The Detroit Lions are a professional American football team based in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league's National Football Conference (NFC) North division. The team plays its home games at Ford Field in Downtown Detroit.
Originally based in Portsmouth, Ohio and called the Portsmouth Spartans, the team formally joined the NFL on July 12, 1930 and began play in the 1930 season. Despite success within the NFL, they could not survive in Portsmouth, then the NFL's smallest city. The team was purchased and relocated to Detroit for the 1934 season.
The Lions have won four NFL championships, tied for 9th overall in total championships among all 32 NFL franchises; however, their last was in 1957, which gives the club the second-longest NFL championship drought behind the Arizona Cardinals. They are one of four current teams and the only NFC team to have not yet played in the Super Bowl. They are also the only franchise to have been in operation for all 52 seasons of the Super Bowl era without having appeared in one (the Cleveland Browns were not in operation for the 1996 to 1998 seasons).
|Established July 12, 1930|
First season: 1930
Play in Ford Field
Headquartered in Allen Park, Michigan
|Team colors||Honolulu blue, silver|
|Fight song||Gridiron Heroes|
|Mascot||Roary the Lion|
Theo "Gridiron" Spight
|Owner(s)||Martha Firestone Ford|
|Chairman||Martha Firestone Ford|
|General manager||Bob Quinn|
|Head coach||Matt Patricia|
|League championships (4)|
|Conference championships (4)|
|Division championships (8)|
|Playoff appearances (17)|
Aside from a brief change to maroon in 1948 instituted by then head coach Bo McMillin (influenced by his years as coach at Indiana), the Lions uniforms have basically remained the same since the team debuted in 1930. The design consists of silver helmets, silver pants, and either blue or white jerseys.
The shade of blue used for Lions uniforms and logos is officially known as "Honolulu blue", which is supposedly inspired by the color of the waves off the coast of Hawaii. The shade was chosen by Cy Huston in 1935. Houston, the Lions' first vice president and general manager, said of the choice: "They had me looking at so many blues I am blue in the face", Houston said about the selection. "But anyway, it's the kind of blue, I am told, that will match with silver."
There have been minor changes to the uniform design throughout the years, such as changing the silver stripe patterns on the jersey sleeves, and changing the colors of the jersey numbers. "TV numbers", which are auxiliary uniform numbers to help TV broadcasters identify players from the line of scrimmage, were added to the jersey sleeves in 1956. White trim was added to the logo in 1970. In 1998, the team wore blue pants with their white jerseys along with grey socks but dropped that combination after the season. In 1999, the "TV numbers" on the sleeves were moved to the shoulders.
In 1994, every NFL team wore throwback jerseys, and the Lions' were similar to the jerseys used during their 1935 championship season. The helmets and pants were solid silver, the jerseys Honolulu blue with silver numbers and the jersey did not have "TV numbers" on the sleeves. The team wore solid blue socks along with black shoes. The helmets also did not have a logo, as helmets were simple leather back then. The Lions also wore '50s-style jerseys during their traditional Thanksgiving Day games from 2001 to 2004 as the NFL encouraged teams to wear throwback jerseys on Thanksgiving Day.
In 2003, the team added black trim to their logo and the jerseys. The face masks on the helmet changed from blue to black with the introduction of the new color. Additionally, an alternate home field jersey which makes black the dominant color (in place of Honolulu Blue) was introduced in 2005.
For 2008, the team dropped the black alternate jerseys in favor of a throwback uniform to commemorate the franchise's 75th anniversary. The throwback uniform became the team's permanent alternate jersey in 2009, replacing the former black alternate. The Lions officially unveiled new logo designs and uniforms on April 20, 2009. The lion on the helmet now has a flowing mane and fangs, and the typeface of "Lions" is more modern.
On February 1, 2017, the Lions announced a new typeface, logo, and the complete removal of the color black from the team identity. The team "made it a priority to emphasize our classic color combination of Honolulu blue and silver, which has been synonymous with the Detroit Lions since 1934." The new logo is identical to the old, except with a silver border instead of a black one. The Lions then unveiled the club's new uniforms on April 13, 2017. The Lions also added the initials "WCF" to the left sleeve as a permanent tribute to William Clay Ford, who owned the team from 1963 until his death in 2014. The sleeve addition replaces the black "WCF" patch on the left breast that was added after Ford's death.
Detroit Lions roster
|Detroit Lions retired numbers|
|22||Bobby Layne||QB, K||1950–1958|
|37||Doak Walker||HB, K, P||1950–1955|
|85||Chuck Hughes 1||WR||1970–1971|
|Detroit Lions Hall of Famers|
|20||Lem Barney||DB||1967–1977||1992||22||Bobby Layne||QB||1950–1958||1967|
|24||Jack Christiansen||DB||1951–1958||1970||44||Dick LeBeau||DB||1959–1972||2010|
|76||Lou Creekmur||G/T||1950–1959||1996||39||Hugh McElhenny||HB||1964||1970|
|77||Curley Culp||DT||1980–1981||2013||20||Barry Sanders||RB||1989–1998||2004|
|35||Bill Dudley||HB||1947–1949||1966||88||Charlie Sanders||TE||1968–1977||2007|
|72||Frank Gatski||C||1957||1985||56||Joe Schmidt||LB
|35||John Henry Johnson||FB||1957–1959||1987||63||Dick Stanfel||OG||1952–1955||2016|
|81||Dick "Night Train" Lane||CB||1960–1965||1974||37||Doak Walker||HB||1950–1955||1986|
|28||Yale Lary||DB, P||1952–1953
|1979||50||Alex Wojciechowicz||C, LB||1938–1946||1968|
Detroit Lions staff
The Lions have been a part of multiple divisions and have had several division rivals in their existence. Their oldest rivals are the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers, whom they have been paired with in a division since 1933. The Minnesota Vikings have been in a division with Detroit ever since their inaugural season in 1961. Other notable longtime division opponents were the Cleveland/Los Angeles Rams (29 seasons from 1937–1966, except for 1943), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (25 seasons from 1977–2001), the San Francisco 49ers (17 seasons from 1950–1966), the Chicago Cardinals (16 seasons from 1933–1949, except for 1944), and the Baltimore Colts (14 seasons from 1953–1966).
The Lions also have a preseason rivalry with the Cleveland Browns, dubbed the Great Lakes Classic. The two teams have been playing for The Barge Trophy since 2002. The Lions and Browns had a solid rivalry in the 1950s, when they met four times for the NFL championship (Detroit won three of the matchups); they have met much less frequently during the regular season since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger due to the Browns' move to the AFC.
The team moved to WJR for the 2016 NFL season, ending a 20-year relationship with CBS Radio-owned WXYT-FM. The decision to part with WXYT was reportedly instigated by a demand by the team for the station to fire on-air personality Mike Valenti—who has had a history of making comments critical of the Lions during his drive-time show—as a condition of any future renewal. A CBS Radio spokesperson stated that their refusal was meant to maintain the station's integrity.
In 2015, WJBK took over from WXYZ-TV as the flagship station for Lions preseason games. The announcers are Matt Shepard with play-by-play, Rob Rubick and Nate Burleson with color commentary, and FOX2's Jennifer Hammond with sideline reports. Wraparound shows and preseason games are produced by Fox Sports Detroit which also airs replays of the broadcasts.
Regular season games are broadcast regionally on Fox, except when the Lions play an AFC team in Detroit, in which case the game airs regionally on CBS. The Thanksgiving Day game in Detroit is always televised nationally on either Fox (odd-numbered years) or CBS (even-numbered years). The Detroit Lions were the last NFC team to play on NBC's Sunday Night Football since the network got began airing Sunday night games in 2006 (the Lions at Saints game on December 4, 2011 marked their 1st appearance; Sunday night games are aried on WDIV). The Lions' official regular season pregame show is The Ford Lions Report.
The Lions' winless performance in 2008 and 2–14 season in 2009, coupled with the effects of the Great Recession in Michigan, led to several local broadcast blackouts, as local fans did not purchase enough tickets by the 72-hour blackout deadline. In 2008, five of the Lions' final six home games of the season did not sell out, with the Thanksgiving game being the exception. The first blackout in the then seven-year history of Ford Field was on October 26, 2008, against the Washington Redskins. The previous 50 regular season home games had been sellouts. The second home game of the 2009 season in which the Lions broke the losing streak (also against the Washington Redskins) was blacked out locally, as well as the comeback victory over the Cleveland Browns. The Lions had only one blackout in 2010, yet another Washington Redskins game, which the Lions won 37–25. However, in 2015, the NFL suspended its blackout policies, meaning that all Lions games will be shown on local TV, regardless of tickets sold.
