1978 Detroit Lions season

The 1978 Detroit Lions season was the franchise's 49th season in the National Football League. Under new head coach and former NFL player Monte Clark, the Lions continue to struggle with mediocrity finishing in third place again with a less than stellar record of 7–9.

This season would also be the swan song for starting quarterback Greg Landry's stellar ten-year career in Detroit, as in the offseason was shipped to the Baltimore Colts for a 1979 fourth round pick (#88-Ulysses Norris), a 1979 fifth round pick (#131-Walt Brown), and a 1980 third round pick (#62-Mike Friede), in a rebuilding process begun by head coach Monte Clark.[1][2]

1978 Detroit Lions season
Head coachMonte Clark
General managerRuss Thomas
OwnerWilliam Clay Ford, Sr.
Home fieldPontiac Silverdome
Division place3rd NFC Central
Playoff finishdid not qualify


NFL draft

1978 Detroit Lions draft
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
1 11 Luther Bradley  Cornerback Notre Dame
2 40 Al Baker *  Defensive end Colorado State
      Made roster    *   Made at least one Pro Bowl during career




1978 Detroit Lions staff
Front office

Head coaches

  • Head Coach – Monte Clark

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches

Special teams coaches



1978 Detroit Lions roster

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen


Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists

Practice/Taxi squad {{{practice_squad}}}

Rookies in italics

Regular season


Week Date Opponent Result Attendance
1 September 3, 1978 Green Bay Packers L 13–7
2 September 9, 1978 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers W 15–7
3 September 17, 1978 Chicago Bears L 19–0
4 September 24, 1978 at Seattle Seahawks L 28–16
5 October 1, 1978 at Green Bay Packers L 35–14
6 October 8, 1978 Washington Redskins L 21–19
7 October 15, 1978 at Atlanta Falcons L 14–0
8 October 22, 1978 San Diego Chargers W 31–14
9 October 29, 1978 at Chicago Bears W 21–17
10 November 5, 1978 at Minnesota Vikings L 17–7
11 November 12, 1978 Tampa Bay Buccaneers W 34–23
12 November 19, 1978 at Oakland Raiders L 29–17
13 November 23, 1978 Denver Broncos W 17–14
14 December 3, 1978 at St. Louis Cardinals L 21–14
15 December 9, 1978 Minnesota Vikings W 45–14
16 December 17, 1978 San Francisco 49ers W 33–14

Game summaries

Week 9: at Chicago Bears

1 234Total
Lions 7 1400 21
Bears 3 770 17


NFC Central
Minnesota Vikings(3) 8 7 1 .531 5–2–1 7–4–1 294 306 L2
Green Bay Packers 8 7 1 .531 5–2–1 6–5–1 249 269 L2
Detroit Lions 7 9 0 .438 4–4 5–7 290 300 W2
Chicago Bears 7 9 0 .438 3–5 7–5 253 274 W2
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 5 11 0 .313 2–6 3–11 241 259 L4


  1. ^ Daytona Beach Journal, sports article April 30, 1979.
  2. ^ 1979 NFL Draft Pick Transactions, ProSportsTransactions.com, accessed March 31, 2012.
  3. ^ "1978 Detroit Lions Draftees". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  4. ^ "Executive and coaching staff profiles". 1978 Detroit Lions Media Guide. pp. 3–11.

External links

1978 in Michigan

Events from the year 1978 in Michigan.

The Associated Press (AP) rated the top Michigan news stories of 1978 as follows:

The Great Blizzard of 1978 leaving 400,000 homes and businesses without power;

The passage of one of three tax proposals on the November ballot—a measure requiring voter approval for new tax increases above authorized levels;

The reelection of William Milliken as Governor, easily defeating challenger William Fitzgerald, and Carl Levin's defeat of Robert P. Griffin in the election for a U.S. Senate seat from Michigan;

The ruling of Wexford County Circuit Judge William Peterson dismissing all charges against three defendants in the first PBB lawsuit, a 14-month trial that was the longest in Michigan history;

The recall of 1.5 million pre-1977 Ford Pintos for modifications to the fuel tanks;

The passage of a ballot proposal in November increasing Michigan's legal drinking age to 21;

The implementation of Michigan's deposit law following the 1976 measure banning throwaway bottles and cans;

Disclosures of patient abuse at Michigan's state mental health facilities beginning with a series of articles published in February in the Detroit Free Press and resulting in the resignation of the state's mental health director;

The conviction of Congressman Charles Diggs for mail fraud and making false statements in connection with a scheme in which staffers were required to kick back a portion of their pay to Diggs; and

The passage of $168.5 million in transportation spending funded by an additional two cent per gallon tax on gasoline and increased vehicle registration fees.The AP also selected the state's top sports stories as follows:

The 1977–78 Detroit Red Wings season which rebounded from the worst record in the NHL one year earlier and won a berth in the playoffs for the first time in a decade;

The 1977–78 Michigan State Spartans men's basketball team led by Magic Johnson and Greg Kelser that compiled a 25–5 record, won the Big Ten Conference championship, and advanced to the Elite Eight round of the NCAA tournament;

Michigan State's upset victory on October 14 over Michigan in football;

Improvements in the Detroit Lions under head coach Monte Clark;

The hiring of Dick Vitale as head coach of the Detroit Pistons;

The selection of Detroit Tigers second baseman Lou Whitaker as the American League Rookie of the Year;

The resignation of Ralph Houk as manager of the Detroit Tigers;

Rick Leach finishing his four-year career as Michigan's quarterback;

The Detroit Tigers' signing of Michigan State football star Kirk Gibson; and

Former Dearborn prep player Gary Danielson taking over as quarterback of the Detroit Lions.

Scoring summary
1LionsHorace King 1 yard run (Benny Ricardo kick)Lions 7–0
1BearsBob Thomas 28 yard field goalLions 7–3
2LionsJesse Thompson 8 yard pass from Gary Danielson (Benny Ricardo kick)Lions 14–3
2BearsBob Avellini 9 yard run (Bob Thomas kick)Lions 14–10
2LionsDavid Hill 2 yard pass from Gary Danielson (Benny Ricardo kick)Lions 21–10
3BearsRoland Harper 2 yard run (Bob Thomas kick)Lions 21–17
Notable people
Division championships (4)
Conference championships (4)
League championships (4)
Current league affiliations
Seasons (90)

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