Friday, July 4, 2014
Lions history by the numbers: 10-0
By Michael Rothstein
We have looked at the history of the Detroit Lions from a little bit different perspective -- history through the numbers. Each weekday will feature a set of numbers counting down from 100.
The series concludes with Nos. 10-0. Most of the numbers came from research on the Detroit Lions' website, record books, Pro-Football-Reference.com and ESPN Stats & Information. And happy Independence Day.
10: Training camp homes Detroit has had in franchise history. The Lions started at Cranbrook from 1934-41 before moving to Charlevoix (1942), West Shore Golf Club in Grosse Ile (1943-44), Assumption College in Windsor, Ontario (1945), Alma College (1946-48), Michigan State Normal College (1949-56), Cranbrook again (1957-74), Oakland University (1975-89), Pontiac Silverdome (1990-96), Saginaw Valley State (1997-2001) and the team’s practice facility in Allen Park (2002-present).
9: Number worn by quarterback Matthew Stafford, who has already set the franchise records for career passing yards; passing touchdowns in a season; passing attempts in a career, season and game; completions in a career, season and game; and completion percentage in a season, among other things.
8: Career punt returns for touchdowns from Jack Christiansen, a Detroit Lions record. Christiansen returned those punts from 1951 to 1957 and had four of his eight returns for scores during 1951, his rookie season. He had two in his second season, 1952, and then one each in 1954 and 1956. He ended up with 1,084 punt return yards in his career.
7: Dutch Clark's jersey number. The Hall of Fame back played in 75 games, starting 49 of them during the 1930s. He led the Lions to their first championship and completed 114 of 250 passes for 1,507 yards, 11 touchdowns and 26 interceptions in his career. He also ran the ball 606 times for 2,772 yards and 36 touchdowns. He was named All-NFL every year from 1931 to 1937.
6: Most field goals in a game by a Lions player -- accomplished twice, both against Minnesota. Garo Yepremian hit his six-pack on Nov. 13, 1966. Almost 33 years later, Jason Hanson made six field goals on Oct. 17, 1999. Also the most field goals by an opponent in a game, made by Justin Tucker from Baltimore in 2013.
5: Kick return touchdowns for Mel Gray with the Lions, a franchise record. No other Lions player has had more than two in his Lions career. In all, Gray had six kick returns for scores in his career, but he had five with the Lions -- including three in the 1994 season. It was one of three seasons with Detroit he was named an All-Pro.
4: Championships for the franchise since its inception. All four came in the pre-Super Bowl era -- in 1935, 1952, 1953 and 1957.
3: Lions players who were killed in service during World War II. Lt. Chet Wetterlund was killed stateside in a plane crash during a patrol mission in New Jersey on Sept. 5, 1944. Sgt. Alex Ketzko was killed in France on Dec. 23, 1944. Lt. Charles Behan was shot down by gunfire in Okinawa on May 18, 1945. Ketzko played one season for the Lions in 1943, starting three games as a tackle. Wetterlund completed 13 of 44 passes for 230 yards, no touchdowns and 10 interceptions along with 23 carries for six yards in 1942, his only season with the Lions. He also had 11 punts for 449 yards and had an interception on defense. Behan had four catches for 63 yards in 1942, his only season with the team.
2: Most kick and punt returns for a score in a game by a Lions player -- accomplished by many players, most recently Jeremy Ross against Philadelphia on Dec. 8, 2013. Eddie Drummond (Nov. 14, 2004), Eddie Payton (Dec. 17, 1977) and Jack Christiansen (Oct. 14, 1951 and Nov. 22, 1951) are the other players to accomplish this.
1: Playoff wins in the Super Bowl era for the Detroit Lions. It came on Jan. 5, 1992, when the Lions beat Dallas, 38-6. The next week, the Lions lost to Washington in the NFC title game, 41-10.
0: Wins during the 2008 season, the worst in NFL history. The Lions were the first team in the history of the league to lose 16 games in a season. The season led to the firings of Rod Marinelli and general manager Matt Millen.