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Detroit Lions

In today's article we are going to explore the exciting world of Detroit Lions. From its origins to its relevance today, we will delve into all aspects related to Detroit Lions. Throughout history, Detroit Lions has played a fundamental role in society, impacting various areas such as culture, economy and politics. Through this article, we will discover the importance of Detroit Lions and how it has evolved over time. Get ready to immerse yourself in a fascinating journey through Detroit Lions!

Detroit Lions
Current season
Established July 12, 1930 (July 12, 1930)
First season: 1930
Play in Ford Field
Detroit, Michigan
Headquartered in Allen Park, Michigan
Detroit Lions logo
Detroit Lions logo
Detroit Lions wordmark
Detroit Lions wordmark
LogoWordmark
League/conference affiliations

National Football League (1930–present)

Current uniform
Team colorsHonolulu blue, silver, white, black
       
Fight songGridiron Heroes
MascotRoary the Lion
Websitedetroitlions.com
Personnel
Owner(s)Sheila Ford Hamp
ChairmanSheila Ford Hamp
PresidentRod Wood
General managerBrad Holmes
Head coachDan Campbell
Team history
Championships
League championships (4)
Conference championships (4)
Division championships (5)
Playoff appearances (19)
Home fields
Team owner(s)

The Detroit Lions are a professional American football team based in Detroit. The Lions compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member of the National Football Conference (NFC) North Division. The team plays their home games at Ford Field in Downtown Detroit.

The franchise was founded in Portsmouth, Ohio as the Portsmouth Spartans and joined the NFL on July 12, 1930. Amid financial struggles, the franchise was relocated to Detroit in 1934 and renamed the Lions in reference to the city's Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise, the Detroit Tigers.

The Lions won four NFL Championship Games between 1935 and 1957. Following the 1957 championship, the franchise did not win a playoff game until the 1991 season and did not win another until the 2023 season. They are the only franchise operational for the entirety of the Super Bowl era to not appear in the Super Bowl.

Franchise history

Logos and uniforms

Billy Sims (No. 20) rushing the ball against the Los Angeles Rams on September 7, 1980

Aside from a brief change to scarlet and black from 1948 to 1950 instituted by then head coach Bo McMillin, which was influenced by his years as coach at Indiana, the Lions' uniforms have basically remained the same since they moved to Detroit in 1934–silver helmets, silver pants, and either blue or white jerseys.

Glenn Presnell, the then last surviving member of the 1934 Lions, recalled that after the Portsmouth Spartans relocated to Detroit, team owner George A. Richards asked him and his wife to pick the Lions' colors from combinations that included red and white, orange and black, and blue and silver. The Presnells liked blue and silver the best, so Richards selected it. The blue used by the Lions is officially known as "Honolulu blue", which is inspired by the color of the waves off the coast of Hawaii.

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, with outlines (white on the blue jersey, silver on the white jersey) added to the numbers in 1972; the color arrangement on the numbers on the blue jerseys was reversed in 1982. The silver facemasks became blue in 1984. 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 wore 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 and black cleats. The helmets also did not have logos, as helmets were simple leather back then. The Lions also wore 1950s-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 jerseys. The facemasks on the helmet changed from blue to black with the introduction of the new color. In 2005, the team introduced an alternate, black, jersey.

For 2008, the team dropped the black jersey 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 a new logo and uniforms on April 20, 2009. The logo was given a flowing mane and fangs, while the typeface featured a modern font.

The Detroit Lions' uniform design from 2017 through 2023.

On February 1, 2017, the Lions announced a new typeface, logo, and the complete removal of the color black from the team identity. While the previous logo was retained, the border was changed from black to silver. The Lions then unveiled the new uniforms on April 13, 2017, which include the white jersey and blue pants combo for the first time since 1998. They introduced an alternate all-grey uniform, an alternate all-Honolulu blue uniform, and a helmet with a silver face mask. 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.

On September 20, 2021, the Lions wore white pants with their road white uniforms against the Green Bay Packers. The white pants, which lacked striping, were previously worn during the "scarlet and black" era in the 1948 and 1949 seasons.

