For the past 50 years, Detroit Lions' fans have been waiting for a franchise Quarterback to come around and lead the Lions back to the Promised Land. And while a single half of preseason football might not make it a guarantee, the Lions just might have found that guy in QB Joey Harrington.
Bobby Layne. The last Quarterback to lead the Lions to the ultimate, which at the time was the NFL Championship (ed. Note: Beginning to understand why Lions fans' are so impatient?) He was once called by Sports Illustrated the Toughest Quarterback of All Time. He fit the city, his hard-nosed style was what this blue-collar town could relate to. But ever since Layne, the Lions have experienced Quarterbacks like Scott Mitchell, in every way the exact opposite of Layne.
This past April the Lions had a big decision to make. With their pick, the third overall selection, the Lions could make one of two choices. The Lions war room was in a heated debate, some (including Millen) wanting the top Cornerback in the draft, Quentin Jammer, others wanting the potential franchise Quarterback in Harrington. While the specifics of the debate will never be known, we all know who won as the Lions drafted Harrington.
The move received quite a bit of criticism, the thinking being with the Lions having so many holes to fill and with 2nd year Quarterback Mike McMahon already on board, the need just wasn't there. But if Harrington develops to be as good as he's shown thus far, all the critics (including myself) will be forced to eat their words.
Harrington, in his first performance, looked average, he looked like a rookie. He showed some flashes, but he showed his inexperience. A poorly thrown ball led to an interception that resulted in the game winning Touchdown for the Ravens. But in his second game, something different was there. The jitters and excitement had worn off, and all of a sudden Harrington was on his game. And while McMahon continued to look inconsistent with the first team (a great throw on one play, a throw that would make high schoolers look polished the next), Harrington prospered.
Harrington, in his limited experience, has shown something very few Lions QB's have ever shown. It's something that's not really describable in only a few words. It is a trait that many great Quarterbacks have, and one that seems to be prevalent in Harrington as well. Sure, he has a strong arm, good accuracy and excellent vision, but there is something different about Harrington. Something that says he's going to be different than the rest.
Something that says he's going to help Lions fans' forget those 50 years since Bobby Layne
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