Detroit Lions in History

Events in Sport

  • 1930-09-14 Detroit Lions (as Portsmouth Spartans) play 1st NFL game, win 13-6
  • 1934-06-30 Detroit radio executive George Richards pays $7,952.08 to buy NFL's Portsmouth Spartans; moves team to Detroit and rebrands it to 'Lions'
  • 1934-11-04 After posting 7 straight shutouts to start the NFL season, Detroit Lions beat Pittsburgh, 40-7 at University of Detroit Stadium; scored upon for the first time of the season; rush for NFL single game record 426 yards

Sport awardNFL Championship

1935-12-15 National Football League Championship, University of Detroit Stadium: Detroit Lions beat New York Giants, 26-7; Lions first title

American Football Player Mel Hein
American Football Player
Mel Hein
  • 1936-09-02 NFL Chicago College All-Star Game: All-Stars 7, Detroit Lions 7; 76,000 at Soldier Field
  • 1943-04-08 1943 NFL Draft: Frank Sinkwich from University of Georgia first pick by Detroit Lions
  • 1943-11-07 Detroit Lions 0, NY Giants 0; last scoreless tie in NFL
  • 1950-01-20 1950 NFL Draft: Leon Hart from University of Notre Dame first pick by Detroit Lions
  • 1951-10-14 Det Lion Jack Christiansen returns 2 punts for touchdowns vs LA Rams
  • 1952-12-28 National Football League Championship, Cleveland Municipal Stadium: Detroit Lions beat Cleveland Browns, 17-7
  • 1953-01-10 3rd NFL Pro Bowl, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum: National Conference beats American Conference, 27-7; MVP: Don Doll, Detroit Lions, DB
  • 1953-12-27 National Football League Championship, Briggs Stadium, Detroit: Detroit Lions beat Cleveland Browns, 17-16 to retain title
  • 1954-12-26 National Football League Championship, Cleveland Municipal Stadium: Cleveland Browns thrash Detroit Lions, 56-10; Browns' placekicker Lou Groza makes 8 extra points, a new title game record
  • 1955-10-01 Baltimore Colts fullback Alan Ameche becomes the first rookie in NFL history to top 100 yards rushing in his first 2 games; totals 153 against Detroit Lions after 194 yards in debut v Chicago Bears
  • 1957-12-29 National Football League Championship, Briggs Stadium, Detroit: Detroit Lions beat Cleveland Browns, 50-14; Lions score 2 touchdowns in each quarter

Sport awardNFL Pro Bowl

1965-01-10 15th NFL Pro Bowl, LA Memorial Coliseum: Western Conference beats Eastern Conference, 34-14; MVPs: Fran Tarkenton, Minnesota Vikings, QB; Terry Barr, Detroit Lions, DB

NFL Quarterback Fran Tarkenton
NFL Quarterback
Fran Tarkenton

  • 1967-08-05 First exhibition after AFL/NFL merger, Denver Broncos (AFL) surprise Detroit Lions (NFL), 13-7 at University of Denver
  • 1969-08-25 Det Lions beat Boston Patriots 22-9 in Montreal (NFL expo)
  • 1980-04-29 NFL Draft: Oklahoma running back Billy Sims first pick by Detroit Lions
  • 1981-02-01 NFL Pro Bowl, Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, HI: NFC beats AFC, 21-7; MVP: Eddie Murray, Detroit Lions, PK
  • 1988-10-20 Reggie Rogers, Det Lion's # 1 pick, kills 3 by driving intoxicated
  • 1990-11-18 NFL NY Giants beat Det Lions 20-0, to run 1990 record to 10-0
  • 1991-11-17 Detroit Lion Mike Utley is paralized in a game vs LA Rams
  • 1992-01-12 NFC Championship, RFK Memorial Stadium, Washington, D.C.: Washington Redskins beat Detroit Lions, 41-10
  • 1997-12-21 Detroit Lions Barry Sanders is 3rd to run for 2,000 yards in a season
  • 1997-12-21 Detroit Lions linebacker Reggie Brown, knocked unconscious in game
  • 2004-09-12 Detroit Lions beat the Chicago Bears 20-16 at Soldier Field to snap their NFL-record 24-game road losing streak
  • 2008-12-28 Detroit Lions crash to a 31-21 loss to Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field; first team in NFL history to go winless in a 16-game season
  • 2009-04-25 NFL Draft: Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford first pick by Detroit Lions

