In the pantheon of tortured NFL fan bases, those who root for the Detroit Lions stand alone. Not only have the Lions not won a playoff game in three decades (or won a Super Bowl ever), but the franchise also seems to lose every star player it has.
Both Hall of Fame RB Barry Sanders and superstar WR Calvin Johnson retired shortly after turning 30, and now quarterback Matthew Stafford is expected to part ways with Detroit this offseason. Sanders addressed the difficulty of losing Stafford, saying that the Lions will have an extremely tough time finding a quarterback who is at Stafford's level.
"It sounds like both parties kind of were at that point," Sanders said on "Good Morning Football." "It will be tough to replace a guy like Matt Stafford, who I feel like in a lot of ways carried the franchise for the last decade. A guy who showed up every day. You felt like you always had a chance with Matt. Maybe because of the new regime coming in and just seeing things different, sometimes things like this just happen."
Since he was drafted by the Lions with the first pick in 2009, Stafford has been the model of consistency for a team that is not known for its quarterbacks. He has thrown for over 45,000 yards and nearly 300 touchdowns despite often not having much offensive talent around him. His one shortcoming? A lack of postseason success, as the Lions have not won a playoff game with Stafford, which may be part of why the two sides have mutually decided to go their separate ways.