Detroit Lions

Last updated

Detroit Lions
AmericanFootball current event.svg Current season
Established July 12, 1930;88 years ago (July 12, 1930) [1]
First season: 1930
Play in Ford Field
Detroit, Michigan
Headquartered in Allen Park, Michigan
Detroit Lions logo Detroit Lions logo.svg
Detroit Lions logo
Detroit Lions wordmark Detroit Lions wordmark.svg
Detroit Lions wordmark
LogoWordmark
League/conference affiliations

National Football League (1930 present)

Current uniform
Composite Detroit Lions uniforms 2017.png
Team colorsHonolulu blue, silver [2] [3]
        
Fight song Gridiron Heroes
Mascot Roary the Lion
Theo "Gridiron" Spight
Personnel
Owner(s) Martha Firestone Ford
ChairmanMartha Firestone Ford
PresidentRod Wood
General manager Bob Quinn
Head coach Matt Patricia [4]
Team history
Championships
League championships (4)
Conference championships (4)
Division championships (8)
Playoff appearances (17)
Home fields

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.

American football Team field sport

American football, referred to as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end. The offense, which is the team controlling the oval-shaped football, attempts to advance down the field by running with or passing the ball, while the defense, which is the team without control of the ball, aims to stop the offense's advance and aims to take control of the ball for themselves. The offense must advance at least ten yards in four downs, or plays, and otherwise they turn over the football to the defense; if the offense succeeds in advancing ten yards or more, they are given a new set of four downs. Points are primarily scored by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone for a touchdown or kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal. The team with the most points at the end of a game wins.

Detroit Largest city in Michigan

Detroit is the largest and most populous city in the U.S. state of Michigan, the largest United States city on the United States–Canada border, and the seat of Wayne County. The municipality of Detroit had a 2017 estimated population of 673,104, making it the 23rd-most populous city in the United States. The metropolitan area, known as Metro Detroit, is home to 4.3 million people, making it the second-largest in the Midwest after the Chicago metropolitan area. Regarded as a major cultural center, Detroit is known for its contributions to music and as a repository for art, architecture and design.

National Football League Professional American football league

The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The NFL is one of the four major professional sports leagues in North America, and the highest professional level of American football in the world. The NFL's 17-week regular season runs from early September to late December, with each team playing 16 games and having one bye week. Following the conclusion of the regular season, six teams from each conference advance to the playoffs, a single-elimination tournament culminating in the Super Bowl, which is usually held in the first Sunday in February, and is played between the champions of the NFC and AFC.

Contents

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. [1] 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.

Portsmouth, Ohio City in Ohio, United States

Portsmouth is a city in and the county seat of Scioto County, Ohio, United States. Located in southern Ohio 41 miles (66 km) south of Chillicothe, it lies on the north bank of the Ohio River, across from Kentucky, just east of the mouth of the Scioto River. The population was 20,226 at the 2010 census.

The professional American football team now known as the Detroit Lions previously played in Portsmouth, Ohio from its founding in 1929 to its relocation to Detroit in 1934. This article chronicles the team's history during their time as the Portsmouth Spartans. Originally drawing players from defunct independent professional and semi-pro teams, they joined the fledgling National Football League in 1930. Their home stadium was Universal Stadium.

Relocation of professional sports teams is a practice which involves a sporting club moving from one metropolitan area to another, but occasionally, moves between municipalities in the same conurbation are also included. In North America, a league franchise system is used, and as the teams are generally privately owned and operate according to the wishes of their owners, the practice is much more common there than it is in other areas of the world, where sporting teams are often identified with a specific location. Moving of teams is more commonplace among less-established teams with small or nonexistent fan-bases. Reasons for relocations are commonly motivated by either problems with finances, problems with inadequate facilities, lack of support or the wishes of the owner(s). In most cases, it is a combination of some or all of those problems.

