It may have been the best four weeks in modern Detroit Lions history.
The year was 1980 and the Lions were coming off of a 2-14 season. Heisman Trophy winner Billy Sims made his debut in the season opener and ran for over 140 yards and three touchdowns. The team got off to a 4-0 start and became the buzz of the NFL.
Jimmy “Spiderman” Allen took it upon himself to write a song about the new and improved Lions brand. “Last year’s team was 2-14,” he crooned, “but this is the year for New Orleans” — referring to the city chosen for that year’s Super Bowl.
As a nine-year-old kid, I was loving every minute of it. My brother and I couldn’t wait to watch Billy Sims and the Lions each week. We even had a bootlegged copy of Allen’s song on cassette tape that we must have listened to ten thousand times.
We all know how the story ends because all modern day Lions stories end the same way: in bitter disappointment. The 1980 Lions would end the season 9-7 and not even make the playoffs. Oh well, for four magical weeks, they were Super Bowl champions — if only in a song.
Here is an audio clip of Allen’s now-infamous song: