I've been covering this sport for 16 years, and in that span I've almost never had the opportunity to write this sentence, so I'm going to savor it: The Detroit Lions are doing everything right.
Sure, the Lions still haven't won a playoff game in more than 30 years. And sure, they're still coming off an eighth consecutive season with a single-digit win total and a sixth consecutive non-playoff campaign.
But just 15 months ago, the Lions were coming off a three-win season in which they were the league's fifth-worst team in terms of DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) at Football Outsiders. They hadn't won more than six games in a single season since 2017.
In January 2021, the Lions essentially decided to start from scratch with a new promising general manager (Brad Holmes from the 2018 NFC champion Los Angeles Rams), a new inspiring head coach (Dan Campbell from the perennially competitive New Orleans Saints), and a new quarterback (Jared Goff, also from the Rams).
In the process of moving on from longtime good-not-great franchise signal-caller Matthew Stafford, they collected two extra first-round picks as well as a third-rounder. And while seeing Stafford raise the Vince Lombardi one year later in L.A. couldn't have been easy, that team was on the brink and this team was not.