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The Detroit Lions are a professional
American football American football, referred to simply 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 American football field, field with goalposts at each end. ...

American football
team based in
Detroit (strait A strait is a naturally formed, narrowing, typically navigable waterway that connects two larger bodies of water. The surface water generally flows at the same elevation on both sides and through the strait in either direction. Mo ...

Detroit
. The Lions compete in the
National Football League The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football American football, referred to simply as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport A team sport includes any s ...
(NFL) as a member of the
National Football Conference The National Football Conference (NFC) is one of the two Athletic conference, conferences of the National Football League (NFL). The NFC and its counterpart, the American Football Conference (AFC), each contain 16 teams organized into 4 Division ...
(NFC)
North divisionNorthern Division or North Division can refer to: Sports * Northern Division (Rugby Union) Leagues of England * Queensland Rugby League Northern Division * Southern League Northern Division of the Southern Football League in England * FA Women's Pre ...
. The team plays its home games at
Ford Field Ford Field is a domed American football American football, referred to simply as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport A team sport includes any sport Sport pertains to any fo ...

Ford Field
in
Downtown Detroit Downtown Detroit is the central business district A central business district (CBD) is the commercial and business center of a city. It contains commercial space and offices. In larger cities, it is often synonymous with the city's "financia ...

Downtown Detroit
. The franchise was founded in
Portsmouth, Ohio Portsmouth is a city in and the county seat A county seat is an administrative centerAn administrative centre is a seat of regional administration or local government, or a county town, or the place where the central administration of a Towns ...
as the
Portsmouth Spartans Portsmouth () is a port city primarily built on Portsea Island in the county of Hampshire Hampshire (, ; abbreviated to Hants) is a Counties of England, county in South East England on the English Channel coast. The county town is Winchest ...
and joined the NFL on July 12, 1930. Amid financial struggles, the team was
relocatedRelocated may refer to: *Relocated (album), ''Relocated'' (album), 2006 album by Camouflage *''Red vs. Blue: Relocated'', 2009 television miniseries *"The Relocated", Inuit people of the High Arctic relocation {{disambig ...
to Detroit in 1934. The team was also renamed the Lions in reference to the city's
Major League Baseball Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball Professional baseball is organized baseball in which players are selected for their talents and are paid to play for a specific team or club system. It is played in baseball league, leag ...
(MLB) franchise, the
Tigers The tiger (''Panthera tigris'') is the largest extant taxon, living Felidae, cat species and a member of the genus ''Panthera''. It is most recognisable for its dark vertical stripes on orange fur with a white underside. An apex predator, it ...

Tigers
. The Lions won four NFL Championship Games between
1935 Events January * January – Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia creates a military school at Holeta.1957 Events January * January 1 January 1 or 1 January is the first day of the year in the . There are 364 days remaining until the end of the year (365 in s). This day is known as since the day marks the beginning of the year. __TOC__ ...
, all prior to the
Super Bowl The Super Bowl is the annual championship game of the National Football League (NFL). It has served as the final game of every NFL season since 1966, replacing the NFL Championship Game. Since 2004, the game has been played on the first Sunday ...
era. Since their 1957 championship, the team has won only a single playoff game during the 1991 season and never advanced beyond the
NFC Championship Game The NFC Championship Game is the annual championship game of the National Football Conference (NFC) and one of the two semi-final playoff games of the National Football League (NFL), the largest professional American football American fo ...
. They are the oldest NFL team to not appear in the Super Bowl, as well as the only franchise operational for the entirety of the Super Bowl era and the only NFC team not to appear.


Franchise history


Logos and uniforms

Aside from a brief change to scarlet and black from 1948 to 1950 instituted by then head coach
Bo McMillin Alvin Nugent "Bo" McMillin (January 12, 1895 – March 31, 1952) 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 ...
, which was influenced by his years as coach at
Indiana Indiana () is a U.S. state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern United States. It is the List of U.S. states and territories by area, 38th-largest by area and the List of U.S. states and territories by population, 17th-most populous o ...
, 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 Glenn Emery "Press" Presnell (July 28, 1905 – September 13, 2004) was an American football player, coach, and college athletics administrator. He set the NFL single-season scoring record in 1933 and led the league in total offense. He was the ...
, 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 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 and black cleats. The helmets also did not have a logo, as helmets were simple leather back then. The Lions also wore 1950s-style jerseys during their traditional
Thanksgiving Day Thanksgiving is a national holiday A holiday is a day set aside by Norm (social), custom or by law on which normal activities, especially business or work including school, are suspended or reduced. Generally, holidays are intended to allow ...
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 face masks 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. 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 blue pants for the first time since 1998, and an alternate all-silver uniform; the facemasks also became chrome. 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 Green Bay Packers are a professional American football American football, referred to simply as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport A team sport includes any sport Spo ...
. The white pants, which lacked striping, was previously worn during the aforementioned "scarlet and black" era in the 1948 and 1949 seasons.


