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Detroit Lions

From Academic Kids

Template:NFL team The Detroit Lions are a National Football League team based in Detroit, Michigan.

Founded: 1930 in Portsmouth, Ohio
Formerly known as: Portsmouth Spartans (1930-1933)
Home field: Ford Field
Previous home fields:
Universal Stadium, Portsmouth, Ohio 1930-1933
University of Detroit Stadium (1934-1937)
Tiger Stadium (1935-1974)
Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac, Michigan (1975-2001)
Uniform colors: Honolulu blue, silver, and black.
Helmet design: Silver helmet with a blue lion outlined in black; black facemask
League championships won: 1935, 1952, 1953, 1957
Contents

Franchise history

As the Portsmouth Spartans, the franchise played in an unscheduled NFL championship game against the Chicago Bears in 1932. The Spartans-Bears game was played because both teams ended the regular season with the same won-lost percentage (the Spartans finished at 6-1-4 while the Bears were 6-1-6; ties were not reckoned as part of the percentage in the NFL until 1972). The Bears won the game, 9-0, and the resulting interest led to the establishment of Eastern and Western conferences and a regular championship game beginning in 1933.

Poor revenues led to the team's move from Portsmouth, Ohio to Detroit in 1934. That season, Detroit hosted its first ever Thanksgiving Day game, a tradition continued to this day.

Under quarterback Dutch Clark, Detroit won its first NFL championship in 1935. In 1943, the Lions and the New York Giants played to a 0-0 tie at Detroit - the last time an NFL game has ended with that score.

Detroit enjoyed its greatest success in the 1950s, led by QB Bobby Layne. They won the league championship in 1952, 1953, and 1957.

On January 7, 1961, the Lions defeated the Cleveland Browns 17-16 in the first-ever Playoff Bowl matching the runners-up from the two conferences into which the NFL was divided at the time (the Lions also appeared in the game in both of the next two years pursuant to their having finished second to the Green Bay Packers in the Western Conference in all three seasons; the Playoff Bowl was abolished in 1970 when the merger of the NFL and AFL went into full effect).

In the mid-1960s, the Lions served as the backdrop for the humorous sports literature of George Plimpton, who spent time in the Lions training camp masquerading as a player. This was the basic material for his book Paper Lion, later made into a film.

Motown soul singer Marvin Gaye made plans, after the death of duet partner Tammi Terrell, to join the Lions and go into football. He gained weight and trained for his tryout in 1970, but was cut early on. He remained friends with a number of the players, particularly Mel Farr and Lem Barney, who appear on his 1971 classic single "What's Going On."

In 1980, the Lions drafted running back Billy Sims with the first overall pick in the NFL draft. Led by Sims, the team got off to a promising start that year and attracted considerable media attention when they adopted "Another One Bites The Dust," popularized by glam rock band Queen, as an unofficial team song.

In 1991, the Lions reached the NFC championship game after having been shut out 45-0 by the Washington Redskins on opening day; they also lost to the Redskins in the NFC championship game that year by a score of 41-10. This was the first time a team that had been shut out in its opener had reached the conference title round, and would remain the only such occasion until both the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots did likewise in 2003 (with New England going on to win the Super Bowl).

The team has had considerable difficulty remaining competitive in recent years, going the entire 2001, 2002 and 2003 seasons without a road victory, thus becoming the only team in NFL history not to win on the road for three consecutive entire seasons. The streak, encompassing 24 games (also an NFL record) came to an end on September 12, 2004, when the Lions defeated the Bears 20-16 at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Players of note

Pro Football Hall of Famers

Current players

Retired numbers

Not to be forgotten

External Links


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