Detroit Lions: Howard 'Hopalong' Cassady

We'll be looking 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 continues with Nos. 60-51. Most of the numbers came from research on the Detroit Lions website, record books, Pro-Football-Reference.com and ESPN Stats & Information.

60: Number worn by Mike Utley, who was paralyzed from the chest down during a game against the Los Angeles Rams on Nov. 17, 1991. The play Utley was paralyzed on remains one of the most memorable in Detroit Lions history -- including his thumbs-up gesture as he was leaving the field on a stretcher. Utley remains around the team to this day and started the Mike Utley Foundation to support people who are disabled with spinal cord injuries.

59: Points allowed by the Detroit Lions in 1934, the fewest ever by the franchise. It was the only time the club has allowed under 100 points in a season -- and is the one record that will likely never be broken considering the increased games in the schedule and more of an emphasis on scoring. The Lions allowed two rushing touchdowns and five passing touchdowns that season. The team went 10-3 that season, the first year the Lions were in Detroit.

58: Points scored by Philadelphia in the 1995 wild-card game against Detroit, a game the Eagles won, 58-37. It is the most points the Lions have allowed in a playoff game and one of only four times the Lions have allowed 40 or more points in a playoff game.

57: As in 1957, the last time the Lions won a championship. Detroit, behind quarterbacks Tobin Rote and Bobby Layne along with Howard “Hopalong” Cassady, Steve Junker, Jim Doran, Joe Schmidt and others, won the NFL title. The Lions beat Cleveland, 59-14, in the NFL title game on Dec. 29, 1957.

56: Number worn by Joe Schmidt. The Hall of Fame linebacker was an eight-time All-Pro and won two championships with the club. He remains in the top 10 in career interceptions with the Lions over 40 years after his final season in the NFL with 24.

55: Sacks by the Lions in 1978, the only time in franchise history there have been more than 50 sacks in a season (the Lions hit 50 sacks in 1964 and 1999). Detroit went 7-9 that season, but the defense was led by defensive end Al “Bubba” Baker, linebacker Paul Naumoff and middle linebacker Ed O’Neil.

54: Yards of the longest field goal in Thanksgiving Day game history for the Lions, hit by Jason Hanson against Green Bay on Nov. 22, 2001. The kick came in the second quarter of a game the team lost, 29-27, despite scoring two touchdowns in the final two minutes when a Mike McMahon two-point conversion pass failed.

53: Kevin Glover wore this number for the Detroit Lions from 1985 to 1997 as a center. He made three Pro Bowls from 1995 to 1997 and was one of the main blockers for Barry Sanders. In all, he played in 177 games for the Lions. He has since returned to Maryland, where he is the Coordinator of Development, Alumni and Community Relations for the Terrapins’ football program.

52: Field goals 50 yards or longer by Jason Hanson in his career, a franchise and NFL record. He made 52 of 93 field goals from that distance -- including all eight he attempted in the Lions' winless 2008 season. His career-long was 56 yards.

51: Since 2001, this number has belonged to center Dominic Raiola, who has been one of the constants for the Lions in this century. No other Detroit player has worn No. 51 in this millenium and won’t this season, as Raiola has returned to the club for his 14th season. Raiola has only missed four games since winning the starting center job prior to the 2002 season.

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