Sport awardNFL Pro Bowl

2015-01-25 NFL Pro Bowl, University of Phoenix, Glendale, AZ: Team Irvin beats Team Carter, 32-28; MVPs: J. J. Watt, Houston Texans, DE; Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions, QB

American Football Player J. J. Watt
American Football Player
J. J. Watt

Birthdays in Sport

  • 1891-07-02 Gus Dorais, American College Football Hall of Fame quarterback (Notre Dame), coach (Gonzaga, Detroit Lions), born in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin (d. 1954)
  • 1909-08-02 Ace Gutowsky, Russian/American football fullback (Portsmouth Spartans, Brooklyn Dodgers; NFL C'ship 1935, Detroit Lions), born in Komolty, Russian Empire (d. 1976)
  • 1920-10-10 Frank Sinkwich, American College Football Hall of Fame halfback (Heisman Trophy 1942, U of Georgia; NFL Draft #1 pick Detroit Lions 1943; NFL MVP 1944), born in Starjak, Croatia (d. 1990)
  • 1926-12-19 Bobby Layne, American College and Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback (3 x NFL champion; 6 x Pro Bowl; Detroit Lions), born in Santa Anna, Texas (d. 1986)
  • 1927-01-01 Doak Walker, American College and Pro Football Hall of Fame halfback (Heisman Trophy 1948; Pro Bowl 1950-51, 53–55; First-team All-Pro 1950–51, 53–54; Detroit Lions), born Dallas, Texas (d. 1998)
  • 1927-01-22 Lou Creekmur, American football player (Detroit Lions) and hall of famer, born in Hopelawn, New Jersey (d. 2009)
  • 1927-12-02 Jim David, American NFL defensive back (Pro Bowl 1954-59; NFL Champion 1952-53, 57; Detroit Lions), born in Florence, South Carolina (d. 2007)
  • 1930-11-24 Yale Lary, American NFL safety Hall of Famer (Detroit Lions), born in Fort Worth, Texas (d. 2017)
  • 1932-01-19 Joe Schmidt, College/Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker (10 x Pro Bowl; 8 x First-team All-Pro; NFL C'ship 1953, 57; Detroit Lions) and coach (Detroit Lions 1967-72), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • 1934-03-02 Howard Cassady, American College Football Hall of Fame halfback (Heisman Trophy 1955, Ohio State; NFL C'ship 1957, Detroit Lions), born in Hendrysburg, Ohio (d. 2019)
  • 1934-05-17 Earl Morrall, American NFL quarterback (Super Bowl 1970, 72, 73; Pro Bowl 1957, 68; First-team All-Pro 1968, 72; NFL MVP 1968; Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins), born in Muskegon, Michigan (d. 2014)
  • 1935-07-15 Alex Karras, NFLer (Detroit Lions)/actor (George-Webster), born in Gary, Indiana (d. 2012)
  • 1937-05-01 Roger Brown, College Football Hall of Fame defensive tackle (Maryland Eastern Shore; 6 x Pro-Bowl; Detroit Lions, LA Rams), born in Surry County, Virginia
  • 1939-05-02 Gates Brown, American MLB player (Detroit Tigers: 1963-75), born in Crestline, Ohio (d. 2013)
  • 1944-11-03 Mel Farr, American NFL running back (Pro Bowl 1967, 70; Detroit Lions), born in Beaumont, Texas (d. 2015)
  • 1946-08-25 Charlie Sanders, American football player (Detroit Lions), born in Richlands, North Carolina (d. 2015)
  • 1946-10-17 Herb Orvis, American College Football Hall of Fame defensive tackle (University of Colorado; NFL: Detroit Lions, Baltimore Colts), born in Petoskey, Michigan (d. 2020)
  • 1947-12-09 Steve Owens, American College Football Hall of Fame running back (Heisman Trophy 1969, U of Oklahoma; Pro Bowl, All Pro 1971, Detroit Lions), born in Gore, Oklahoma
  • 1955-09-18 Billy Sims, American College Football Hall of Fame running back (Heisman Trophy 1978, U of Oklahoma; Pro Bowl 1980–82, Detroit Lions), born in St. Louis, Missouri
  • 1959-12-20 David Lutz, NFL guard/tackle (Detroit Lions), born in Polkton, North Carolina
  • 1960-04-20 Rodney Holman, American football tight end (Detroit Lions), born in Ypsilanti, Michigan
  • 1961-12-04 Frank Reich, American NFL quarterback (Buffalo Bills) and coach (Indianapolis Colts 2018-20), born in Freeport, New York
  • 1962-09-15 Aubrey Matthews, NFL wide receiver (Detroit Lions)
  • 1962-11-26 Mike Johnson, American NFL inside linebacker (Detroit Lions), born in Southport, North Carolina
  • 1963-03-30 Lomas Brown, NFL tackle (Detroit Lions, Arizona Cardinals)
  • 1963-06-17 Kevin Glover, American NFL center (Detroit Lions), born in Washington, D.C.
  • 1964-02-25 Don Majkowski, NFL quarterback (Detroit Lions)
  • 1964-03-15 Ron Hall, NFL tight end (Detroit Lions)
  • 1964-06-22 Mark Royals, NFL punter (New Orleans Saints, Detroit Lions)
  • 1965-01-12 Henry Thomas, American defensive tackle (Detroit Lions, New England Patriots), born in Houston, Texas
  • 1965-10-10 Brett Perriman, American NFL wide receiver (Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins), born in Miami, Florida
  • 1965-10-11 Chris Spielman, American NFL linebacker (Detroit Lions, Buffalo Bills), born in Canton, Ohio
  • 1966-08-17 Zefross Moss, American NFL tackle (Detroit Lions, NE Patriots), born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama
  • 1966-09-03 Bennie Blades, American NFL safety (Detroit Lions; Pro Bowl 1991), born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • 1966-09-23 Doug Widell, NFL guard (Detroit Lions)
  • 1967-02-16 Robert Massey, NFL cornerback (Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions)
  • 1967-03-16 Dan Owens, NFL defensive tackle (Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions)
  • 1967-10-30 Ty Detmer, American College Football Hall of Fame quarterback (Heisman Trophy 1990, Brigham Young; Green Bay Packers, Philadelphia Eagles, Detroit Lions), born in San Marcos, Texas
  • 1967-12-18 Tracy Hayworth, NFL linebacker (Detroit Lions, Atlanta Falcons)
  • 1968-01-02 Scott Mitchell, American NFL quarterback (Miami Dolphins, Detroit Lions, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals ), born in Salt Lake City, Utah
  • 1968-04-28 Mark Carrier, NFL safety (Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions)
  • 1968-07-16 Barry Sanders, American College and Pro Football Hall of Fame running back (Heisman Trophy 1988, Oklahoma State; 10 x Pro Bowl; NFL MVP 1997, Detroit Lions), born in Wichita, Kansas
  • 1968-07-22 Sean Vanhorse, NFL cornerback (Detroit Lions)
  • 1968-07-31 Andre Ware, American College Football Hall of Fame quarterback (Heisman Trophy 1989, U of Houston; Detroit Lions; Toronto Argonauts), born in Galveston, Texas
  • 1968-08-23 Scott Kowalkowski, NFL linebacker (Detroit Lions), born in Royal Oak, Michigan
  • 1968-09-27 Scott Conover, NFL tackle (Detroit Lions)
  • 1968-11-01 Kent Graham, American NFL quarterback (New York Giants), born in Winfield, Illinois
  • 1968-11-11 John Jett, NFL punter (Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions)
  • 1969-02-14 Harry Colon, American NFL safety (Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions), born in Kansas City, Kansas
  • 1969-02-20 Tommy Vardell, El Cajon, California, American NFL fullback (Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions)
  • 1969-03-07 Matt Blundin, NFL quarterback (KC Chiefs, Detroit Lions)
  • 1969-03-27 Tom Beer, American NFL running back (Detroit Lions), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1969-06-03 Ray Roberts, tackle (Detroit Lions)
  • 1969-07-30 Robert Porcher, NFL defensive end (Detroit Lions)