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). [5]

Arizona Cardinals National Football League franchise in Glendale, Arizona

The Arizona Cardinals are a professional American football franchise based in the Phoenix metropolitan area. The Cardinals compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member of the league's National Football Conference (NFC) West division. The Cardinals were founded as the Morgan Athletic Club in 1898, and are the oldest continuously run professional football team in the United States. The Cardinals play their home games at State Farm Stadium, which opened in 2006 and is located in the northwestern suburb of Glendale.

Super Bowl Annual championship game of the National Football League in American football

The Super Bowl is the annual championship game of the National Football League (NFL) where the champion of the National Football Conference (NFC) competes against the champion of the American Football Conference (AFC). The game is the culmination of a regular season that begins in the late summer of the previous calendar year. Normally, Roman numerals are used to identify each game, rather than the year in which it is held. For example, Super Bowl I was played on January 15, 1967, following the 1966 regular season. The sole exception to this naming convention tradition occurred with Super Bowl 50, which was played on February 7, 2016, following the 2015 regular season, and the following year, the nomenclature returned to Roman numerals for Super Bowl LI, following the 2016 regular season. The upcoming Super Bowl is Super Bowl LIV, scheduled for February 2, 2020, following the 2019 regular season.

Franchise history

Logos and uniforms

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. [6] The design consists of silver helmets, silver pants, and either blue or white jerseys.

Bo McMillin American football player and coach

Alvin Nugent "Bo" McMillin was an American football player and coach at the collegiate and professional level. He played college football at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, where he was a three-time All-American at quarterback, and led the Centre Praying Colonels to an upset victory over Harvard in 1921. McMillin was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a player as part of its inaugural 1951 class.

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. [7] Huston, 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", Huston 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.

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.

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. [8] 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. [9]

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." [3] 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. [10] 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. [11]

Home attendance

Home Attendance at Ford Field
YearTotal Attendance
2006 487,116
2007 490,436
2008 435,979
2009 395,162
2010 450,286
2011 509,940
2012 510,158
2013 510,369
2014 504,198
2015 490,782
2016 486,342
2017 513,100
2018 502,361
Source: [12]

Players of note

Current roster

Detroit Lions roster
Quarterbacks

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen

Linebackers

Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists
  • Currently vacant

Unrestricted FAs

Rookies in italics

Roster updated April 28, 2019
Depth chartTransactions
82 Active, 0 Inactive, 9 FAs, 9 Unsigned

AFC rostersNFC rosters

Retired numbers

Detroit Lions retired numbers
No.PlayerPositionTenure
7 Dutch Clark QB 1934–1938
20 Barry Sanders RB 1989–1998
22 Bobby Layne QB, K 1950–1958
37 Doak Walker HB, K, P 1950–1955
56 Joe Schmidt LB 1953–1965
85 Chuck Hughes 1 WR 1970–1971

Notes:

Special cases:

Pro Football Hall of Famers

Detroit Lions Hall of Famers
Players
No.NamePositionsSeasonsInductedNo.NamePositionsSeasonsInducted
20 Lem Barney DB 1967–1977199222 Bobby Layne QB 1950–19581967
24 Jack Christiansen DB 1951–1958197044 Dick LeBeau DB 1959–19722010
7 Dutch Clark QB
Coach
1934–1938
1937–1938
196330 Ollie Matson RB 19631972
76 Lou Creekmur G/T 1950–1959199639 Hugh McElhenny HB 19641970
77 Curley Culp DT 1980–1981201320 Barry Sanders RB 1989–19982004
35 Bill Dudley HB 1947–1949196688 Charlie Sanders TE 1968–19772007
72 Frank Gatski C 1957198556 Joe Schmidt LB
Coach
1953–1965
1967–1972
1973
35 John Henry Johnson FB 1957–1959198763 Dick Stanfel OG 1952–19552016
81 Dick "Night Train" Lane CB 1960–1965197437 Doak Walker HB 1950–19551986
28 Yale Lary DB, P 1952–1953
1956–1964
197950 Alex Wojciechowicz C, LB 1938–19461968

