GREEN BAY - It could easily be considered a franchise-building win. For 24 straight years, the Detroit Lions traveled to Wisconsin to play a football game they lost.
The cycle hadn’t changed since 1991. That’s a long time without winning in a division rival’s home state. It would seem only natural for the Lions' 18-16 win against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field last November to carry some significance.
If it does, coach Jim Caldwell isn’t willing to share it.
“You’re talking about last year’s game?” Caldwell asked rhetorically on a Wednesday morning conference call. “That’s so long ago, and just in terms of where we are now, it’s not something that’s on our radar screen. We really are focusing in on this game, and we’ve got a tough battle ahead of us. It’s a heck of a team that plays extremely well with a lot of talent.
“The reminiscing and all that kind of stuff was gone the week after that.”
The Packers will host the Lions on Sunday afternoon, and it's the first time since the season before Brett Favre came to Green Bay the Lions won’t be asked why they can’t win in Wisconsin.
Sure, quarterback Matthew Stafford said, it’s nice to not have to answer those questions this week. As for significance, Stafford echoed his head coach.
“Basically just that,” Stafford said. “It was another win on our schedule, and that’s what we’re looking to do, is every time we go out there on Sundays, go out there and win. It shouldn’t matter where we play, or who we play against. That’s our goal every time, and obviously Green Bay has a really talented team — really well coached, a great quarterback, a tough place to play, no question. But it’s NFL football and anything can happen.”
The Lions found out “anything can happen” in the NFL three weeks after winning inside Lambeau Field.
If there’s a reason the nostalgia didn’t last long, maybe it’s because of what happened when the Packers visited Ford Field last season. With no time left in regulation, it looked like the Lions would win both games in 2015. Instead, quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed a miraculous Hail Mary to tight end Richard Rodgers.
“Obviously, it was a heck of a play,” Stafford said. “He made a great play. The other Rodgers made a great play. Tough way to lose a game, but don’t really think about it too much, honestly.”