  • 1969-09-11 Tracy Scroggins, American NFL linebacker (Detroit Lions), born in Checotah, Oklahoma
  • 1969-10-20 Herman Moore, NFL wide receiver (Detroit Lions)
  • 1969-11-28 Marc Spindler, NFL defensive tackle/end (NY Jets, Detroit Lions)
  • 1970-05-16 Eric Lynch, NFL running back (Detroit Lions)
  • 1970-06-17 Jason Hanson, American NFL kicker (Detroit Lions), born in Spokane, Washington
  • 1970-09-05 Willie Clay, American NFL safety (Detroit Lions), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • 1970-09-18 Mike Compton, American NFL center and guard (Detroit Lions), born in Richlands, Virginia
  • 1970-10-04 Ryan McNeil, American NFL defensive back (Pro Bowl 2001; San Diego Chargers), born in Fort Pierce, Florida
  • 1970-10-18 Shane Bonham, NFL defensive linesman (Detroit Lions)
  • 1970-11-19 Larry Tharpe, NFL tackle (Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions)
  • 1970-12-20 Tony Semple, NFL guard (Detroit Lions), born in Springfield, Illinois
  • 1971-02-19 Glyn Milburn, NFL running back/kick returner (Den Broncos, Det Lions)
  • 1971-04-14 Antonio London, NFL linebacker (Detroit Lions), born in Tullahoma, Tennessee
  • 1971-08-20 Kevin Hickman, American NFL tight end (Detroit Lions), born in Cherry Hill, New Jersey
  • 1971-08-26 Jocelyn Borgella, NFL cornerback (Detroit Lions)
  • 1971-10-07 Johnnie Morton, American NFL wide receiver (Detroit Lions), born in Inglewood, California
  • 1971-10-16 Greg Jeffries, NFL cornerback (Detroit Lions)
  • 1971-11-13 Ron Rivers, NFL running back (Detroit Lions)
  • 1971-12-27 James Stewart, NFL running back (Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions), born in Fairfield, Texas
  • 1972-01-13 Richard Woodley, NFL cornerback (Detroit Lions)
  • 1972-01-23 Kez McCorvey, American NFL wide receiver (Detroit Lions), born in Gautier, Mississippi
  • 1972-01-29 Hessley Hempstead, American NFL guard (Detroit Lions), born in Upland, California
  • 1972-02-23 Ryan Grigson, NFL guard/tackle (Detroit Lions), born in Highland, Indiana
  • 1972-02-25 Chris Harrison, guard (Detroit Lions)
  • 1972-04-15 Ronald Cherry, NFL tackle (Detroit Lions)
  • 1972-05-30 Jeff Jones, NFL tackle (Detroit Lions)
  • 1972-06-08 David Sloan, NFL tight end (Detroit Lions)
  • 1972-06-23 Cory Schlesinger, American football fullback (Detroit Lions), born in Columbus, Nebraska
  • 1972-08-22 Stephen Boyd, American NFL linebacker (Detroit Lions), born in Valley Stream, New York
  • 1972-09-09 Ben Bronson, American football wide receiver (Detroit Lions), born in Jasper, Texas
  • 1972-09-17 Allen Williams, NFL running back (Detroit Lions)
  • 1973-01-26 Tony Ramirez, American football tackle (Detroit Lions), born in Lincoln, Nebraska
  • 1973-02-13 Willie Smith, NFL linebacker (Detroit Lions), born in Smithfield, North Carolina
  • 1973-03-22 Luther Elliss, NFL defensive end (Detroit Lions)
  • 1974-01-06 Juan Roque, American football tackle (Detroit Lions), born in San Diego, California
  • 1974-02-28 Kevin Abrams, cornerback (Detroit Lions)
  • 1974-04-27 Pete Chryplewicz, tight end (Detroit Lions), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1974-08-01 Kerwin Waldroup, American football player (Detroit Lions), born in Country Club Hills, Illinois
  • 1974-12-19 Bryant Westbrook, cornerback (Detroit Lions)
  • 1976-02-07 Terry Battle, running back (Detroit Lions)
  • 1985-09-29 Calvin Johnson, American College Football Hall of Fame wide receiver (Detroit Lions, 6-time Pro Bowl), born in Newnan, Georgia
  • 1990-03-12 Marvin Jones, American NFL wide receiver (Detroit Lions), born in Los Angeles, California