Michigan Sports Hall of Fame

Coaches

Current staff

Detroit Lions staff
Front office
Head coaches
Offensive coaches
 
Defensive coaches
Special teams coaches
Strength and conditioning
Coaching administration

Coaching staff
Management
More NFL staffs

AFC East
BUF
MIA
NE
NYJ
North
BAL
CIN
CLE
PIT
South
HOU
IND
JAX
TEN
West
DEN
KC
LAC
OAK
NFC East
DAL
NYG
PHI
WAS
North
CHI
DET
GB
MIN
South
ATL
CAR
NO
TB
West
ARI
LAR
SF
SEA

Divisions and division rivals

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. [14] The two teams have been playing for The Barge Trophy since 2002. [15] 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.

NFL Western Division: 1933–1949

NFL National Conference: 1950–1952

NFL Western Conference: 1953–1966

NFL Central Division: 1967–1969

NFC Central: 1970–2001

NFC North: 2002present

Radio and television

Radio

The Lions' flagship radio station is WJR 760 AM. Dan Miller does play-by-play, Jim Brandstatter does color commentary, and Tony Ortiz provides sideline reports. [16]

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. [17] [18]

TV

Preseason

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

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 aired on WDIV). The Lions' official regular season pregame show is The Ford Lions Report .

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. 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. [19] However, in 2015, the NFL suspended its blackout policies, meaning that all Lions games will be shown on local TV, regardless of tickets sold. [20]

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.

See also

Notes and references

  1. 1 2 "Detroit Lions Team Facts". Pro Football Hall of Fame . Retrieved October 2, 2017.
  2. "Detroit Lions Team Capsule" (PDF). 2018 Official National Football League Record and Fact Book. NFL Enterprises, LLC. August 9, 2018. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  3. 1 2 "Detroit Lions statement regarding rebranding". DetroitLions.com. NFL Enterprises, LLC. February 1, 2017. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  4. Lewis, Edward (February 5, 2018). "Patriots DC Matt Patricia named head coach of Lions". NFL.com. NFL Enterprises, LLC. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  5. "21 Football Facts to Fake Your Super Bowl Street Cred". EventBrite.com. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
  6. Griffith 2012, p. 144.
  7. Griffith 2012, p. 139.
  8. Kowalski, Tom (February 9, 2009). "Tom Lewand: Lions' black uniforms discarded". The Grand Rapids Press . Retrieved April 25, 2016.
  9. "Lions Unveil New Comprehensive Brand; Team modifies team logo and uniforms and introduces new brand". Detroit Lions. April 20, 2009. Retrieved April 25, 2016.
  10. "Lions unveil new uniforms" (Press release). Detroit Lions. April 13, 2017. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  11. "Why do the Lions have "WCF"' on their jerseys?". SI.com. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
  12. "2017 NFL Football Attendance - National Football League - ESPN". ESPN.com.
  13. "Lions to retire Smith's No. 93 in '09". ESPN. Associated Press. March 21, 2009. Retrieved March 21, 2009.
  14. Baskin, Andy (August 18, 2011). "Baskin: Browns-Lions battle for 'Barge' trophy". WEWS-TV . Retrieved August 10, 2013.
  15. Schudel, Jeff (November 22, 2009). "Great Lakes Classic has lacked luster since its beginning". The Morning Journal . Retrieved March 21, 2009.
  16. "Detroit Lions - Radio Affiliates". Detroit Lions.
  17. "CBS Detroit: Lions censorship demands caused split". The Detroit News. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
  18. "Want to listen to the Lions in 2016? Tune in to WJR-AM". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
  19. Kowalski, Tom (October 28, 2010). "Detroit Lions' game on Sunday will be blacked out locally". MLive.com. The Grand Rapids Press. Retrieved October 29, 2010.
  20. "Why the NFL Finally Lifted Its Blackout Rules". Mensjournal.com. March 26, 2015. Retrieved December 28, 2018.

Bibliography

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