Amid high expectations, the Lions launch their 2023 campaign tonight in Kansas City. And Local Spins has the musical soundtrack to spur Michigan’s heroes to glory. We think, maybe …
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When The Detroit Lions last won a playoff game – against Dallas at the Pontiac Silverdome on Jan. 5, 1992 – the No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart was Michael Jackson’s “Black or White,” featuring these apropos lyrics for long-suffering Lions’ fans:
“Now I believe in miracles, and a miracle has happened tonight.”
Of course, our communal glee – exhibited by the euphoria of 80,000 fans packing the Silverdome while victoriously waving white pompons (including yours truly) – was short-lived: The fierce Lions turned into pussycats the following Sunday by getting throttled by Washington 41-10 in the NFC Championship Game.
The No. 1 song in the nation was still “Black or White,” though you could color the Lions “Black and Blue” after that pummeling.
But our beloved, previously maligned Lions enter the 2023 NFL season – which kicks off tonight with Detroit facing the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs on the road – amid glowing praise from pundits and unprecedented hype that has Michigan’s faithful pretty darn sure that their first playoff win in more than 30 years is on the horizon. (Well, kinda sure, if you shake off that queasy snatching-defeat-out-of-the-jaws-of-victory feeling in the pit of your stomach.)
Now, lest we get too far ahead of ourselves, however, let me transport you back even further in time to another season filled with promising hype and a theme song that dominated the state’s airwaves – for a few weeks anyway.
With stars such as running back Billy Sims and defensive end Al “Bubba” Baker on board, the Lions started the 1980 season 4-0 serenaded by Detroit safety Jimmy “Spiderman” Allen, who released a clever, reinvented cover of Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust.” The rock ditty had many of us bobbing our heads happily as we dreamed of the Super Bowl and plans for composing a roaring, fresh cover of Queen’s “We Are the Champions.”
Or not. The Lions ended up stumbling to a 9-7 finish behind the first-place Minnesota Vikings, inspiring a Detroit radio DJ to create his own take on Queen’s hit: “Another One Beats Our Butts.”
But c’mon, 2023 feels different, right? At least, that’s what I’m hearing from fans with that desperate, glazed and wild look in their eyes who are snapping up new Lions gear like it’s Black Friday at Walmart or surfing the Internet into the wee hours for game tickets. (Fine, yes, I did buy a new Lions cap.)
Look, I’m not deluding myself into thinking a Lion on the current roster might spark another theme-song-gone-viral trend with a slick reworking of Taylor Swift’s “Sparks Fly” — or closer to home, Detroit rapper Big Sean’s “The Baddest” or “Overtime” – that helps carry our heroes to a 4-0 start and eventual playoff glory.
I’m just saying it’s time for a fresh infusion of over-confidence, swagger, bombast, bravado and somewhat-dubitable bluster, three decades after our last playoff win, four-plus decades after ‘Biting the Dust’ and, egad, 66 years after our last football championship.
So, I’ve compiled a Lions-centric playlist reflecting each team/city that Detroit will battle this season, starting with Alexis Korner’s “Kansas City Blues,” which predicts that the Chiefs will rise Friday from their haunted slumber to mournfully sing: “Woke up this morning feeling bad.”
Enjoy the musical ride, and GO LIONS! And maybe, just maybe, we can rewrite “We Are the Champions” after all …
THE SEASON SOUNDTRACK
1. Sept. 7 – Kansas City: “Kansas City Blues,” Alexis Korner
2. Sept. 17 – Seattle: “The Day Seattle Died,” Cold
3. Sept. 24 – Atlanta: “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia,” Vicki Lawrence
4. Sept. 28 & Nov. 23 – Green Bay: “Cut the Cheese,” Overman
5. Oct. 8 – Carolina: “Carolina Drama,” The Raconteurs
6. Oct. 15 – Tampa Bay: “Tampa Bay Bustdown,” Yung Gravy
7. Oct. 22 – Baltimore: “Run, Raven, Run,” Weezer
8. Oct. 30 – Oakland: “Holiday in Oakland,” Lisa B
9. Nov. 12 – San Diego: “San Diego Stomp,” Bob James
10. Nov. 19 & Dec. 19 – Chicago: “The Night Chicago Died,” Paper Lace (or “Eating the Bear,” Joan Armatrading)
11. Dec. 3 – New Orleans: “King of New Orleans,” Better Than Ezra (or “The Battle of New Orleans,” Johnny Horton)
12. Dec. 17 – Denver: “Get Out of Denver,” Bob Seger
13. Dec. 24 & Jan. 7 – Minnesota: “Viking Death March,” Billy Talent
14. Dec. 30 – Dallas: “Broken Cowboy,” The Dead South (or “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson)
VIDEO: “Another One Bites the Dust,” Jim “Spiderman” Allen
DETROIT LIONS 2023: The Local Spins Playlist
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