The Reggie Bush Effect
The Lions signed Reggie Bush this offseason to help their rushing attack, but he might have an even bigger effect on their superstar receiver. When Jahvid Best suffered his most recent concussion in 2011, the Lions were 5-1 and teammate Calvin Johnson had 9 TD receptions. Since Best exited the lineup, the Lions are 9-17 and Megatron managed just 12 touchdown grabs.
Before he was making guest appearances on "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson," Alex Karras was named to 4 pro bowls as a defensive tackle with the Detroit Lions and a member of the NFL's All Decade team of the 1960s. During his 12 NFL seasons, which excludes the 1963 campaign in which he was suspended for gambling, Karras made the playoffs only once - losing 5-0 at Cowboys - one of just 3 games that have ended with such a score, but the only such instance in NFL postseason history.
Super Bowl Drought
The Lions are the only team in the NFC and one of four teams overall, along with the Browns, Jaguars, and Texans, to never reach the Super Bowl. The closest they came to playing in the big game was in 1991, going 12-4 and reaching the NFC Conference Championship led by Wayne Fontes, Barry Sanders and Chris Spielman - losing 41-10 to the eventual Super Bowl champion Washington Redskins. In fact, 1991 is the only season in which the Lions won a playoff game in the Super Bowl era, going 1-10 since 1967.
Calvin Johnson & Herman Moore
From 1930-2010, Herman Moore was the only Lion to finish with over 1,600 receiving yards, finishing with 1,686 yards in 1995. Calvin Johnson has accomplished the feat in each of the last two seasons, recording 1,681 yards in 2011 and 1,964 in 2012 - the only player in NFL history to have over 1,600 receiving yards in back-to-back seasons. Titus Young was the next leading wide receiver on the roster in 2012, with 383 yards - 1,581 yards less than CJ.
Stafford, Marino and Warner
In 2011, Matthew Stafford threw for 5,038 yards and 41 TD, becoming the 2nd youngest QB (23 years, 10 months) in NFL History to ever throw for 4,000+ yards and 30+ TDs, behind Dan Marino (23 years, 2 months). In 2012, Stafford reached 10,000 career passing yards in Week 9 at Jaguars in his 37th career game - only the NFL Network's own Kurt Warner reached the milestone faster (36 games).
Damian Strohmeyer/Associated Press
Recently retired kicker Jason Hanson spent 21 seasons with the Lions, playing in 327 games - 5th most in NFL history. What makes Hanson unique is that all 327 games were played while a member of the Lions - an NFL record for the most games played by one player with one team. Hanson is the first player in NFL history to play 300 games with one franchise.
High School Connection
Matthew Stafford attended Highland Park High School in Dallas, TX before attending the University of Georgia. Lions Hall of Fame quarterback Bobby Layne also attended Highland Park High School. Layne led the Lions to NFL Championships in 1952, 1953 and was injured during their 1957 championship campaign. The 1957 title is the Lions last. After that season, Layne was traded to Pittsburgh, prompting the QB to declare that the Lions would not win again for 50 years. Fifty years later in 2008, the Lions went 0-16 before drafting Stafford first overall in 2009. Maybe their newest standout from Highland Park can reverse the curse of Bobby Layne.
The Greatest Ever?
Barry Sanders rushed for 1,000+ yards in each of his 10 NFL seasons. The only other players to rush for at least 1,000 yards in each season of their career are Chris Johnson (5 years) and 2012 rookies Doug Martin and Alfred Morris.
Al Goldis/Associated Press
The last time the Lions won a game on Thanksgiving Day was in 2003 when Joey Harrington defeated Brett Favre in Steve Mariucci's first season with the team 22-14. Shawn Bryson led the Lions in rushing with 50 yards and a TD while Az-Zahir Hakim led in receiving with 65 yards, but the Lions won on the leg of Jason Hanson and his 5 field goals. C Dominic Raiola is the only player remaining on the Lions from that game.
The last time the Lions won at Lambeau Field was December 15, 1991. Since then, the team has lost 21-straight games. The 1991 Lions, led by starting QB Erik Kramer, RB Barry Sanders, and Head Coach Wayne Fontes, trailed the Packers 10-7 entering the 4th Quarter, but a Robert Clark 3-yard TD reception and RB Mel Gray 78-yard punt return TD put the Lions ahead for good, as Detroit won 21-17. Sanders had 27 rushes for 85 yards and Sterling Sharpe had 6 receptions for 83 yards. The following season (1992), the Packers started QB Brett Favre, who went 13-0 at Lambeau Field vs Lions in the regular season.
More Photo Essays:
- Most patriotic college football alt uni power rankings
- Fantasy Independence
- 15 for '15: Top CFB players to follow on social media
- 15 for '15: College football players with best intangibles
- Mind-blowing stats for the Atlanta Falcons
- NFL coach power rankings
- Mind-blowing stats for the New York Giants
- 15 for '15: Best players on non-contending teams
- Mind-blowing stats for the Chicago Bears