Thanksgiving Day tradition

In 1934, then team owner George A. Richards, who also was the owner a major radio affiliate of the NBC
Blue Network The Blue Network (previously the NBC Blue Network) was the on-air name of a now defunct American radio Radio is the technology of signaling and communicating Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of ...
,
WJR WJR (760 AM) is a commercial radio station , Sweden , Norway Radio broadcasting is transmission of audio signal, audio (sound), sometimes with related metadata, by radio waves intended to reach a wide audience. In terrestrial radio broadcas ...
in Detroit, the forerunner to today's
ABC ABC are the first three letters of the Latin script known as the alphabet. ABC or abc may also refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Broadcasting * American Broadcasting Company, a commercial U.S. TV broadcaster ** Disney–ABC Television ...
, negotiated an agreement with NBC to carry his Thanksgiving games live across all of the network's stations. Since then, the tradition of the Lions playing on Thanksgiving has continued uninterrupted.


Home attendance

Note: * 1 Due to the
COVID-19 pandemic The COVID-19 pandemic is an ongoing global pandemic A pandemic (from , , "all" and , , "local people" the 'crowd') is an of an that has spread across a large region, for instance multiple or worldwide, affecting a substantial numbe ...

COVID-19 pandemic
, the Lions allowed only 500 friends and family members in attendance.


Players of note


Current roster


Retired numbers

Notes: * 1 The #56 was unretired with Schmidt's blessing when the Lions acquired linebacker
Pat Swilling Patrick Travis Swilling (born October 25, 1964) is a former American football American football, referred to simply as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven playe ...
from the
New Orleans Saints The New Orleans Saints are a professional American football American football, referred to simply 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 rectan ...

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 #85 was withdrawn from circulation. Over the years, however, the number would return to circulation. Special cases: * The Lions retired #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 in 2010.


Pro Football Hall of Famers


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.


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 Jacksonville Jaguars are a professional American football American football, referred to simply as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport A team sport includes any sport Spo ...
. The team was chosen via an online fan poll and selection committee. Bold indicates those elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 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 Kansas City Chiefs are a professional American football American football, referred to simply 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 rectang ...

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. Note: * 1 Muhlbach was active at the time of the selection.


Michigan Sports Hall of Fame


Staff


Current staff


Head coaches

The Lions have had 30 head coaches throughout their franchise history. Their first head coach was Hal Griffin, who compiled a 5–6–3 (.464) overall record with the team of
1930 Events January * January 6 Events Pre-1600 *1066 1066 (Roman numerals, MLXVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Julian calendar. Events By place England * January 5 – Edward the Confessor dies after ...
.
Wayne Fontes Wayne Fontes (; born February 2, 1940) is a former American football coach and college and professional football player who was the head coach of the National Football League's Detroit Lions from 1988 Detroit Lions season, 1988 to 1996 Detroit Li ...
was the longest-tenured head coach in Lions history, serving from
1988 1988 was a crucial year in the early history of the Internet—it was the year of the first well-known computer virus, the Morris worm, 1988 Internet worm. The first permanent intercontinental Internet link was made between the United States ...
to
1996 1996 was designated as: * International Year for the Eradication of Poverty Events January * January 3 Events Pre-1600 * 69 – The Roman legions on the Rhine refuse to declare their allegiance to Galba Galba (; born Servius Sulpi ...
. The current head coach of the Lions is
Dan Campbell {{Infobox NFL biography , name = Dan Campbell , image = Dan Campbell.jpg , image_size = , alt = , caption = Campbell with the Miami Dolphins in 2011 , current_team = ...

Dan Campbell
, who was hired on January 20, 2021.