The 1954 Detroit Lions season was their 25th in the league. The team failed to improve on their previous season's output of 10–2, winning only nine games. They qualified for the Championship for the third consecutive season.1970 Detroit Lions season
The 1970 Detroit Lions season was the 41st season in franchise history. With a record of 10–4, the Lions finished in second place in the NFC Central and qualified for the postseason for the first time since their championship season in 1957. The Lions fell 5–0 to the Dallas Cowboys in the lowest scoring game in NFL playoff history. One unusual loss during the regular season was to the New Orleans Saints on Week 8. The Lions had a 17–16 lead with only 2 seconds left, but Saints kicker Tom Dempsey booted a then-record 63-yard field goal as time expired to give the Saints a 19–17 win.1992 Detroit Lions season
The 1992 Detroit Lions season was the 63rd season in franchise history. After going 12–4 from the 1991 season, the Lions took a step back as they posted a disappointing 5-11 record despite another Pro Bowl season from Barry Sanders, who passed Billy Sims for the franchise record in rushing on November 22. The Lions were expected to once again challenge for the NFC title.1996 Detroit Lions season
The 1996 Detroit Lions season was their 67th in the National Football League (NFL). The team declined severely from their previous season's output of 10–6. Following a 4-2 start, the Lions would proceed to lose nine of their final ten games to finish 5-11, missing the playoffs for the first time in four seasons.Following the season, longtime head coach Wayne Fontes was fired and Bobby Ross was hired to be the team's head coach the following season.2015 Detroit Lions season
The 2015 Detroit Lions season was the franchise's 86th season in the National Football League, their 82nd as the Detroit Lions and the second under Head Coach Jim Caldwell. By Week 7 of the season, the Lions had already lost six games, more than they did in the entire 2014 season. This led to the firing of Offensive Coordinator Joe Lombardi and two other coaches. After falling to 1–7 the following week, the team fired President Tom Lewand and General Manager Martin Mayhew. On November 19, the Lions named Rod Wood as team President. The Lions were eliminated from playoff contention after their loss to St. Louis in week 14. The team had a 6–2 record in the second half of the season to finish at 7–9, good for third place in the NFC North. One highlight of the season was the Lions first win in Green Bay since 1991.Bears–Lions rivalry
The Bears–Lions rivalry is a National Football League (NFL) rivalry between the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions. The franchises first met in 1930 when the Lions were known as the Portsmouth Spartans and based in Portsmouth, Ohio. They moved to Detroit for the 1934 season. The Bears and Lions have been division rivals since 1933 and have usually met twice a season since the Lions franchise began. The two teams play in the two largest metropolitan areas in the Midwest. Also, Chicago and Detroit’s home stadiums, Soldier Field and Ford Field, are 280 miles apart and easily accessible from I-94.
This rivalry is also the longest-running annual series in the NFL as both teams have met at least once a season since 1930. (Due to the 1982 strike, the Bears–Packers rivalry was not played that season.) However, one of the two meetings between both teams was cancelled during Week 3 of the 1987 season, which does not make this rivalry the longest-running continuous series in the NFL (that feat belongs to the Lions–Packers rivalry, who have met at least twice a season since 1932 without any cancelled meetings).Calvin Johnson
Calvin Johnson Jr. (born September 29, 1985) is a former American football wide receiver who is widely regarded as one of the greatest wide receivers of all time despite his early retirement at age 29 in 2016. A two-time All-American at Georgia Tech, Johnson was selected second overall by the Detroit Lions of the National Football League in the 2007 NFL Draft, and he played for the Lions for all of his professional career.
On March 14, 2012, Johnson signed an eight-year, $132 million contract extension with the Lions, one of the largest sports contracts ever.