Weddings in Sport

  • 1986-11-28 NBC's Ahmad Rashad marriage proposal is accepted by Phylicia Ayers-Allen during halftime of Det Lions-NY Jets football game

Deaths in Sport

  • 1954-01-03 Gus Dorais, American College Football Hall of Fame quarterback (Notre Dame) and coach (Gonzaga, Detroit Lions), dies of arteriosclerosis and anorexia at 62
  • 1971-10-24 Chuck Hughes, Detroit Lion collapses during game & later, dies
  • 1976-12-04 Ace Gutowsky, Russian/American football fullback (Portsmouth Spartans, Brooklyn Dodgers; NFL C'ship 1935, Detroit Lions), dies of cancer at 67
  • 1986-12-01 Bobby Layne, American College and Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback (NFL champion 1952-53, 57; 6 x Pro Bowl; Detroit Lions), dies of cardiac arrest at 59
  • 1990-10-22 Frank Sinkwich, American College Football Hall of Fame halfback (Heisman Trophy 1942, U of Georgia; NFL Draft #1 pick Detroit Lions 1943; NFL MVP 1944), dies at 70
  • 1991-03-19 John Russell Thomas, NFL general manager (Detroit Lions), dies
  • 1998-09-27 Doak Walker, American College and Pro Football Hall of Fame halfback (Heisman Trophy 1948; Pro Bowl 1950-51, 53–55; First-team All-Pro 1950–51, 53–54; Detroit Lions), dies from ski accident injuries at 71
  • 2007-07-29 Jim David, American NFL defensive back (Pro Bowl 1954-59; NFL Champion 1952-53, 57; Detroit Lions), dies at 79
  • 2009-07-05 Lou Creekmur, American football player (Detroit Lions) and hall of famer, dies at 82
  • 2013-09-27 Gates Brown, American MLB player (Detroit Tigers: 1963-75), dies at 74
  • 2014-04-25 Earl Morrall, American NFL quarterback (Super Bowl 1970, 72, 73; Pro Bowl 1957, 68; First-team All-Pro 1968, 72; NFL MVP 1968; Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins), dies from Parkinson's disease at 79
  • 2015-07-02 Charlie Sanders, American football player (Detroit Lions), dies at 68
  • 2015-08-03 Mel Farr, American NFL running back (Pro Bowl 1967, 70; Detroit Lions), dies of a massive heart attack at 70
  • 2017-05-11 Yale Lary, American NFL safety Hall of Famer (Detroit Lions), dies at 86
  • 2019-09-20 Howard Cassady, American College Football Hall of Fame halfback (Heisman Trophy 1955, Ohio State; NFL C'ship 1957, Detroit Lions), dies at 85
  • 2020-08-14 Herb Orvis, American College Football Hall of Fame defensive tackle (University of Colorado; NFL: Detroit Lions, Baltimore Colts), dies at 73