Fans wait their whole lives to see Detroit Lions success, some over a century

When the Detroit Lions beat the Vikings on Sunday to be crowned NFC North champions for the first time in 30 years, John "Jack" Jones was ecstatic, he said.

He is 103 years old and has been a lifelong Lions fan.

"Well it’s been so long since we’ve had a winning team that I’m very, very excited," Jones said during an interview with FOX 2 on Thursday. "I’m just hoping they’re going to go a lot further now."

FOX 2 met Jones at his independent living community in Sterling Heights. He wore his Lions t-shirt and was spending time with his daughter and 10-year-old great-grandson, Camden, another Lions fan.

"I think the front office and Dan Campbell did a great job in the draft," Jones said, who has 11 great grandkids. "They picked up some free agent players, and they just put that winning aspect into their team this year."

Jones said he remembers going to a "very cold game" in the 1960s when the Lions took on the Chicago Bears at Tigers stadium. Season after season, he remained a faithful fan, watching as many games as he could when they became televised.

"Every year at the beginning of the year we were always getting hyped up about the change they made and how good they were going to do," he said. "And after the first three or four games, we knew that wasn’t happening. And this year is different."

He knew this season was going to be different when the Lions won six of their last seven games last season, Jones added. He believes the team can make it to the Super Bowl, and he’s ready to celebrate.


Lions fans search for merch as team locks up first division title in nearly 30 years

For Lions fans, the Christmas Eve win, securing the team’s first-ever NFC North division championship, and first division title at all in 29 years, that win was gift enough.

"I’m going to try," he said, laughing, when asked about dancing in the streets. " I don’t move around much anymore."

Another hard-core Lions fan, Terry Corrigan of Lake City, said he was also excited about the Lions securing the NFC North championship, but he’d be thrilled if the team gets a Super Bowl win. 

"When they won, I jumped up and screamed," Corrigan said over Zoom on Wednesday. "My youngest son was looking at me like ‘he’s gone insane or something, what’s going on here?’ But he knows how much I love the lions."

Corrigan is in his 50s and has been a Lions fan for as long as he can remember, he said. He knew back in April that this year’s team was special. So, when he renewed his license plate, he created a new tag that read "NFCN23."

"I took a lot of razzing when I first got the plate too because everybody said ‘they’ll never be anything,’" Corrigan recalled. "They’ll be the same old Lions."

However, Corrigan, like Jones, knew the Lions would be successful this year after last year’s performance. And, when they won the NFC North, Corrigan had the last laugh.

"They’re like ‘You nailed it. How did you know?’" he said. "I don’t know if I knew, but I had really good inclination of it."

((Provided by Terry Corrigan))

After Sunday’s big win, his son took a picture of it and posted it on social media. The post went viral.

"He goes ‘you got 14,000 likes or whatever in a day,’" Corrigan said. "And I went ‘is that good?’ I don’t know."

Now, Corrigan is hoping that he can change his license just one more time.

" I would love a Super Bowl for the Detroit Lions," he said. "But I feel like they’ve got a great milestone here and if they give us a Super Bowl, even better."