11 realm if they don't get good injury luck and play a tough sched.

Average offense with one all time great who they relied heavily on. A fairly pedestrian defense in every way. They were top 10 in takeaways which helps, and had very good special teams with kick/punt returns as Mel Gray gave them the best starting field position in the league. Nice little advantage to have. Perriman-Robert Clark-Willie Green were average. Rookie Herman Moore was still not there yet in terms of becoming a force. Not much of a pass rush at all. They had a decent corner in Ray Crockett, Jerry Ball had a great year at nose tackle. Spielman was an excellent player, Bennie Blades a good safety. They D as a whole seemed to be very bend but not break with nobody really scaring you. Kramer and Peter were middling. They weren't asked to win games with their arm...they didn't hurt the team and gag up games either. It helped that they were able to spread the ball around a bit as 5 different guys had 39 or more catches

It's amazing how much went right for them that season. They stayed healthy, they got to play a horrible Packers team twice that was still finding its way (Ron Wolf was hired in November of 1991) they got the 1-15 Colts, the totally bottoming out Rams at the end of the Robinson era, the mired in misery Bucs (who they split with) A Bills team late in the season that had nothing to play for (Detroit won in OT)

Still they beat a fast rising Cowboys team TWICE that year, and a Dolphins team that was 12-4 the year before. Fwiw those two Cowboy wins...Detroit won the turnover battle a combined 8-0. Washington and San Fran absolutely annihilated them though

Loved Wayne Fontes too. He always looked so flustered, beleaguered on the sideline, yet I got the feeling that the team really loved the guy and went all out for him. Especially future years when his back was against the wall

What are some of your favorite overachievers?
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Re: 1991 Lions and favorite overachievers

Postby Bryan » Wed Jul 06, 2022 1:45 pm

Of that same era, I liked the 1989 Packers. They had been bad for so long and they finally started to win. Sharpe was pretty good as a rookie in 1988, but he really broke out in 1989. Don Majikowski and Tim Harris came out of nowhere and had monster seasons. They played so many exciting games and beat the Niners. I can remember thinking that with Lindy Infante as the head coach, the Packers would just continue to win and get better. How wrong I was.

Also liked the 1989 Steelers because of their crazy postseason run of beating Glanville's Oilers and almost knocking off Denver. Again, the Steelers had been bad for the last several years and you thought that they had turned the corner. But what is the quickest way to stop an up-and-coming team? Hire Joe Walton.
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Re: 1991 Lions and favorite overachievers

Postby Halas Hall » Wed Jul 06, 2022 1:47 pm

The 1967 Israelis - very underrated.
Maybe the 1979 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Ron Wolf again). 0-14 in '76, 2-12 in '77. LeRoy Selmon in the Hall of Fame, Doug Williams, but John McKay got them to the NFC Championship.
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Re: 1991 Lions and favorite overachievers

Postby Brian wolf » Wed Jul 06, 2022 2:25 pm

2011 NY Giants ... Had they not beaten the Cowboys in a critical wk 13 shootout, it would have been over for them but they got hot at just the right time and beat a 15-1 Packer team in Lambeau that fleeced a lot of bettors ... Thank goddess I didnt bet on that game.
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Re: 1991 Lions and favorite overachievers

Postby sheajets » Wed Jul 06, 2022 3:26 pm

Bryan wrote:Of that same era, I liked the 1989 Packers. They had been bad for so long and they finally started to win. Sharpe was pretty good as a rookie in 1988, but he really broke out in 1989. Don Majikowski and Tim Harris came out of nowhere and had monster seasons. They played so many exciting games and beat the Niners. I can remember thinking that with Lindy Infante as the head coach, the Packers would just continue to win and get better. How wrong I was.

Also liked the 1989 Steelers because of their crazy postseason run of beating Glanville's Oilers and almost knocking off Denver. Again, the Steelers had been bad for the last several years and you thought that they had turned the corner. But what is the quickest way to stop an up-and-coming team? Hire Joe Walton.