Offensive coordinators


Defensive coordinators


Rivalries

The Lions have had several division rivals in their existence. Their oldest
rivals A rivalry is the state of two people or groups engaging in a lasting competitive relationship. Rivalry is the "against each other" spirit between two competing sides. The relationship itself may also be called "a rivalry", and each participant or ...
are the
Chicago Bears The Chicago Bears are a professional American football American football, referred to simply as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport A team sport includes any sport Sport pe ...
and the
Green Bay Packers The Green Bay Packers are a professional American football American football, referred to simply as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport A team sport includes any sport Spo ...
, whom they have faced since 1930. The
Minnesota Vikings The Minnesota Vikings are a professional American football American football, referred to simply as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport A team sport includes any sport Sport ...
have been in a division with Detroit ever since their inaugural season in 1961. Another notable longtime division opponent was the
Tampa Bay Buccaneers The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a professional American football team based in Tampa, Florida. The Buccaneers compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league's National Football Conference (NFC) NFC South, South divisio ...
(25 seasons from 1977 to 2001). The Lions also have a preseason rivalry with the
Cleveland Browns The Cleveland Browns are a professional American football American football, referred to simply as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport A team sport includes any sport Spor ...
, dubbed the Great Lakes Classic. The two teams have been playing for The Barge Trophy since 2002. The Lions and Browns had a solid rivalry in the 1950s, when they met four times for the
NFL championship Throughout its history, the National Football League The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football Sports league, league consisting of 32 teams, divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the ...
(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.


Radio and television


Radio

The Lions'
flagship A flagship is a vessel used by the commanding officer The commanding officer (CO) or sometimes, if the incumbent is a general officer A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, spac ...
radio station is
WXYT-FM WXYT-FM (97.1 MHz The hertz (symbol: Hz) is the derived unit of frequency Frequency is the number of occurrences of a repeating event per unit of time. It is also referred to as temporal frequency, which emphasizes the contrast to spa ...
. Dan Miller does
play-by-play In Broadcasting of sports events, sports broadcasting, a sports commentator (also known as sports announcer, sportscaster, or play-by-play announcer) gives a real time (media), real-time commentary of a game or event, usually during a live televi ...
, 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 The 2016 NFL season was the 97th season in the history of the National Football League The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football American football, referred to simply as football in the United States ...
, ending a 20-year relationship with
CBS Radio CBS Radio was a radio broadcasting company and radio network operator owned by CBS Corporation The second incarnation of CBS Corporation (the first being a short-lived rename of the Westinghouse Electric Corporation The Westinghouse Ele ...
. 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 WJBK, virtual channel In most telecommunications Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over , radio, , or other systems. It has its origin in the desire of humans for communication over ...
took over from
WXYZ-TV WXYZ-TV, virtual channel In most telecommunications Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over , radio, , or other systems. It has its origin in the desire of humans for communication ov ...
as the flagship station for Lions preseason games. In 2021, the announcers were
Brandon Gaudin Brandon Gaudin (born December 18, 1983) is an American sportscaster who broadcasts play-by-play In sports broadcasting, a sports commentator (also known as sports announcer, sportscaster, or play-by-play announcer) gives a running commentary o ...
with play-by-play,
Herman Moore Herman Joseph Moore (born October 20, 1969) is an American former professional football Football is a family of team sport A team is a [group (disambiguation), group of individuals (human or non-human) working together to achieve their ...
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 NFL on Fox, Fox, except when the Lions play an AFC team in Detroit, in which case the game airs regionally on
CBS CBS is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S ...
; 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. In 2011, the Lions became the last NFC team to play on
NBC The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), c ...
'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 The Great Recession was a period of marked general decline (recession In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production (economics), production, distribution ( ...
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 Ford Field is a domed American football American football, referred to simply as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport A team sport includes any sport Sport pertains to any fo ...

Ford Field
was on October 26, 2008, against the
Washington Redskins The Washington Football Team is a professional American football American football, referred to simply as football in the United States and also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular ...
. 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 The Pontiac Silverdome (also known simply as the Silverdome) was a stadium in Pontiac, Michigan Pontiac ( ') is a city in and the county seat of Oakland County, Michigan, Oakland County in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2010 United ...

Pontiac Silverdome
, despite winning seasons and the success and popularity of star players such as
Barry Sanders Barry Sanders (born July 16, 1968) is an American former professional football Football is a family of team sport A team is a [group (disambiguation), group of individuals (human or non-human) working together to achieve their goal. ...

Barry Sanders
.


Lions cheerleaders

On June 13, 2016, the Lions announced their decision to add official 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

* NFL on Thanksgiving Day * History of the Portsmouth Spartans


Notes and references


Bibliography

*


External links

*
Detroit Lions
at the
National Football League The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football American football, referred to simply as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport A team sport includes any s ...
official website {{Authority control
Lions The lion (''Panthera leo'') is a large cat The cat (''Felis catus'') is a domestic Domestic may refer to: In the home * Anything relating to the human home A home, or domicile, is a space used as a permanent or semi-perma ...
American football teams in Michigan Culture of Detroit National Football League teams American football teams established in 1934 Sports in Pontiac, Michigan 1934 establishments in Michigan