1966 Detroit Lions season

The 1966 Detroit Lions season was their 37th in the league. The team failed to improve on their previous season's output of 6–7–1, winning only four games.[1] They missed the playoffs for the ninth straight season and incurred their second losing record in a row.

1966 Detroit Lions season
Head coachHarry Gilmer
Home fieldTiger Stadium
Local radioWWJ
Division place6th NFL Western
Playoff finishdid not qualify


Detroit Lions roster

Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Tight Ends

Offensive Linemen

Defensive Linemen


Defensive Backs

Special Teams

Reserve Lists
  • Currently vacant

Rookies in italics


Week Date Opponent Result Record Attendance
1 September 11 Chicago Bears W 14–3 1–0
2 September 18 at Pittsburgh Steelers L 17–3 1–1
3 September 25 Atlanta Falcons W 28–10 2–1
4 October 2 at Green Bay Packers L 23–14 2–2
5 October 9 Los Angeles Rams L 14–7 2–3
6 October 16 at Baltimore Colts L 45–14 2–4
7 October 23 at San Francisco 49ers L 27–24 2–5
8 October 30 Green Bay Packers L 31–7 2–6
9 November 6 at Chicago Bears T 10–10 2–6–1
10 November 13 at Minnesota Vikings W 32–31 3–6–1
11 November 20 Baltimore Colts W 20–14 4–6–1
12 November 24 San Francisco 49ers L 41–14 4–7–1
13 December 4 at Los Angeles Rams L 23–3 4–8–1
14 December 11 Minnesota Vikings L 28–16 4–9–1
15 December 18 Bye
  • A bye week was necessary in 1966, as the league expanded to an odd-number (15) of teams (Atlanta); one team was idle each week.

Game summaries

Week 1

1 234Total
Bears 3 000 3
• Lions 0 1400 14



NFL Western Conference
Green Bay Packers 12 2 0 .857 10–2 335 163 W5
Baltimore Colts 9 5 0 .643 7–5 314 226 W1
Los Angeles Rams 8 6 0 .571 6–6 289 212 L1
San Francisco 49ers 6 6 2 .500 5–5–2 320 325 L1
Chicago Bears 5 7 2 .417 4–6–2 234 272 W1
Detroit Lions 4 9 1 .308 3–8–1 206 317 L3
Minnesota Vikings 4 9 1 .308 4–7–1 206 304 L1

Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972.


  1. ^ 1966 Detroit Lions
  2. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2014-Sep-15.
1966 in Michigan

Events from the year 1966 in Michigan.

The Detroit Free Press (DFP) and the Associated Press (AP) each selected lists of the top stories of 1966 in Michigan. The AP provided separate lists of the top stories selected in statewide polling of editors and broadcasters (APE) and another selected by the AP staff (APS). Those stories included:

George W. Romney's landslide re-election as Governor of Michigan on November 8 and his rise in prominence as a possible Republican Presidential candidate in 1968 (APE-1, APS-1, DFP-1);

The November 8 United States Senate election in which incumbent Republican Robert P. Griffin (appointed by Gov. Romney to complete the term of Patrick V. McNamara who died in April) defeated former Gov. G. Mennen Williams (APE-2, APS-4, DFP-1 [as part of the "Romney sweep"]);

The controversy over automobile safety triggered by the publication of Ralph Nader's "Unsafe at Any Speed" and culminating in the Highway Safety Act of 1966 mandating certain safety standards, and revelation that an investigator hired by General Motors was digging into Nader's past (APE-3, APS-2, DFP-5);

The fatal shooting on February 12 of Rabbi Morris Adler and his assailant's suicide in front of 900 worshipers at a Sabbath service at Shaarey Zedek synagogue in Southfield (APE-4, APS-9, DFP-3);

Racial tensions, including incidents in Lansing starting on August 8, a fire bombing in East Detroit, incidents in Ypsilanti and Muskegon, and culminating with the Benton Harbor riots following a fatal shooting on August 30 (APE-6, APS-3, DFP-7 [east side of Detroit]);

The November 29 sinking in Lake Huron of the ore carrier SS Daniel J. Morrell with the death of 28 of 29 crew members (APE [occurred after ballots cast], APS-7, DFP-6);

Teacher strikes in the spring and fall (APE-7, APS-5, DFP-8);

UFO sightings by hundreds of persons in Washtenaw County in the spring which were later identified as "swamp gas" by an Air Force investigator (APE-5, APS-6, DFP-10);

A grand jury probe into "black book" charges at the Detroit Police Department (APE-9, DFP-2);

The August 2 primary contest in which former Gov. G. Mennen Williams soundly defeated Detroit Mayor Jerome Cavanagh for the Democratic Party's U.S. Senate nomination (APE-8);

The automobile industry's increase in prices on 1967 models to reflect new safety upgrades mandated by the government, and the subsequent roll-back of those increases following public criticism (APE-10, APS-10);

A tuberculosis outbreak infecting 14 children and caused by an infected teacher at a nursery school in Garden City (DFP-4);

A report by researchers at Wayne State University that they had developed a cancer vaccine (APS-8); and

An April boycott by African-American students at Detroit's Northern High School (DFP-10).The AP and United Press International (UPI) also selected the state's top 1966 sports stories as follows:

The 1966 Notre Dame vs. Michigan State football game, ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the country and ending in a 10–10 tie (AP-1, UPI-1);

Michigan State's loss to UCLA in the 1966 Rose Bowl (AP-2);

The 1966 Michigan State Spartans football team's undefeated season (UPI-3);

The deaths of Detroit Tigers' manager Charlie Dressen on August 10 and of interim manager Bob Swift on October 17; (AP-3, AP-8, UPI-2)

The 1965–66 Michigan Wolverines men's basketball team winning its third consecutive Big Ten Conference championship led by Cazzie Russell (AP-5, UPI-4);

The Detroit Lions' personnel problems, including Joe Don Looney's refusal to play, dissension among players, and criticism of head coach Harry Gilmer (AP-4, UPI-5);

The Detroit Lions' mid-season resurgence led by the passing of rookie quarterback Karl Sweetan, the receiving of Pat Studstill, and the kicking of Garo Yepremian (AP-6, UPI-6 [Sweetan only]);

The death of Chuck Thompson in a crash during the APBA Gold Cup race on the Detroit River (AP-7);

The appointment of Mayo Smith as manager of the Detroit Tigers (AP-10, UPI-8);

Earl Wilson's strong 18-11 season as a pitcher for the Detroit Tigers (UPI-7);

Cazzie Russell of Michigan named the UPI Player of the Year (UPI-9); and

Denny McLain winning 20 games for the Detroit Tigers (UPI-10).

Scoring summary
Q1CHILeClerc 38 yard field goalCHI 3–0
Q2DETNowatzke 6 yard run (Walker kick)DET 7–3
Q2DETStudstill 25 yard pass from Plum (Walker kick)DET 14–3
Notable people
Division championships (4)
Conference championships (4)
League championships (4)
Current league affiliations
Seasons (90)

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