Bobby Layne

Robert Lawrence Layne (December 19, 1926 – December 1, 1986) was an American football quarterback who played for 15 seasons in the National Football League. He played for the Chicago Bears in 1948, the New York Bulldogs in 1949, the Detroit Lions from 19501958, and the Pittsburgh Steelers from 19581962.

Layne was selected by the Bears with the third overall pick of the 1948 NFL draft. He played college football at the University of Texas. Layne was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1967 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1968. His number, 22, has been retired by the University of Texas Longhorns and Detroit Lions.

Bobby Layne
Bobby Layne
No. 22
Position:Quarterback, placekicker
Personal information
Born:December 19, 1926
Santa Anna, Texas
Died:December 1, 1986 (aged 59)
Lubbock, Texas
Career information
High school:Dallas (TX) Highland Park
NFL Draft:1948 / Round: 1 / Pick: 3
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Passing yards:26,768
Passer rating:63.4
Player stats at

Early years

Born in Santa Anna, Texas, Layne's family moved when he was very young to Fort Worth, where he attended elementary and junior high school. His mother died when he was only eight years old, and Layne moved in with his uncle and aunt, Mr. and Mrs. Wade Hampton. He attended Highland Park High School in University Park, where he was a teammate of fellow future hall of famer Doak Walker, the Heisman Trophy winner in 1948 for the SMU Mustangs and a pro teammate with the Detroit Lions.

In his senior year, Layne was named to the all-state football team, played in the Oil Bowl All-Star game, and led Highland Park to the state playoffs.[1]

College football

One of the most successful quarterbacks ever to play for Texas, Layne was selected to four straight All-Southwest Conference teams from 1944–47, and was a consensus All-American in his senior year. World War II caused a shortage of players, and rules were changed to allow freshmen to play on the varsity, thereby allowing Layne a four-year career.[2]

Freshman play was sporadically allowed by various conferences during wartime, but would not be allowed universally until the rules were permanently changed in 1972. In his freshman season, Layne became a very rare player (in that era) to start his first game. He missed his second game due to an injury and was replaced by future North Texas transfer Zeke Martin,[3] but Layne played the rest of the season and led the Longhorns to within one point of the Southwest Conference Championship when they lost to TCU 7–6 on a missed extra point.

Prior to and during his sophomore year, he spent eight months in the Merchant Marines, serving with his friend Doak Walker. He missed the first six games of the season, and was replaced by Jack Halfpenny. The last game he missed was the team's only loss, to Rice, by one point. Texas went 10–1, won the Southwest Conference, and despite playing only half a season, Layne again made the all-conference team.[1]

In the Cotton Bowl Classic following that season, Texas beat Missouri 40–27, and Layne played perhaps the best game of his career. He set several NCAA and Cotton Bowl records that have lasted into the 21st century. In that game, he completed 11 of 12 passes and accounted for every one of the team's 40 points, scoring four touchdowns, kicking four extra points, and throwing for two other scores, thus he was named one of the game's outstanding players.[4]

In 1946, the Longhorns were ranked number one in the preseason for the first time, but after beating number 20 Arkansas, they were upset by number 16 Rice and later by unranked TCU. They went 8–2, finished third in the conference, ranked number 15 nationally, and missed out on any bowl games. Layne led the Southwest Conference in total offense (1420 yards), total passing (1115 yards), and punting average(42 yards).[5] Despite the unexpected finish, Layne was named All-Conference again and finished eighth in Heisman Trophy balloting to Glenn Davis of Army.[6]

In 1947, Blair Cherry replaced Dana X. Bible as head coach at Texas and he decided to install the T-formation offense. Cherry, Layne, and their wives spent several weeks in Wisconsin studying the new offense at the training camps of the Chicago Bears and Chicago Cardinals of the National Football League. The change was a success, as Layne led the Southwest Conference in passing yards, made the All-Conference and All-American teams, and finished sixth in Heisman Trophy voting to John Lujack of Notre Dame. The Longhorns, after beating number-19 North Carolina, started the season ranked number 3. They then beat number-15 Oklahoma, but as happened in 1945, Texas was again denied an undefeated season by a missed extra point. After coming back once against Walker's number-8 SMU, Texas again found itself behind late in the game.

Layne engineered a fourth-quarter touchdown drive that would have tied the game, but kicker Frank Guess pushed the extra point wide and the Longhorns lost 14–13.[7] They fell to eighth, and finished behind SMU in the Southwest Conference, but gained an invitation to the Sugar Bowl, where Layne and the Longhorns beat number-six Alabama. As a result of his 10-24, 183 yard performance, Layne won the inaugural Miller-Digby award presented to the game's most valuable player.[8] The Longhorns finished ranked fifth, the best finish in Layne's career. Layne finished his Texas career with a school-record 3,145 passing yards on 210 completions and 400 attempts and 28 wins.

Layne was one of the first inductees into the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame and made the Cotton Bowl's All-Decade team (1937–1949) for the 1940s. Later, both of Layne's sons, Rob and Alan, played college football. Robert L. Layne, Jr., was a kicker for Texas, playing on the 1969 National Championship team, and Alan played tight end for Texas Christian in 1973.


  • NCAA & Cotton Bowl – Most Touchdowns Responsible For, bowl game (6), tied by Chuck Long in 1984, Dan LeFevour in 2007 and Paul Smith in 2008
  • NCAA & Cotton Bowl – Most Points Responsible For, bowl game (40)
  • NCAA – Highest completion rate (min. 10 attempts), bowl game (0.917), surpassed by Mike Bobo in 1998
  • NCAA – Most points scored, bowl game (28), surpassed by Barry Sanders in 1998
  • UT – Most Pass attempts, career (400), surpassed by Bret Stafford in 1986
  • UT – Most Pass completions, career (210), surpassed by Stafford in 1986
  • UT – Passing Yards, career (3,145), surpassed by Stafford in 1986
  • UT – Lowest percentage of passes intercepted (minimum 300 passes), career (7.8%), surpassed by Donnie Little in 1981
  • UT – Most starts, career (34), surpassed by Marty Akins in 1975
  • UT – Best winning percentage (minimum 1 season), career (80.5%), surpassed by T Jones in 1952
  • UT – Most quarterback victories, career (28), surpassed by Vince Young in 2005
  • UT – Most touchdowns, game (4), tied by Jim Bertelsen in 1969, Steve Worster in 1970, Earl Campbell in 1977 and A.J. "Jam" Jones in 1979; surpassed by Ricky Williams in 1997
  • UT – Most touchdown passes, career (25), surpassed by Peter Gardere in 1992
  • UT – Most points scored, game (28), broke his own record of 24 set earlier that year, surpassed by Williams in 1997
  • Cotton Bowl – Most consecutive completions, game (8), tied by Tony Graziani in 1996 and Clint Stoerner in 2000
  • Cotton Bowl – Highest completion rate (min. 10 attempts), game (0.917)
  • Cotton Bowl – Most points scored, game and career (28)
  • Cotton Bowl – Most touchdowns, game & career (4), tied by Tony Temple in 2008
  • Cotton Bowl – Most Points Responsible For, career (40)
  • Cotton Bowl – Most Touchdowns Responsible For, game & career (6)
  • Cotton Bowl – Most points rushing, game (18), surpassed by Temple in 2008
  • Cotton Bowl – Most touchdowns rushing, game (3), tied by Dicky Maegle in 1954 and Jim Brown in 1957, surpassed by Temple in 2008
  • Cotton Bowl – Most touchdowns rushing, game (3), tied by Maegle in 1954, Brown in 1957, and Jim Swink in 1957, surpassed by Temple in 2008
  • Cotton Bowl – Most yards per attempt (min 10 attempts), game (13.2), surpassed by James Street in 1969

College baseball

Layne was one of the best pitchers to ever play at Texas. He made the All-Southwest Conference team all four years he played, and played on teams that won all three Conference Championships available to them (none was named in 1944 due to World War II). He won his first career start, in 1944, when he was managed by his future football coach Blair Cherry, versus Southwestern, 14-1, in a complete-game, 15-strikeout performance.[9] Similar to football, he missed the 1945 season because he was in the Merchant Marines, but returned to play three more seasons. In 1946, he threw the school's first and second no-hitters and posted a 12-4 record. In 1947, he went 12-1 and led Texas to a third-place finish in the first NCAA baseball Tournament.

In 1948, he went 9-0 and again helped Texas win the Southwest Conference, but though they qualified for it, Texas decided not to attend the 1948 NCAA tournament because the players felt they had too many obligations with family and jobs.[10]

Texas went 60-10 overall, and 41-2 in the SWC during Layne's final three years in Austin. When his career was over, Layne had a perfect 28-0 conference record and set several school and conference records during his time on the team, including a few that still stand today. Between baseball and football, he was All-Conference an astounding eight times and won four conference championships.

In 1948, after earning his degree in physical education, Layne played a season of minor league ball for the Lubbock Hubbers baseball team of the Class C West Texas–New Mexico League.[1] He went 6-5 with a 7.29 ERA, and had bids from the New York Giants, the Boston Red Sox, and the St. Louis Cardinals to join their staffs, but he preferred to go to the National Football League, where he could play immediately rather than grind out several years in the minor-league system.[11]


  • Southwest Conference & UT – Most conference victories, career, pitcher (28)
  • Southwest Conference & UT – Highest conference winning percentage (min 10 decisions), career (1.000) (28-0)
  • UT – Most runs scored, game (5), tied 11 times since
  • UT – Most shutouts, season (4), tied Bus Gillet, surpassed by Burt Hooton in 1969
  • UT – Winning percentage, season (min 9 decisions) (1.00) (9-0), surpassed by Hooton in 1969
  • UT – Most bases on balls, career (187), surpassed by Richard Wortham in 1976
  • Southwest Conference & UT – Most strikeouts, season (134), surpassed by Hooton in 1969
  • UT – Most strikeouts, career (386), tied by Hooton in 1971, surpassed by Wortham in 1976
  • UT – Most strikeouts per nine innings pitched, career (10.78), surpassed by Hooton in 1971
  • UT – Most wins, career (35), surpassed by Hooton in 1971
  • UT – Highest winning percentage, career (0.921), surpassed by Terry Jackson in 1961
  • UT – Most innings pitched, career (322.1), surpassed by Wortham in 1976
  • Southwest Conference & UT – Most no-hitters, season (2), tied by Hooton
  • Southwest Conference & UT – Most no-hitters, career (2), tied by James Street, Hooton and Greg Swindell
  • Southwest Conference & UT – Most consecutive conference victories (28)
  • Southwest Conference – Most strikeouts in conference play, season (84)

Bold means "active" record; as the Southwest Conference became defunct in 1996, these records have essentially become permanent

Professional football

Drafted into the National Football League by the Pittsburgh Steelers, Layne was the third overall selection in the 1948 NFL Draft and was the second overall selection in the 1948 All-America Football Conference (AAFC) draft by the Baltimore Colts. Layne did not want to play for the Steelers, the last team in the NFL to use the single-wing formation, so his rights were quickly traded to the Chicago Bears.[12]

He was offered $77,000 to play for the Colts, but George Halas "sweet talked" him into signing with the Bears. He promised a slow rise to fame in the "big leagues" with a no-trade understanding.

After one season with the Bears, during which Layne was the third-string quarterback behind both Sid Luckman and Johnny Lujack, Layne refused to return and tried to engineer his own trade to the Green Bay Packers. Halas, preoccupied with fending off a challenge from the AAFC, traded Layne to the New York Bulldogs for their first-round pick in the 1950 draft and $50,000 cash. The cash was to be paid in four installments.

Layne on a football card

With Layne at quarterback, the Bulldogs won only one game and lost 11, but Layne played well and developed quickly.[1] Layne compared one season with the soon-to-be-defunct New York Bulldogs as worth five seasons with any other NFL team.

In 1950, he was traded to the Detroit Lions for wide receiver Bob Mann, and the Lions agreed to make the final three payments to Halas (Halas later remarked that the Lions should have continued the yearly payments indefinitely to him in view of Layne's performance). For the next five years, Layne was reunited with his great friend and Highland Park High School teammate Doak Walker, and together they helped make Detroit into a champion.

In 1952, Layne led the Lions to their first NFL Championship in 17 years, and then did so again in 1953 for back-to-back league titles. They fell short of a three-peat in 1954 when they lost 56–10 to Cleveland Browns in the NFL championship game, a loss which Layne explained by saying, "I slept too much last night."[13]

In 1955, the team finished last in their conference and Walker surprisingly retired at the top of his game. As Walker had been the team's kicker, Layne took over the kicking duties in 1956 and 1957, and in 1956 led the league in field goal accuracy. In 1956, the Lions finished second in the conference, missing the championship game by only one point. In 1957, the season of the Lions' most recent NFL championship, Layne broke his leg in three places in a pileup during the 11th game of the 12-game season.[14] His replacement, Tobin Rote, finished the season and led the Lions to victory in the championship game in Detroit, a 59-14 rout of the Cleveland Browns.

After the second game of the 1958 season, Pittsburgh Steelers coach Buddy Parker, formerly in Detroit, arranged a trade on October 6 that brought Layne to the Steelers.[15][16] During his eight seasons in Detroit, the Lions won three NFL championships and Layne played in four Pro Bowls, made first team All-Pro twice, and at various times led the league in over a dozen single-season statistical categories.

Following the trade, Layne played five seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Though he made the Pro Bowl two more times, he never made it back to the playoffs, and the team's best finish was second in the conference in 1962.[12] During his last year in the NFL, he published his autobiography Always on Sunday. Later he stated that the biggest disappointment in his football career was having never won a championship for the Pittsburgh Steelers and specifically, Art Rooney.[12]

By the time Layne retired before the 1963 season, he owned the NFL records for passing attempts (3,700), completions (1,814), touchdowns (196), yards (26,768), and interceptions (243).[1] He left the game as one of the last players to play without a facemask and was credited with creating the two-minute drill.[17][18] Doak Walker said of him, "Layne never lost a game...time just ran out on him."[19]

Following his retirement as a player, Layne served as the quarterback coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1963–65 and the St. Louis Cardinals in 1965. He was a scout for the Dallas Cowboys from 1966–67.[20] He later unsuccessfully sought the head coaching job at Texas Tech, his last professional involvement with the sport.[12]

After football

For his on-the-field exploits, Layne was inducted into a vast assortment of halls of fame. These included the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1960, the Longhorn Hall of Honor in 1963, the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1967, the state halls of fame in Michigan and Pennsylvania, and the Texas High School Sports Hall of Fame in 1973.[1][18][19]

In 2006, he was a finalist on the initial ballot for pre-1947 inductees to the College Baseball Hall of Fame.[9] He was a finalist again the following year.[21]

In a special issue in 1995, Sports Illustrated called Layne "The Toughest Quarterback Who Ever Lived." In 1999, he was ranked number 52 on the Sporting News' list of Football's 100 Greatest Players.[22] After retirement, Layne spent 24 years as a businessman back in Texas in Lubbock, working with his old college coach, Blair Cherry.[1] His business ventures included farms, bowling alleys, real estate, oil, and the stock market.[12]

In his younger days, he, often accompanied by Alex Karras, was well known for his late-night bar-hopping and heavy drinking and it was said of him, "He would drink six days a week and play football on Sunday"; but his heavy drinking may have contributed to his death. Layne is reported to have stated: "If I'd known I was gonna live this long, I'd have taken a lot better care of myself." That line was later used by baseball legend Mickey Mantle, a Dallas neighbor and friend of Layne's, who also died in part due to decades of alcohol abuse. Layne suffered from cancer during his last years.

In November 1986, he traveled to Michigan to present the Hall of Fame ring and plaque to his old friend and teammate Doak Walker, but was hospitalized with intestinal bleeding in Pontiac after a reunion dinner with his former Detroit teammates. He returned to Lubbock on November 12, but three days later was hospitalized again.[23] He died in cardiac arrest on December 1 in Lubbock,[24] and was buried there.[20] Doak Walker and three other members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame were among the pallbearers.[1][25][26]

"My only request", he once said, "is that I draw my last dollar and my last breath at precisely the same instant."[18]

"Curse of Bobby Layne"

In 1958, the Lions traded Layne to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Layne responded to the trade by supposedly saying that the Lions would "not win for 50 years".[27] This story has been called a hoax, particularly because the quote was never published at the time.[28]

Over the next half-century after the trade, the Lions accumulated the worst winning percentage of any team in the NFL.The Lions, for those 50 years, were 1–10 in postseason appearances; their lone playoff win came against Dallas following the 1991 regular season. In the last year of the supposed curse, 2008, Detroit went 0–16 and thus became the first team to lose every game of a 16-game season. As for the Steelers they became one of the most dominant teams in the NFL winning 6 Super Bowls 1974 (IX), 1975 (X), 1978 (XIII), 1979 (XIV), 2005 (XL), 2008 (XLIII) [29]

Coincidentally, in the 2009 NFL Draft, right after the curse supposedly expired, the Detroit Lions drafted University of Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford first overall. Stafford was an alumnus of Layne's former school Highland Park High School and also lived in a house on the same street as Layne's.[30] In the 2011 season, Stafford's first full injury-free season, he led the Lions to their first playoff berth since 1999, but lost to fellow Texan Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. Also, in the 60 years since the curse, the Lions also endured multiple playoff droughts lasting more than 6 years, including the year of the trade, the Lions did not make the playoffs in 12 consecutive seasons. (1958–1969; 1984–1990; 1971–1981; 2000–2010).[31]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Kohou, Martin Donell. "Layne, Robert Lawrence". Retrieved May 25, 2017.
  2. ^ Lucksinger, Ross. "The History of Freshman Quarterbacks at Texas". Retrieved May 25, 2017.
  3. ^ "Texas-Oklahoma classic to be played Saturday in Dallas". Abilene Reporter-News. October 10, 1944. Retrieved May 25, 2017.
  4. ^ "One Man, All 40 Points". Retrieved August 7, 2013.
  5. ^ "Bobby Layne Chalks Up Three SWC Titles". Lubbock Morning Avalanche. December 3, 1946. Retrieved March 13, 2015.
  6. ^ "1946 Heisman Trophy Voting". Archived from the original on January 21, 2015. Retrieved January 21, 2015.
  7. ^ "SMU's Greatest Moments #21". Archived from the original on December 21, 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2015.
  8. ^ "14th Annual Sugar Bowl Classic". January 1, 1948. Retrieved January 22, 2015.
  9. ^ a b "2006 Official College Baseball Foundation Hall of Fame Ballot" (PDF). Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  10. ^ Madden, W.C.; Stewart, Patrick J. (January 1, 2004). The College World Series: A Baseball History, 1947–2003. McFarland. p. 11. ISBN 0786418427.
  11. ^ Guzzardi, Joe (February 5, 2011). "Bobby Layne: The NFL Hall of Fame Great Who Could Have Starred in the Major League". Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  12. ^ a b c d e Nassar, Taylor. "Layne, Robert Lawrence". Archived from the original on May 15, 2013. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
  13. ^ Collier, Gene (April 23, 2006). "Making a pitch for Bobby Layne for baseball hall". Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  14. ^ "Lions lose Layne but win, 20-7". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. December 9, 1957. p. 26.
  15. ^ Livingston, Pat (October 7, 1958). "Layne takes over as Steeler QB". Pittsburgh Press. p. 27.
  16. ^ Sell, Jack (October 7, 1958). "Steelers get Layne for Morrall". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  17. ^ Cavanaugh, Jack (2008). Giants Among Men. Random House. p. 129. ISBN 978-1-4000-6717-6.
  18. ^ a b c Harvey, Randy (December 2, 1986). "Football Legend Layne Dies at 59 of Heart Failure". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 27, 2015.
  19. ^ a b "Longhorn MVPs/Hall of Famers" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on November 25, 2015.
  20. ^ a b "Famed Quarterback Bobby Layne Dies". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. December 2, 1986. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  22. ^ "Sporting News' Football's 100 Greatest Players". Archived from the original on May 16, 2008. Retrieved May 25, 2017.
  23. ^ "Bobby Layne remains in critical condition". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Florida. Associated Press. November 21, 1986. p. 8C.
  24. ^ "Famed quarterback Booby Layne dies". Pittsburgh-Post Gazette. December 2, 1986. p. 8.
  25. ^ "500 attend funeral for Bobby Layne". Ottawa Citizen. Canada. UPI. December 4, 1986. p. B6.
  26. ^ "Friends eulogize Layne". Ludington Daily News. Michigan. Associated Press. December 4, 1986. p. 10.
  27. ^ King, Peter (March 2, 2009). "Searching For Bobby Layne". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved November 25, 2010.
  28. ^ Rogers, Justin (March 7, 2009). "Turns out the Curse of Bobby Layne is probably a myth". Retrieved November 25, 2010.
  29. ^
  30. ^ Seifert, Kevin (July 27, 2009). "Black and Blue all over: Offseason's final week". Retrieved November 25, 2010.
  31. ^

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Sammy Baugh
Total passing yards in the NFL

Succeeded by
Y. A. Tittle
Preceded by
Sammy Baugh
Total pass completions in the NFL

Succeeded by
Y. A. Tittle
Preceded by
Sammy Baugh
Total touchdown passes in the NFL

Succeeded by
Y. A. Tittle
1946 Cotton Bowl Classic

The 1946 Cotton Bowl Classic was a postseason college football bowl game between the tenth ranked Texas Longhorns and the Missouri Tigers.

1947 Baylor Bears football team

The 1947 Baylor Bears football team was an American football team that represented Baylor University in the Southwest Conference (SWC) during the 1947 college football season. In its first season under head coach Bob Woodruff, the team compiled a 5–5 record (1–5 against conference opponents), finished in last place in the conference, and was outscored by a total of 138 to 128. The team played its home games at Municipal Stadium in Waco, Texas. James W. Griffin was the team captain.The 1947 season featured great backs across the Southwest Conference. Baylor lost games to SMU (No. 3 in the final AP Poll) led by halfback Doak Walker; Texas (No. 5 in the final AP Poll) led by quarterback Bobby Layne; and Rice (No. 18 in the final AP Poll) led by quarterback Tobin Rote. It won against an Arkansas team led by halfback Clyde Scott who was later inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

1947 SMU Mustangs football team

The 1947 SMU Mustangs football team was an American football team that represented Southern Methodist University (SMU) as a member of the Southwest Conference (SWC) during the 1947 college football season. In its tenth season under head coach Matty Bell, the team compiled a 9–0–2 record (5–0–1 against SWC opponents), won the SWC championship, outscored opponents by a total of 182 to 90, and was ranked No. 3 in the final AP Poll. The team played its home games at Ownby Stadium on the SMU campus and at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.

The Mustangs won their first nine games before tying with rival TCU and Penn State, the latter in the 1948 Cotton Bowl Classic on New Year's Day.SMU's sophomore halfback, Doak Walker, led the country with 387 yards on 10 kickoff returns, an average of 38.7 yards per return. He won the Maxwell Award for 1947, was a consensus selection to the 1947 College Football All-America Team, and finished third in the 1947 voting for the Heisman Trophy. He finished second in the SWC (behind Bobby Layne) with 1,026 yards of total offense, including 684 rushing yards.Four SMU players received first-team honors on the Associated Press 1947 All-Southwest Conference football team: Walker; end Sid Halliday; tackle Jim Winkler; and guard Earl Cook.

1947 Texas Longhorns football team

The 1947 Texas Longhorns football team was an American football team that represented the University of Texas as a member of the Southwest Conference (SWC) during the 1947 college football season. In its first season under head coach Blair Cherry, the team compiled a 10–1 record (5–1 against SWC opponents), won the SWC championship, and outscored opponents by a total of 292 to 74. The team lost to SMU and defeated Alabama in the 1948 Sugar Bowl.Bobby Layne was a consensus selection as the quarterback for the 1947 College Football All-America Team. He also finished sixth in the 1947 voting for the Heisman Trophy. Tackle Richard Harris was also selected as a first-team All-American by the Associated Press (AP).Three Texas players were selected by the AP as first-team honorees on the 1947 All-Southwest Conference football team: Layne at quarterback; Harris at tackle; and Max Bumgardner at end.

1948 Sugar Bowl

The 1948 Sugar Bowl featured the fifth ranked Texas Longhorns and the sixth ranked Alabama Crimson Tide.

In the first quarter, Texas scored on a 99-yard touchdown pass form Bobby Layne to Blount, as Texas opened a 7-0 lead. In the second quarter, Alabama tied the game on an 8-yard touchdown pass from Gilmer to White. In the third quarter, Texas's Vic Vasicek recovered a fumble in the end zone as Texas took a 14-7 lead. Holder later returned an interception 18 yards for a touchdown making it 21-7. Bobby Layne scored on a 1-yard touchdown run making the final score 27-7.

Bobby Layne was named Sugar Bowl MVP.

1952 Detroit Lions season

The 1952 Detroit Lions season resulted in the Lions winning their second National Football League (NFL) championship, having won their first championship 17 years earlier in 1935. The team's co-captains were halfback Bob Hoernschemeyer and defensive tackle John Prchlik, and defensive end Jim Doran was selected as the team's most valuable player. In their third year under head coach Buddy Parker, the 1952 Lions compiled a 9–3 record during the regular season, finished in a tie with the Los Angeles Rams for first place in the NFL's National Conference, defeated the Rams in a tiebreaker game, and defeated the Cleveland Browns, 17–7, in the 1952 NFL Championship Game at Municipal Stadium in Cleveland.

The 1952 Lions outscored opponents 354 to 192 in 12 regular season games and ranked first in the NFL with an average of 29.5 points scored per game. The offense was led by quarterback Bobby Layne who ranked second in the NFL with 2,410 yards of total offense – 1,999 passing and 411 rushing. End Cloyce Box led the NFL with 15 touchdowns, including nine touchdown catches in the final three games of the regular season. For the third consecutive year, Bob Hoernschemeyer was the team's leading rusher with 457 yards and an average of 4.3 yards per carry. Jack Christiansen led the NFL with an average of 21.5 yards per punt return, returned two punts for touchdowns, and ranked fourth in the NFL with 731 punt and kick return yards.

The Lions' defense ranked first in the NFL in points allowed, allowing 16 points per game during the regular season. Defensive back Bob Smith ranked among the NFL leaders with a 90-yard interception return (2nd), nine interceptions (3rd), and 184 interception return yards (3rd). Smith was also the team's punter and ranked second in the NFL with an average of 44.7 yards per punt. Six players from the 1952 Lions team, Layne, Christiansen, halfback Doak Walker, defensive back Yale Lary, and offensive linemen Lou Creekmur and Dick Stanfel, were later inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

1952 NFL Championship Game

The 1952 National Football League championship game was the 20th annual championship game, held on December 28 at Cleveland Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio.The Detroit Lions (9–3) were the National Conference champions and met the Cleveland Browns (8–4), champions of the American Conference. It was the first of three consecutive matchups in the title game between the Lions and Browns.

The Lions were led by quarterback Bobby Layne, running back Doak Walker, and head coach Buddy Parker, and the Browns were led by head coach Paul Brown and quarterback Otto Graham. It was the Browns' third consecutive NFL championship game appearance since joining the NFL in 1950. The Lions returned to the title game after 17 years, since their win in 1935.

The Lions finished the 1952 regular season tied with the Los Angeles Rams (9–3) for top of the National Conference. Even though the Lions won both meetings, the rules of the day called for a tiebreaker playoff game. The teams' third game was held at Briggs Stadium in Detroit on December 21, which the Lions also won, 31–21.The Lions were 3½-point favorites in the title game, and won by ten points, 17–7.

1953 Detroit Lions season

The 1953 Detroit Lions season resulted in the Lions winning their second consecutive and third overall National Football League (NFL) championship. In their fourth year under head coach Buddy Parker, the Lions compiled a 10–2 record during the regular season, outscored opponents 271 to 205, finished in first place in the NFL's Western Division, and defeated the Cleveland Browns, 17–16, in the 1953 NFL Championship Game at Briggs Stadium in Detroit.

The 1953 Lions ranked fifth in the NFL in scoring offense. The offense was led by quarterback Bobby Layne who compiled 2,431 yards of total offense (2,088 passing, 343 rushing) and 16 passing touchdowns. Halfback Doak Walker totaled 839 yards from scrimmage, (337 rushing, 502 receiving) and was the team's leading scorer with 93 points on five touchdowns, 12 field goals, and 27 extra points. For the fourth year in a row, Bob Hoernschemeyer was the team's leading rusher, contributed 764 yards from scrimmage (482 rushing, 282 receiving) and scored nine touchdowns.

The team also ranked second in the NFL in scoring defense. Defensive back Jack Christiansen led the NFL with 12 interceptions and 238 interception return yards. Eight members of the 1953 Lions were selected as first-team All-NFL players for the 1953 season: middle guard Les Bingaman, Christiansen, offensive guard Lou Creekmur, Hoernschemeyer, Layne, defensive tackle Thurman McGraw, guard Dick Stanfel, and Walker. Seven members of the team, Christiansen, Creekmur, safety Yale Lary, Layne, linebacker Joe Schmidt, guard Dick Stanfel, and Walker, were later inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

1953 NFL Championship Game

The 1953 National Football League championship game was the 21st annual championship game, held on December 27 at Briggs Stadium in Detroit.The defending NFL champion Detroit Lions (10–2) of the Western Conference were led by quarterback Bobby Layne and running back Doak Walker, and the Cleveland Browns (11–1) of the Eastern Conference were led by head coach Paul Brown and quarterback Otto Graham. The game was a rematch of the previous year, which was won by the Lions, 17–7.

This was the Browns' fourth consecutive NFL championship game appearance since joining the league in 1950, and they were favored by three points.The Lions were attempting to become the third team in the championship game era (since 1933) to win two titles in a row, following the Chicago Bears (1940, 1941) and Philadelphia Eagles (1948, 1949).The home underdog Lions rallied in the fourth quarter with a late touchdown and conversion to win by a single point, 17–16. The two teams met the following year for a third consecutive title match-up.

1954 NFL Championship Game

The 1954 National Football League championship game was the league's 22nd annual championship game, held on December 26 at Cleveland Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. Billed as the "1954 World Professional Football Championship Game," the turnover-plagued contest was won by quarterback Otto Graham and the Cleveland Browns, who defeated Bobby Layne and the Detroit Lions by a score of 56 to 10.

1956 Detroit Lions season

The 1956 Detroit Lions season was their 27th in the league. The team improved on their previous season's output of 3–9, winning nine games. Despite the improvement, they missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

Detroit held the top spot by a half game in the Western Conference entering the final game of the season against the Chicago Bears at Wrigley Field, which the Lions lost, 38–21. After completing a handoff early in the second quarter, Detroit quarterback Bobby Layne was concussed and removed from the game, due to an unsportsmanlike conduct foul by Ed Meadows, for which Meadows was ejected.The following season, the Lions won the Western Conference and the NFL championship, their third of the decade. The Lions won the NFL title in 1952 and 1953, and were runners-up in 1954.

1957 Detroit Lions season

The 1957 Detroit Lions season resulted in the Lions winning their fourth and most recent NFL championship.In the penultimate regular season game with the Cleveland Browns on December 8, hall of fame quarterback Bobby Layne was lost for the season with a broken right ankle. With backup Tobin Rote in at quarterback in the second quarter, the Lions won that game and overcame a ten-point deficit at halftime the following week to defeat the Chicago Bears 21–13, whom they had lost to three weeks earlier at home. They ended the regular season with three consecutive wins and an 8–4 record. All four losses were within the Western Conference, splitting the two games with all but the Green Bay Packers, whom they swept.

Detroit tied with the San Francisco 49ers (8–4) for the conference title, which required a tiebreaker playoff game. Played at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco on December 22, the 49ers entered the game as three point favorites. Down by twenty points in the third quarter, Detroit rallied with a 24–0 run to win 31–27.The Lions were home underdogs for next week the NFL championship game on against Cleveland. Played on December 29 at Briggs Stadium in Detroit, the Lions led 17–0 after the first quarter and won in a rout, 59–14. Through the 2017 season, the Lions have yet to return to the NFL title game (including the Super Bowl), an absence of nearly sixty years. It is the 4th-longest drought in all 4 Sports. Also the 2nd-longest drought in the NFL (Arizona Cardinals 1947).

1957 NFL Championship Game

The 1957 National Football League championship game was the 25th annual championship game, held on December 29 at Briggs Stadium in Detroit, Michigan.The Detroit Lions (8–4), winners of the Western Conference, hosted the Cleveland Browns (9–2–1), champions of the Eastern Conference. Detroit had won the regular season game 20–7 three weeks earlier on December 8, also at Briggs Stadium, but lost quarterback Bobby Layne with a broken right ankle late in the first half. Reserve quarterback Tobin Rote, a starter the previous year with Green Bay, filled in for Layne and won that game with Cleveland, the next week at Chicago, and the tiebreaker playoff game at San Francisco.

It was the fourth pairing of the two teams in the championship game; they met previously in 1952, 1953, and 1954. The Browns were favored by three points, but the home underdog Lions scored two touchdowns in each quarter and won in a rout, 59–14.Until 2006, this was the last time that major professional teams from Michigan and Ohio met in a postseason series or game. As of 2018, this was the last playoff game played in the city of Detroit other than Super Bowl XL in 2006. The Lions other two home playoff games since 1957 (1991 and 1993) were played at the Pontiac Silverdome in nearby Pontiac, Michigan.

1957 San Francisco 49ers season

The 1957 San Francisco 49ers season was the team's eighth season in the NFL. Coming off a 5–6–1 record in 1956, the 49ers tied for the best record in the Western Conference at 8–4.

San Francisco continued their late season success from the previous year, and won five of their first six games and were in first place in the West midway through the season. The Niners then lost three straight on the road to drop to 5–4, but then won the final three games to close out the season at 8–4, their best season since 1953.

