The Detroit Lions football franchise was formed in 1929 in Portsmouth, Ohio. It puts down its roots in 1934. Despite the several failings, they have won four NFL championships with the last championship to be won in 1957. Since then, they have only had one playoff, but despite all this, they have had several Hall of Fame players on its list which include best-running backs of all times. There was a period when the Lions were dry completely with no players being inducted into the Hall of Fame. But of late, they are producing some of the best players. This is due to the fact that, they started drafting some of the best talents in football. The Lions were a team to reckon in the 1950s and 1960s. That was the time they had some of the greatest quarterbacks and they featured some of the best players ever. In 1989, Barry Sanders, one of the best running back was drafted who ended up to be one of the best ever players not only for the Lions but for the NFL. Today stars like Calvin Johnson, Ndamukong Suh, and Matthew Stafford are some of the players who have the potential to be some of the best players in Lion’s history.
Here are our top 10 best Detroit Lions of all time list
10. Dick Lane, DB
He finished his career in Detroit playing from 1960 to 1965. In the six years, he was at his most dominant with the Lions. He had 21 of his career 68 interceptions, had three Pro Bowls, and was named All-NFL four times. He formed part of the most fearsome secondary of time when he teamed up with Dick Le Beau and Lem Barney. He was an enforcer on the field and any ball carrier that came his way feared him. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1974.
9. Herman Moore, WR
He joined the team in 1991 and left in 2001. During his time with the team, he was behind a decent offensive line. He is the best wide receiver in Lion’s history with 670 career receptions, 9,174 career receiving yards, 123 receptions in a season and 14 single game receptions.
8. Alex Karras, DT
Alex Karras was with the Detroit Lions for 12 years; 1958 – 1962, and 1964 – 1970. He had a defensive tackle that was monstrous and an outstanding quickness. He was named in the 1960s All-Decade Team. In his career, he made four Pro Bowls and was part of the Detroit Lion’s defensive line which terrorized quarterbacks of opponents.
7. Jack Christiansen, CB
For 8 years, Jack Christiansen played for the Detroit Lions. He was with the team from 1951 to 1958. Jack Christiansen was a member of the 1950s All-Decade team, an All-NFL as defensive twice, led the league in interceptions twice. He was also a quality return man. He made it to the Hall of Fame.
6. Doak Walker,RB
Doak joined the Detroit Lions in 1950 and left in 1955. Though he is much known for his college career than his professional one, he still made an impact while at Detroit Lions. He won championships, division titles, went to Pro Bowls, was Rookie of the year, and made All-Pro teams. Doak was one player who rocked havoc on opposing defenses during his entire career.
5. Lem Barney, CB
Detroit Lions enjoyed the services of this great center back player for 11 years, from 1967 to 1977. He graced the number of success and pride as he was a lock down corner back as well as an explosive punt turner. He made seven Pro Bowls, seven All-Pro teams and for sure, deserves Hall of Fame listing.
4. Calvin Johnson, WR
Calvin has been with the Detroit since 2007 to present. He is the only player in history to have more than 1,600 receiving yards in consecutive seasons. In the NFL records, his name is almost on the top in most of the categories. This is a young talent who eventually will make it to the Hall of Fame.
3. Bobby Layne, QB
Bobby Layne joined the Detroit Lions in 1950 and left in 1958. For 9 years, he proved to be the best quarterback in Lion’s history. He was the one who led the Lions to back to back NFL championships in 1952 and 1953 with fantastic numbers. He was a member of the All-Decade Team of the 1950s and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1967.
2. Joe Schmidt, LB
Joe Schmidt joined the Detroit Lions in 1963 and left in 1975 after staying with the team for 13 years. In 1960 he won the NFL MVP. He was the captain of the franchise defense for nine years and was key to the transition to the middle linebacker to the defensive quarterback which is a role the Lions follow up to date.
1. Barry Sanders, RB
For ten years from 1989 to 1998, Sanders was a legend at the Detroit Lions. He is one of the most beloved and productive players in the NFL history. He rushed 15,269 yards, caught 10 passing touchdowns,rushed for 99 TDs and brought pure excitement to the fans of the Detroit Lions for the years he was with the franchise.
Detroit Lions still exists because of the top 10 players who worked tirelessly to make sure that the franchise is somewhere in the map of the NFL.