On April 12, 2023, the Lions announced they would celebrate their 90th season in franchise history during the 2023 season with a commemorative logo and jersey patch. The inspiration for the patch is an homage to their logo from 1961 to 1969, which is also honored in the WCF memorial logo and the 60th commemorative season logo. On June 21, 2023, the Lions unveiled an alternate blue helmet. The helmet, which features the 1960s logo, was paired with the grey uniform. This was the first time the Lions wore a blue helmet since 1955.

On April 18, 2024, the Lions unveiled a new jersey set. The home jersey, referred to as "One Pride", features a redefined Honolulu blue with white block numbers trimmed in silver and sleeves striped in silver with white accents. The home jersey will be paired with silver pants with Honolulu blue stripes with white accents or solid Honolulu blue pants. The road white jersey, referred to as "the 313", features Honolulu blue block numbers, stripes trimmed in silver, and a Honolulu blue "Detroit" wordmark on the front. The road jersey will be paired with solid Honolulu blue or solid white pants. The primary silver helmet with a Honolulu blue face mask and Honolulu blue stripes with white accents will be worn with the home and road jerseys. The black alternate jersey, referred to as "Motor City Muscle", features Honolulu blue numbers and stripes trimmed in silver along with a "Lions" wordmark on the front. It will be worn with the alternate Honolulu blue helmet featuring black stripes with silver accents and the leaping lion logo in black with silver accents. The black jersey will be paired with solid black or solid Honolulu blue pants. The black jersey was a favorite of head coach Dan Campbell, who wore the original version during his playing days. According to Lions team president Rod Wood, it was Campbell who lobbied for the black jersey to return, which happened after the Lions won the NFC North division title in 2023. The throwback jersey was retained and updated with the refreshed Honolulu blue. The throwback jersey will be retained with a silver helmet that will be worn with a silver or a Honolulu blue face mask. The William Clay Ford (WCF) memorial decal has been placed on the back of the primary and alternate helmets.

Thanksgiving Day tradition

The Lions, seen here during the 2007 Thanksgiving game against their division rival Green Bay Packers, have played on Thanksgiving since 1934 with the exception of the years during World War II.

In 1934, then team owner George A. Richards, who also was the owner of a major radio affiliate of the NBC Blue Network, WJR in Detroit, the forerunner to today's ABC, negotiated an agreement with NBC to carry his Thanksgiving game live across all of the network's stations. Excluding the years of 1939–1944, due to World War II, the Lions have played on Thanksgiving ever since.

Players of note

Current roster

Quarterbacks

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen

Linebackers

Defensive backs

Special teams


Rookies in italics

Roster updated June 18, 2024

89 active

AFC rostersNFC rosters
Calvin Johnson
Bobby Layne
Barry Sanders
Charlie Sanders
Joe Schmidt
Doak Walker

Retired numbers

Detroit Lions retired numbers
No. Player Position Tenure Retired
7 Dutch Clark QB 1931–1932
1934–1938
October 15, 1939
20 Lem Barney CB 1967–1977 November 25, 2004
Billy Sims RB 1980–1984
Barry Sanders RB 1989–1998
22 Bobby Layne QB, K 1950–1958
37 Doak Walker HB, K, P 1950–1955 December 11, 1955
56 Joe Schmidt 1 LB 1953–1965
85 Chuck Hughes 2 WR 1970–1971

Notes:

  • 1 The No. 56 was temporarily unretired with Schmidt's blessing when the Lions acquired linebacker Pat Swilling from the New Orleans Saints. No player has worn it since Swilling left.
  • 2 Posthumous. Hughes died of a heart attack during a game on October 24, 1971, and his No. 85 was withdrawn from circulation. Over the years, however, the number would return to circulation.

Special cases

  • The Lions retired No. 93 for the 2009 season after Corey Smith disappeared, presumed dead, when a boat he was fishing in with friends capsized off the Florida coast. The Lions also wore 93 decals on their helmets that season. The number was assigned to Kyle Vanden Bosch in 2010.

Pro Football Hall of Fame members

Pride of the Lions

In 2009, the Pride of the Lions was established. The Pride of the Lions is the ring of honor for the franchise's greatest players.

Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
Pride of the Lions
No. Player Position Tenure Inducted
20 Lem Barney CB 1967–1977 2009
75 Lomas Brown OT 1985–1995 2023
76 Roger Brown DT 1960–1966 2018
24 Jack Christiansen DB 1951–1958 2009
7, 12, 19 Dutch Clark QB 1931–1932
1934–1938
2009
76 Lou Creekmur G/T 1950–1959 2009
4 Jason Hanson K 1992–2012 2013
71 Alex Karras DT 1958–1962
1964–1970
2018
81 Dick "Night Train" Lane CB 1960–1965 2009
28 Yale Lary DB, P 1952–1953
1956–1964
2009
22 Bobby Layne QB 1950–1958 2009
24, 44 Dick LeBeau DB 1959–1972 2010
84 Herman Moore WR 1991–2001 2018
20 Barry Sanders RB 1989–1998 2009
88 Charlie Sanders TE 1968–1977 2009
56 Joe Schmidt LB 1953–1965 2009
54 Chris Spielman LB 1988–1995 2021
63 Dick Stanfel OG 1952–1955 2016
37 Doak Walker HB 1950–1955 2009
30, 50 Alex Wojciechowicz C, LB 1938–1946 2009

75th Season All-Time Team

On November 9, 2008, the Lions honored the 75th Season All-Time Team during halftime against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The team was chosen via an online fan poll and selection committee. Bold indicates those elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

75th Season All-Time Team
No. Player Position Tenure
6 Jim Arnold P 1986–1993
60 Al Baker DE 1978–1982
20 Lem Barney CB 1967–1977
36 Bennie Blades DB 1988–1996
75 Lomas Brown T 1985–1995
76 Roger Brown DT 1960–1966
19, 24 Jack Christiansen DB 1951–1958
7, 12, 19 Dutch Clark QB 1931–1932
1934–1938
89 Gail Cogdill WR 1960–1968
76 Lou Creekmur G/T 1950–1959
25 Jim David DB 1952–1959
44 Don Doll DB 1949–1952
78 Doug English DT 1975–1985
54 Ed Flanagan C 1965–1974
53 Kevin Glover C 1985–1997
75 John Gordy OG 1957–1967
23 Mel Gray KR/PR 1989–1994
4 Jason Hanson 1 K 1992–2012
71 Alex Karras DT 1958–1962
1964–1970
81 Dick "Night Train" Lane CB 1960–1965
28 Yale Lary DB, P 1952–1953
1956–1964
22 Bobby Layne QB 1950–1958
24, 44 Dick LeBeau DB 1959–1972
84 Herman Moore WR 1991–2001
3 Eddie Murray K 1980–1991
91 Robert Porcher DE 1992–2003
20 Barry Sanders RB 1989–1998
88 Charlie Sanders TE 1968–1977
30 Cory Schlesinger FB 1995–2006
56 Joe Schmidt LB 1953–1965
66 Harley Sewell OG 1953–1962
20 Billy Sims RB 1980–1984
54 Chris Spielman LB 1988–1995
37 Doak Walker HB 1950–1955
55 Wayne Walker LB 1958–1972
30, 50 Alex Wojciechowicz C, LB 1938–1946

Note:

  • 1 Hanson was active at the time of the selection.

Lions All-Time Team

On September 29, 2019, the Lions honored their All-Time Team in celebration of the NFL's centennial during halftime against the Kansas City Chiefs. The team was chosen via fan voting, contributions from the Detroit Lions Legends Community, team executives, and select members of the media. Bold indicates those elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Lions All-Time Team
No. Player Position Tenure
60 Al Baker DE 1978–1982
20 Lem Barney CB 1967–1977
36 Bennie Blades DB 1988–1996
75 Lomas Brown T 1985–1995
76 Roger Brown DT 1960–1966
19, 24 Jack Christiansen DB 1951–1958
7, 12, 19 Dutch Clark QB 1931–1932
1934–1938
89 Gail Cogdill WR 1960–1968
76 Lou Creekmur G/T 1950–1959
25 Jim David DB 1952–1959
44 Don Doll DB 1949–1952
7, 20, 56 Ox Emerson G, C, LB 1931–1937
78 Doug English DT 1975–1985
54 Ed Flanagan C 1965–1974
53 Kevin Glover C 1985–1997
23 Mel Gray KR/PR 1989–1994
4 Jason Hanson K 1992–2012
81 Calvin Johnson WR 2007–2015
71 Alex Karras DT 1958–1962
1964–1970
81 Dick "Night Train" Lane CB 1960–1965
28 Yale Lary DB, P 1952–1953
1956–1964
22 Bobby Layne QB 1950–1958
24, 44 Dick LeBeau DB 1959–1972
53 Mike Lucci LB 1965–1973
84 Herman Moore WR 1991–2001
48 Don Muhlbach 1 LS 2004–2020
33 Nick Pietrosante FB 1959–1965
91 Robert Porcher DE 1992–2003
20 Barry Sanders RB 1989–1998
88 Charlie Sanders TE 1968–1977
30 Cory Schlesinger FB 1995–2006
56 Joe Schmidt LB 1953–1965
66 Harley Sewell OG 1953–1962
20 Billy Sims RB 1980–1984
54 Chris Spielman LB 1988–1995
9 Matthew Stafford 1 QB 2009–2020
63 Dick Stanfel OG 1952–1955
37 Doak Walker HB 1950–1955
30, 50 Alex Wojciechowicz C, LB 1938–1946

Note:

  • 1 Stafford and Muhlbach were active at the time of the selection.

Michigan Sports Hall of Fame

Staff

Current staff

Front office
  • Owner – Sheila Ford Hamp
  • Vice chairpeople – William Clay Ford Jr., Martha Ford Morse, Elizabeth Ford Kontulis
  • Team president/CEO – Rod Wood
  • Executive vice president & general manager – Brad Holmes
  • Chief operating officer – Mike Disner
  • Special assistant/chairperson – Chris Spielman
  • Assistant general manager – Ray Agnew
  • Director of college scouting – Brian Hudspeth
  • Director of scouting advancement – Mike Martin
  • Director of pro scouting – Rob Lohman
  • Senior personnel executive – John Dorsey
Head coaches
Offensive coaches
 
Defensive coaches
  • Defensive coordinator – Aaron Glenn
  • Run game coordinator/defensive line – Terrell Williams
  • Assistant defensive line – Cameron Davis
  • Linebackers – Kelvin Sheppard
  • Assistant linebackers – Shaun Dion Hamilton
  • Passing game coordinator/defensive backs – Deshea Townsend
  • Defensive assistant/outside linebackers – David Corrao
  • Defensive assistant – Jim O'Neil
  • WCF minority coaching assistant/defensive quality control – Dré Thompson
Special teams coaches
  • Special teams coordinator – Dave Fipp
  • Assistant special teams – Jett Modkins
Strength and conditioning
  • Director of sports performance – Mike Clark
  • Director of sports science – Jill Costanza
  • Head strength & conditioning – Josh Schuler
  • Assistant strength & conditioning – Morris Henry

Coaching staff
Management
More NFL staffs

Head coaches

Dan Campbell is the current head coach of the Detroit Lions.

The Lions have had 30 head coaches throughout their franchise history. Their first head coach was Hal Griffen, who compiled a 5–6–3 (.464) overall record with the team of 1930. Wayne Fontes was the longest-tenured head coach in Lions history, serving from 1988 to 1996. The current head coach of the Lions is Dan Campbell, who was hired on January 20, 2021.

Offensive coordinators

Name Tenure
No Offensive Coordinator between 1934–1966
Bill McPeak 1967–1972
No Offensive Coordinator between 1973–1975
Ken Shipp 1976
Ed Hughes 1977
Bob Schnelker 1978–1981
Ted Marchibroda 1982–1983
Bill Nelsen 1984
Bob Baker 1985–1988
Dave Levy 1991
Dan Henning 1992–1993
Dave Levy 1994
Tom Moore 1994–1996
Sylvester Croom 1997–2000
Gary Moeller 2000
Maurice Carthon 2001–2002
Sherman Lewis 2003–2004
Ted Tollner 2005
Mike Martz 2006–2007
Jim Colletto 2008
Scott Linehan 2009–2013
Joe Lombardi 2014–2015
Jim Bob Cooter 2015–2018
Darrell Bevell 2019–2020
Anthony Lynn 2021
Ben Johnson 2022–present

