So close.

After decades of being the laughingstock of the National Football League, the Detroit Lions finally made it to the NFC Championship Game - and if playoff games were only half an hour long, they'd be in the Super Bowl this year.

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The halftime score of 24-7 in the Lions' favor didn't hold up in the second half, as Brock Purdy's 49ers stepped on the gas and won the game 34-31, sending San Francisco to the Super Bowl to face the Kansas City Chiefs.

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Sad for Lions fans, yes. But here's why we should be inspired by Brock Purdy.

Why Detroit Lions Fans Should Be Inspired by Brock Purdy

At the beginning of the 2022 season, hardly anyone knew Brock Purdy's name. He was the last player selected in that year's draft, and made the 49ers roster as the team's third-string quarterback.

NFC Championship - Detroit Lions v San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy. Photo via Getty Images North America
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After injuries knocked out starter Trey Lance and then backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco was forced to turn to Purdy to lead the 49ers. Other teams didn't expect much from a third-stringer - but he surprised everyone. He started winning. And winning. And winning.

Against all odds and defying expectations, Purdy's 49ers made it to last year's NFC Championship Game (ultimately losing to the Philadelphia Eagles after Purdy himself was injured).

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"Defying expectations" sounds like our beloved Lions. For years, other teams across the NFL have overlooked Detroit. While the team was widely expected to perform better this season than it had in a long time, no one predicted they would have made it as far as this year's NFC Championship Game.

Under Coach Dan Campbell, the Lions have improved significantly every year. With the current trajectory, it's not a stretch to imagine Detroit taking the next step next season - much like Purdy has done from last year to this.

Detroit Lions Training Camp
Detroit Lions Coach Dan Campbell. Photo via Getty Images North America
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Where do the Lions go from here? The only way to improve on the 2023 season is to win next year's NFC Championship Game and earn a berth in Super Bowl LIX.

Let's do this.

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Gallery Credit: Jacob Harrison

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Gallery Credit: George McIntyre

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