The 49ers tied with the Detroit Lions at the top of the Western Conference, and split their two regular season games in November, with the home teams winning. This forced a tie-breaking playoff game at Kezar Stadium on December 22. The winner would host the Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Browns for the NFL championship the following week.

The 49ers built a 24–7 lead at halftime, and extended it to twenty points in the third quarter. Detroit's hall of fame quarterback Bobby Layne had been lost for the season two weeks earlier, and backup Tobin Rote lead the Lions' rally, scoring 24 unanswered points in the second half to win, 31–27, which ended the 49ers' season.Eight weeks earlier on October 27, 49ers' owner Tony Morabito, age 47, suffered a heart attack in the press box at Kezar during the second quarter of the game against the Chicago Bears. He died shortly after arriving at Mary's Help Hospital on Guerrero Street. The team was notified of his death at halftime, and with tears in their eyes, they went back out and won a come-from-behind victory.Quarterback Y. A. Tittle had another strong season for the 49ers, completing 63.1% of his passes for 2157 yards and 13 TD's. He also rushed for 6 TD's. End Billy Wilson led the club with 52 receptions for 757 yards, along with a team high 6 TD's. Running back Hugh McElhenny led in rushing with 478 yards on 102 attempts.

1958 Detroit Lions season

The 1958 Detroit Lions season was their 29th in the National Football League. The defending NFL champions failed to improve on their previous season and finished at 4–7–1, fifth in the six-team Western Conference.Hall of Fame quarterback Bobby Layne, age 31, was traded after the second game to the Pittsburgh Steelers for Earl Morrall and two draft choices. After losing their first two games without Layne, the Steelers finished at 7–4–1.

The Lions won only one game in the first half of the season, then spilt the final six games. It was one of the poorest performances by a defending league champion in league history.

Jerry Reichow

Garet Neal Reichow (born May 19, 1934) is a former professional American football player. A 6'-3", 220 lbs. tight end from the University of Iowa, Reichow was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the fourth round of the 1956 NFL Draft. He was one of two Minnesota Vikings (along with Hugh McElhenny) selected to the Pro Bowl after their inaugural 1961 season.

An All-Big Ten quarterback, Reichow starred at Iowa. He was the football team’s MVP as a senior and left school as its all-time leader in total offense. The Detroit Lions took notice and selected Reichow, who also played in the 1955 basketball Final Four for Iowa, in the fourth round. Reichow contributed to the Lions’ 1957 NFL title as a receiver and back-up quarterback for Tobin Rote, whom replaced the injured Bobby Layne as starting quarterback. Reichow would see relief duty at quarterback in the 1957 NFL Championship Game, when Rote left the game with the Lions leading 52-14. Three years later, Reichow was a member of the Eagles’ 1960 championship club.

On July 24, 1960, (Walt Kowalczyk) was traded to the Detroit Lions in exchange for Jerry Reichow.[1]

Reichow joined former teammate Norm Van Brocklin who became the Minnesota Vikings first head coach where he was key to quarterback Fran Tarkenton’s success in 1961. Reichow played wide receiver and proved to be the rookie’s favorite target, catching 50 passes for 859 yards and 11 touchdowns. (Reichow’s 11 TD receptions stood 34 years as a single-season team record until broken by Cris Carter in 1995.)

No. 89 followed his Pro Bowl season with 39 receptions before moving to tight end his final years in purple. Known as “Old Reliable” and considered one of the team’s toughest players, Reichow caught a combined 55 passes from his new position in 1963-64.

At the age of 31, and with the team stockpiling young receivers, Reichow’s playing career ended when Van Brocklin cut the highly respected veteran during the 1965 training camp and gave him a job scouting for the club.

Reichow’s opinions and keen eye for talent have helped shaped the Vikings for the majority of their 56 years. The former wide receiver and tight end has served in a variety of personnel roles during his five decades of dedication to the franchise. From scout to Director of Player Personnel to Director of Football Operations to Assistant General Manager for National Scouting to his current consultant role, which he assumed a few years ago, Reichow is one of the longest-serving employees in the NFL. His longevity and success in the fickle “Not For Long” league is all the more impressive considering his background when entering the personnel department in 1965. Jerry Reichow currently resides in Santa Fe, NM with his wife Carolyn Reichow.


Layne is both a surname and a given name. Notable people with the name include:


Bobby Layne

David Layne

Jerry Layne

Kenny Layne

Lancelot Layne

Marcia Layne, British playwright

Oscar Willis Layne

Shontelle Layne

Tamirat LayneGiven name:

Layne Abeley, character from Lisi Harrison's The Clique Series.

Layne Beachley, seven time women's surf World Champion

Layne Flack, poker professional

Layne Redmond. American drummer, writer and teacher

Layne Staley, deceased lead singer of Alice in Chains

List of Detroit Lions starting quarterbacks

These quarterbacks have started at least one game for the Detroit Lions of the National Football League. They are listed in order of the date of each player's first start at quarterback for the Lions.

List of Pittsburgh Steelers starting quarterbacks

These quarterbacks have started at least one game for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League.

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