Johnson had a rare combination of size (6 ft 5 in and 239 lbs), catching ability, speed (40-yard dash in 4.35 seconds), strength, leaping ability, and body control. He was nicknamed Megatron, after a Transformers character; the name was given to him by Lions teammate Roy Williams and caught on with fans.
On December 22, 2012, Johnson broke Jerry Rice's single-season record of 1,848 receiving yards, and finished the 2012 season with 1,964 yards, an average of almost 123 yards per game. In that same game versus the Atlanta Falcons, Johnson also set the NFL records for consecutive 100-yard games (8, later tied by Adam Thielen) and consecutive games with 10 or more receptions (4). He tied Michael Irvin's record for most 100-yard games in a season with 11.Charlie Sanders
Charles Alvin Sanders (August 25, 1946 – July 2, 2015) was an American football player who played tight end for the Detroit Lions of the National Football League from 1968 to 1977. Sanders was chosen for the NFL's 1970s All-Decade Team and voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007.Danny Amendola
Daniel James Amendola (; born November 2, 1985) is an American football wide receiver for the Detroit Lions of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Texas Tech. He was signed by the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2008, played four seasons with the St. Louis Rams from 2009 to 2012, played with the New England Patriots from 2013 to 2017 and the Miami Dolphins in 2018.Detroit Lions Radio Network
The Detroit Lions Radio Network is a radio network that broadcasts all of the NFL's Detroit Lions games and related programming. All preseason, regular season, and postseason games are aired live throughout the network. WJR (760 AM) in Detroit is its flagship station. As a maximum power clear-channel station, WJR can be heard carrying Lions games from hundreds of miles away on clear nights. The announcers are WJBK (Fox 2) sports director Dan Miller with play-by-play and former Lions offensive tackle Lomas Brown with color commentary. Network coverage begins one hour before game time and ends one hour after the game's conclusion.Lions–Packers rivalry
The Lions–Packers rivalry is an NFL rivalry between the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers. They first met in 1930 when the Lions were known as the Portsmouth Spartans and based in Portsmouth, Ohio. The team eventually moved to Detroit for the 1934 season.
The Lions and Packers have been division rivals since 1933, having both played in the NFL's Western Conference from 1933 to 1970 and in the NFC North since 1970 (known as the NFC Central from 1970 to 2001). They have always met at least twice a season since 1932, without any cancelled games between both rivals (as of today). This is therefore the longest continuously-running rivalry in the NFL.
Green Bay is one of three teams with a winning record against all of their divisional opponents with 100-plus head-to-head games played (along with the Dallas Cowboys and the Kansas City Chiefs). Detroit is one of only two teams with a losing record against all of their divisional opponents with 100-plus head-to-head games played (along with the Los Angeles Chargers). This holds true as of the end of the 2018 season.Lions–Vikings rivalry
The Lions–Vikings rivalry is an American football rivalry between the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings.The Lions and Vikings have been battling since the Vikings entered the league in 1961. Minnesota has dominated the series; however, Detroit has given the Vikings many close games over the years. The Vikings went 3–8–1 against Detroit before Bud Grant became the head coach of the Vikings in 1967.List of Detroit Lions first-round draft picks
The Detroit Lions are a professional American football team based in Detroit, Michigan. They are members of the North Division of the National Football Conference (NFC) in the National Football League (NFL), and play their home games at Ford Field in Downtown Detroit.
Originally based in Portsmouth, Ohio and called the Portsmouth Spartans, the team began play in 1929 as an independent professional team, one of many such teams in the Ohio and Scioto River valleys. For the 1930 season, the Spartans formally joined the NFL as the other area independents folded because of the Great Depression. Despite success within the NFL, they could not survive in Portsmouth, then the NFL's smallest city. The team was purchased and moved to Detroit for the 1934 season.
The Lions have won four NFL Championships, tied for 9th overall in total championships amongst all 32 NFL franchises; although the last was in 1957, which gives the club the second-longest NFL championship drought behind the Arizona Cardinals. They are one of four current teams to have never played in the Super Bowl.List of Detroit Lions head coaches
The Detroit Lions are a professional American football team based in Detroit, Michigan. They are currently a member of the North Division of the National Football Conference (NFC) in the National Football League (NFL). The franchise has had a total of 27 head coaches in team history, which includes its existence as the Portsmouth (Ohio) Spartans (1930–1933). In the 1934 NFL season, the franchise moved to Detroit and changed their name to the Lions.
