Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions were founded back in 1930 in Portsmouth, Ohio, but quickly moved the franchise over to Detroit. The Lions headquarters are located in Allen Park, Michigan. The Lions play in the NFC North with the Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, and Minnesota Vikings. Detroit has not had a great history of winning games, but they have plenty to discuss. Let’s take a look at the history of the Detroit Lions.

Ford Field is the Home of the Lions

As we mentioned earlier, the Detroit Lions started in Portsmouth, Ohio. There, they played at Universal Stadium. Once they moved to Detroit, the Lions had three locations before their current home at Ford Field. First, they were at the University of Detroit Stadium. They played there until the end of the 1940 season when they moved to Tiger Stadium. The Lions and Tigers shared the stadium until 1974. Then, the Lions moved to the Pontiac Silverdome. The Lions were by themselves there until the end of the 2021 season.

Finally, in 2002, the Lions opened Ford Field in Detroit. Ford Field is the home of the Lions, along with the Michigan Panthers of the USFL. Every season the MAC title game is played there, and typically a bowl game as well. Ford Field holds 65,000 fans when it comes to football crowds. There have been big basketball events, and many times it can handle up to 78,000. The game in 2003 was between Kentucky and Michigan State. Wrestlemania 23 broke the attendance record for Ford Field back in 2007, as 80,103 people were in attendance.

Ford Field hosted Super Bowl XL, where the Steelers beat the Seahawks. The 2009 Final Four was at Ford Field, and in 2027 it will be back in Detroit. Soccer, High School competitions, and College Hockey are other activities Ford Field has hosted. The very first concert at Ford Field was in October of 2002, as the Rolling Stones did the honors.

Why the Lions And Who Are They?

The story about why the Detroit Lions are named the way they are is pretty simple. Back in the late 1930s, when the team was coming together, the ownership wanted to put a team together that would be the “King of the NFL.” They associated that with how the Lions are the king of the jungle. They also felt it would work well to have a tie-in with the Detroit Tigers, the baseball team in town.

Historical Records for the Detroit Lions

As the 2023 season starts, the Detroit Lions were 579-702-34 in the history of the franchise. Detroit has struggled in the postseason, with just 7 wins. Matthew Stafford leads the franchise in passing yards with 45,109, while Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson had monster record careers as well. Sanders leads with 99 rushing touchdowns, and Johnson had over 11,600 receiving yards in his career. Recently, Jamaal Williams broke Barry Sander’s single-season touchdown record with 17. He did this in 2022 in a game against the Green Bay Packers.

The Detroit Lions hold the worst record of any franchise between the years 1973 – 2023. Detroit during that time is 312-448-4.

Finally, the 2008 Detroit Lions go down as one of the worst teams of all time. The Lions joined the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the second team to lose all 16 of their regular season games.

Super Bowl Titles for the Lions

The Detroit Lions have never won a Super Bowl after the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. Before that time, though, the Lions won four League Championships. Detroit took down the title in 1935, 1952, 1953, and 1957.

The most recent NFL Championship was in 1957, as the Lions smacked the Cleveland Browns. This game was held at Briggs Stadium in Detroit, with the Lions scoring 31 first-half points and going on to win the game 59-14.

The Lions won four conference championships as well. In 1952, the Lions won the NFL National, while the NFL Western was won in 1953, 1954, and 1957. Detroit won divisional championships in the NFL Western in 1935 and then most recently in the NFC Central with titles in 1983, 1991, and 1993. It’s been 30 years since Detroit won the division.

Detroit has been to the postseason 18 times in franchise history. The Lions have yet to make the postseason since 2016. Since 1990 – the Lions have made the postseason just 12 times. Detroit went from 1999 to 2011 without making the playoffs.

Famous Quarterbacks for the Detroit Lions

Heading into the 2023 season, Matthew Stafford is the Lions’ leader in touchdowns thrown. It’s not close, as Stafford finished his time in Detroit with 282 touchdowns and just 141 interceptions. Next on the list was Bobby Layne, with 118 touchdowns. Those are the only two Lions quarterbacks with 100+ touchdowns in his career.

As far as winningest as the signal caller for the Lions – that belongs to Bobby Lane. Layne finished 53-29-2 in his career. Next on the list was Bill Munson, with 24 wins, 21 losses, and 3 ties.

Looking at postseason wins, the Lions have not had a ton of success. In fact, the last quarterback to win a postseason game was Erik Kramer back in 1991. He finished his career 1-2 in postseason games with the Lions. Since then, Dave Krieg, Scott Mitchell, Gus Frerotte, and Matthew Stafford all tried; but failed. Stafford went 0-3, and Mitchell went 0-2.

Prior to Kramer, though, Tobin Rote at 2-0 and Bobby Layne at 3-1, with a random Glenn Presnell win in 1935, were the only postseason wins by quarterbacks.

Detroit Lions Hall of Famers

There are 22 guys as part of the Detroit Lions, with 17 of them from the Detroit Lions strictly. The other 7 guys spent portions of their careers with the Lions. The first guy in franchise history that was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame was Dutch Clark. As a quarterback and a coach, he was a 6-time first-team All-Pro. He was inducted in 1963. Following that, Bill Dudley, Bibby Layne, and Alex Wojciechoeicz were all inducted in the late 1960s.

In the 1970’s High McElhenny, Jack Christiansen, Ollie Matson, Joe Schmidt, Dick Lane, and Yale Lary were all inducted in. McElhenny and Christiansen were inducted in 1970, while the others were in 1972, 1973, 1974, and 1979, respectively.

In the 1980’s – just Frank Gatski, Doak Walker, and John Henry Johnson were inducted. Those three were inducted in three straight years, 1985-1987.

The 1990s just saw a pair; defensive back Lem Barney and Guard Lou Creemker.

Next – probably the most famous Detroit Lions player of all time. 1989-1998 running back Barry Sanders went into the Pro Hall of Fame in 2004. He was a 6 time all Pro-first-team player and made the Pro Bowl 10 times.

From that point, Charlie Sanders, Dick LeBeau, Curley Culp, Dick Stanfel, and Alex Karras were next. Finally, the most recent player inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame; was Calvin Johnson. One of the best receivers of all time, Calvin Johnson spent 2007-2015 with the Lions and went to the Pro Bowl 6 times. He was inducted in 2021.

Final Detroit Lions Tidbits

The Lions have a mascot named Roary the Lion. He wears a blue football jersey to the Lions came with the number “1” on it. Rory is the spokes lion for the Detroit Lions kids club and is typically at every home event the Lions host.

Detroit also has its own cheerleaders. In 2016 they announced they would add official cheerleaders to the squad. The cheerleaders are part of the entertainment during games and at community events. They are called the Detroit Lions Cheerleaders.

The Lions have had 30 head coaches in the history of their franchise. Wayne Fontest was the longest-tenured head coach and spent 9 seasons there.