Yea that was a fun out of nowhere team that breathed life back into Green Bay football. I just remember how ecstatic and optimistic Packers fans were after 6 years of horrid football. They truly had no expectations and enjoyed the ride after three 8-8 tease seasons were followed by 3 miserable years. The only time they made the playoffs between 1973 and 1993 was the 1982 strike shortened campaign (won the division at 5-3-1...and even won a playoff game) I do wish they could've gotten into the playoffs in 1989...10-6 and out is a tough pill to swallow

Noll pulled off a miracle in 1989. That team started 0-2 and it seemed like they lost both those games by a combined score of 387-6. The Steeler fans I knew had already accepted that this was going to be a bottom falls out 2-14 type disaster. Amazing how they made it despite being shut out in 3 games and one other game they only scored one TD in. Four of their 7 regular season losses they could barely get on the board. They had the fewest yards of total offense of any NFL team. Fewest yards passing...fewest TD passes (also 3rd fewest INTS) took the 5th most sacks.
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Re: 1991 Lions and favorite overachievers

Postby Todd Pence » Wed Jul 06, 2022 3:45 pm

1994 Chargers.
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Re: 1991 Lions and favorite overachievers

Postby Brian wolf » Wed Jul 06, 2022 5:51 pm

1985 Patriots ... Got to the SB with special teams play in the postseason.

2008 Cardinals ... Their postseason run put Kurt Warner into the HOF ...
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Re: 1991 Lions and favorite overachievers

Postby racepug » Wed Jul 06, 2022 11:53 pm

1983 Seahawks making it to the conference title game in their first-ever playoff trip, beating the (hated) Denver Broncos in the Wild Card game (badly) then upsetting the defending A.F.C. champion Dolphins on the road in the conference semifinals (I refuse to use the term "Divisional Round" as it no longer has any real meaning). True, they played poorly and lost in the A.F.C. Championship Game to a team that they'd swept during the regular season but that Raiders team wasn't going to be denied a trip to the S.B. two years in a row. All in all a pretty good achievement for a team that barely got into the playoffs at all.
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Re: 1991 Lions and favorite overachievers

Postby Citizen » Thu Jul 07, 2022 8:30 am

Three times between 1972 and 1989, the Packers pulled off the unlikely trick of having a winning season in between multiple losing seasons. The '72 squad was the only one that I would call legitimately good; the '78 team got fat on bad teams then wilted when the going got tough.

The 1989 team truly were overachievers, but even with that were probably no better than .500 caliber. A handful of phenomenal breaks got them to 10 wins.
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Re: 1991 Lions and favorite overachievers

Postby sheajets » Thu Jul 07, 2022 9:31 am

racepug wrote:1983 Seahawks making it to the conference title game in their first-ever playoff trip, beating the (hated) Denver Broncos in the Wild Card game (badly) then upsetting the defending A.F.C. champion Dolphins on the road in the conference semifinals (I refuse to use the term "Divisional Round" as it no longer has any real meaning). True, they played poorly and lost in the A.F.C. Championship Game to a team that they'd swept during the regular season but that Raiders team wasn't going to be denied a trip to the S.B. two years in a row. All in all a pretty good achievement for a team that barely got into the playoffs at all.


Impressed by how quickly and confidently Seattle came right down the field after Woody Bennett scored to make it 20-17. Kinda figured Miami would put it away at home with their defense, but in the blink of an eye...Krieg to Largent, Krieg to Largent, Warner touchdown. Then the Dolphins immediately cough up the kickoff and the Seahawks add a field goal. Then Miami coughs it up AGAIN on the return. Incredible how everything swung Seattle's way at the end there (or you can say, they willed it to swing their way)

Seattle's D was scary bad for a large chunk of that season. Weeks 11-14 especially they had surrendered 154 points. But the last two weeks of the season they seemed to have gotten it together and were able to carry it into the playoffs a bit. They bent but didn't break against the Giants and forced a bunch of turnovers and played well vs New England to make it to 9-7
Last edited by sheajets on Thu Jul 07, 2022 9:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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