The Detroit Lions are in the playoffs for the first time this decade — a bit of a misnomer since it's only 2012, but it has actually been quite some time — the first appearance since 2000. Dave Birkett, of Detroit Free Press fame, had an article for USA Today recently, with a comparison of the 2008 and 2011 Lions teams. If your memory needed a little refreshing (doubtful), that 2008 squad was the one that went 0-16, as the rest of the NFL couldn't look away, victims of morbid curiosity.â†µ
So why exactly did a team with 16 opportunities to score more points than the other team end up failing every single time they tried? Well, the fact that the 2011 Lions have just 11 players remaining from the 2008 squad is probably a pretty big condemnation of said 2008 squad. That's 11 players out of the entire roster at that point. But take it one step further, and really look at the starters for both of those teams, and you'll find that 11 of the starters from 2008 aren't even in the NFL anymore.
That's a whole half of the starting unit for offense/defense put together. A number of the players are in the NFL, just not on the Lions, but that's still a pretty big change, wouldn't you say?â†µ