Defensive coordinators

Name Tenure
No Defensive Coordinator between 1934–1951
Buster Ramsey 1952–1959
Don Shula 1960–1962
No Defensive Coordinator between 1963–1974
Jimmy Carr (American football) 1975–1976
Fritz Shurmur 1977
No Defensive Coordinator between 1978–1979
Maxie Baughan 1980–1982
Ed Beard 1983–1984
Wayne Fontes 1985–1988
Woody Widenhofer 1989–1992
Hank Bullough 1993
Herb Paterra 1994–1995
Jim Eddy 1996
Larry Peccatiello 1997–2000
Vince Tobin 2001
Kurt Schottenheimer 2002–2003
Dick Jauron 2004–2005
Donnie Henderson 2006
Joe Barry 2007–2008
Gunther Cunningham 2009–2013
Teryl Austin 2014–2017
Paul Pasqualoni 2018–2019
Cory Undlin 2020
Aaron Glenn 2021–present

Special Teams coordinators

Name Tenure
John Bonamego 2019
Brayden Coombs 2020
Dave Fipp 2021–present

Rivalries

Divisional

Chicago Bears

The Lions and Chicago Bears first met in 1930 when the Lions were known as the Portsmouth Spartans. The Bears and Lions have been division rivals since 1933. The Bears lead the series 105–78–5.

Green Bay Packers

The Lions and Green Bay Packers first met in 1929 when the Lions were known as the Portsmouth Spartans. The Lions and Packers have been division rivals since 1933. The Packers lead the series 106–76–7.

Minnesota Vikings

The Lions and Minnesota Vikings have played twice annually since the Vikings entered the NFL in 1961, excluding 1982 due to the strike that occurred that season. The Vikings lead the all-time series 80–43–2.

Former

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Lions and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were also division opponents in the NFL Central fron 1977 to 2001.

Historic

Cleveland Browns

The Lions also share a rivalry with the Cleveland Browns, which began in the 1950s when the Browns and Lions played each other in four NFL Championship Games. The Lions won three of those championships, while the Browns won one. This was one of the NFL's best rivalries in the 1950s. Since the AFL–NFL merger of 1970, the teams have met much less frequently due to the Browns' move to the American Football Conference (AFC). From 2002 to 2014, the two teams played an annual preseason game known as the "Great Lakes Classic".

Radio and television

Map of radio affiliates

Radio

The Lions' flagship radio station is WXYT-FM. Dan Miller does play-by-play, Lomas Brown does color commentary, and T. J. Lang is the sideline reporter.

In 2015, the team announced that they were moving from WXYT-FM to WJR for the 2016 NFL season, ending a 20-year relationship with CBS Radio. 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 critical comments about the Lions during his drivetime show, as a condition of any future renewal. A CBS Radio spokesperson stated that their refusal was meant to maintain the station's integrity.

The Lions' flagship station returned to WXYT-FM starting with the 2021 season.

TV

Preseason

In 2015, WJBK took over from WXYZ-TV as the flagship station for Lions preseason games. In 2023, the announcers were Jason Ross Jr. with play-by-play, Devin Gardner with color commentary, and Dannie Rogers with sideline reports. Games are produced by Bally Sports Detroit.

Regular season

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; however, since 2014, with the institution of the NFL's "cross flex" broadcast rules, any Lions game slated to air on Fox can be moved to CBS. The Thanksgiving Day game in Detroit is always televised nationally, alternating between Fox in odd years and CBS in even years. In 2011, the Lions became the last NFC team to play on NBC's Sunday Night Football since the network began airing Sunday night games in 2006.

Blackouts

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. 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 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 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.

Games were also often blacked out at the Lions' previous home, the 80,000-seat Pontiac Silverdome, despite winning seasons and the success and popularity of star players such as Barry Sanders.

Lions cheerleaders

On June 13, 2016, the Lions announced the addition of cheerleaders to the organization. The team also announced that Rebecca Girard-Smoker, formerly the director of the Detroit Pistons dance team, would be the coach of the cheerleading squad. It marked the first time in over 40 years the team had an official cheerleading squad. The cheerleading squad is a part of the entertainment during football games, and active at community events.

See also

References

Notes

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Bibliography

External links