George "Potsy" Clark is the only coach to have more than one tenure. Three different coaches have won NFL championships with the team: Potsy Clark in 1935, Buddy Parker in 1952 and 1953, and George Wilson in 1957. Wayne Fontes is the all-time leader in games coached and wins, and Clark leads all coaches in winning percentage with .679 (with at least one full season coached). John Karcis is statistically the worst coach the Lions have had as he never won a game. Karcis is followed by Marty Mornhinweg with a winning percentage of .156.
Of the 27 Lions coaches, two have been elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Dutch Clark and Joe Schmidt. Gus Dorais was inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1954. Several former players have been head coach for the Lions, including Dutch Edwards, Buddy Parker, Harry Gilmer, Joe Schmidt, and Dick Jauron. The current head coach of the Lions is Matt Patricia, who was hired on February 5, 2018.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.Matt Millen
Matthew George Millen (born March 12, 1958) is an American former National Football League linebacker and former executive. Millen played for the Oakland Raiders, the San Francisco 49ers and the Washington Redskins. In Millen's 12-year NFL playing career, he played on four teams that won the Super Bowl. Millen won a Super Bowl ring with each of the three teams for which he played; moreover, he won a Super Bowl ring in each of the four cities in which he played (the Raiders won championships in both Oakland and Los Angeles during his tenure).After his playing career, Millen was President and chief executive officer of the Detroit Lions from 2001 until week 4 of the 2008 NFL season. His eight-year tenure as head of the franchise led to the worst eight-year record in the history of the modern NFL (31-84, a .270 winning percentage), and resulted in his termination on September 24, 2008. Millen assembled the personnel and coaching staff of the 2008 Lions, which became the first team to go 0-16. This was the sole worst single-season record in league history until it was tied by the 2017 Cleveland Browns. He is generally regarded as the worst, or one of the worst, general managers in the history of modern sports.Following his NFL career, he was a football commentator for several national television and radio networks. His last job before joining the Lions was as a member of the number two broadcast team for NFL on Fox, as well as being the color commentator for Monday Night Football on Westwood One. On February 1, 2009, he joined the NBC broadcast team for pre-game analysis of Super Bowl XLIII. He has also been employed by ESPN as an NFL and college football analyst, and by NFL Network as a color commentator on Thursday Night Football. In 2015, Millen returned to Fox NFL and debuted on Big Ten Network.Matthew Stafford
John Matthew Stafford (born February 7, 1988) is an American football quarterback for the Detroit Lions of the National Football League (NFL). He was raised in Dallas, Texas, and went to Highland Park High School. He attended the University of Georgia, where he played football for the Bulldogs, and was drafted by the Lions first overall in the 2009 NFL Draft.
Stafford is the fourth quarterback in NFL history besides to throw for over 5,000 yards in a single season, being one of three players to do it in 2011, and is the fastest player in NFL history to reach 30,000 yards in (109 games). Stafford also holds the NFL record for the most comeback wins in a season, recording eight in the 2016 NFL season. In 2017, he signed a $135-million contract extension with the Lions, making him the highest-paid player in NFL history at the time.NFL on Thanksgiving Day
Since its inception in 1920, the National Football League has played games on Thanksgiving Day, patterned upon the historic playing of college football games on and around the Thanksgiving holiday.
Since 1978, the NFL's Thanksgiving Day games have traditionally included one game hosted by the Detroit Lions, and one game hosted by the Dallas Cowboys. Since 2006, with the advent of the NFL's then-new Thursday Night Football package, a third primetime game has also been played on Thanksgiving (which, in 2012, was moved to the NFL's flagship primetime package). Unlike the traditional afternoon games, this game has no fixed host and has featured different teams annually.Trey Flowers
Robert Lee "Trey" Flowers III (born August 16, 1993) is an American football defensive end for the Detroit Lions of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Arkansas.
|Division championships (4)|
|Conference championships (4)|
|League championships (4)|
|Current league affiliations|
Championship seasons in bold