1973 Detroit Lions season

The 1973 Detroit Lions season was their 44th in the league. Don McCafferty, who served as an assistant under Don Shula during Shula's stint as head coach of the Baltimore Colts, and whom as head coach himself coached the Colts to a Super Bowl V victory over the Dallas Cowboys, would replace Joe Schmidt as head coach. However, the team would still fail to improve on their previous season's output of 8–5–1, finishing a mediocre 6–7–1.[1] The team missed the playoffs for the third straight season.

1973 Detroit Lions season
Head coachDon McCafferty
OwnerWilliam Clay Ford, Sr.
Home fieldTiger Stadium
Division place2nd NFC Central
Playoff finishdid not qualify


Round Pick Player Position School
1 17 Ernie Price Defensive End Texas A&M-Kingsville
2 44 Leon Crosswhite Running back Oklahoma
3 58 John Brady Tight End Washington
3 71 Jim Laslavic Linebacker Penn State


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 Attendance
1 September 16, 1973 at Pittsburgh Steelers L 24–10
2 September 23, 1973 at Green Bay Packers T 13–13
3 October 1, 1973 Atlanta Falcons W 31–6
4 October 7, 1973 Minnesota Vikings L 23–9
5 October 14, 1973 at New Orleans Saints L 20–13
6 October 21, 1973 Baltimore Colts L 29–27
7 October 28, 1973 Green Bay Packers W 34–0
8 November 4, 1973 San Francisco 49ers W 30–20
9 November 11, 1973 at Minnesota Vikings L 28–7
10 November 18, 1973 at Chicago Bears W 30–7
11 November 22, 1973 Washington Redskins L 20–0
12 December 2, 1973 at St. Louis Cardinals W 20–16
13 December 9, 1973 Chicago Bears W 40–7
14 December 15, 1973 at Miami Dolphins L 34–7

Season summary

Week 1

Week 14


NFC Central
Minnesota Vikings 12 2 0 .857 6–0 10–1 296 168 W2
Detroit Lions 6 7 1 .464 3–2–1 6–4–1 271 247 L1
Green Bay Packers 5 7 2 .429 1–4–1 4–6–1 202 259 W1
Chicago Bears 3 11 0 .214 1–5 1–9 195 334 L6


  1. ^ 1973 Detroit Lions
1973 in Michigan

Events from the year 1973 in Michigan.

The Associated Press (AP) selected the top news stories for 1973 in Michigan as follows:

The selection of Michigan Congressman Gerald Ford as Vice President of the United States following the resignation of Spiro Agnew;

The 1973 oil crisis;

Layoffs in the automobile industry following a drop in sales;

Negotiations between the United Auto Workers and the Big Three automobile manufacturers;

Coleman Young's election victory on November 6 over former police commissioner John F. Nichols to become the first African-American Mayor of Detroit;

(tie) The Michigan State Lottery earned $61 million in its first full year;

(tie) Natural gas forced residents to evacuate their homes in Williamsburg, Michigan;

Severe winter storms struck the state in March;

Union construction workers protested at nonunion work sites in Kalkaska and Midland; and

Col. William Nolde of Michigan was the last American soldier to die in combat in the Vietnam War; he was killed on January 27 when artillery blew up his bunker 11 hours before the ceasefire.The AP also chose the state's top sports stories as follows:

The 1973 Michigan Wolverines football team's being passed over for the 1974 Rose Bowl despite its undefeated season and playing Ohio State to a 10–10 tie on November 24;

John Hiller's comeback from a heart attack to set a major league record with 34 saves;

Gordie Howe signing a contract on June 19 to play with his sons for the Houston Aeros of the World Hockey Association;

The Saginaw Arthur Hill High School football team compiling an undefeated season and outscoring opponents, 443-0;

The September 2 firing of Billy Martin as manager of the Detroit Tigers;

Joe Schmidt's January 12 resignation as head coach of the Detroit Lions;

The hiring of Alex Delvecchio as general manager of the Detroit Red Wings and the firing of Ted Garvin as coach;

The rise of girls' athletics in the state, including Carolyn King playing for a boys' Little League team in Ypsilanti;

The October 11 hiring of Ralph Houk as the new manager of the Detroit Tigers; and

The firing of Johnny Wilson as head coach of the Detroit Red Wings and the naming of Ted Garvin as coach.

Game information
Scoring summary
Quarter Time Drive Team Scoring information Score
Plays Yards TOP DET PIT
2 Steelers 11-yard field goal by Roy Gerela 0 3
3 Steelers Bradshaw 1-yard touchdown run, Gerela kick good 0 10
3 Lions Jessie 84-yard touchdown reception from Landry, Mann kick good 7 10
3 Lions 40-yard field goal by Mann 10 10
4 Steelers McMakin 24-yard touchdown reception from Bradshaw, Gerela kick good 10 17
4 Steelers Shanklin 6-yard touchdown reception from Bradshaw, Gerela kick good 10 24
"TOP" = time of possession. For other American football terms, see Glossary of American football. 10 24
Game information
Notable people
Division championships (4)
Conference championships (4)
League championships (4)
Current league affiliations
Seasons (90)

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