Detroit Lions: Tobin Rote

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, 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.
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. 80-71. Most of the numbers came from research on the Detroit Lions website, record books, and ESPN Stats & Information.

80: Barry Sanders, as he has done against so many teams, broke a major run against the Indianapolis Colts on Nov. 23, 1997. The 80-yard scamper for a touchdown was part of a 216-yard game for Sanders. It was the fourth time in Sanders' career he rushed for 200 yards or more.

79: Earl Morrall bounced around with a lot of teams throughout his career -- six during an era in which free agency didn't exist. Morrall was a Lion for at least part of seven seasons and was one of the players included in the Bobby Layne trade in 1958 with Pittsburgh. Morrall died in April at the age of 79.

78: Quarterback Tobin Rote found receiver Jim Doran for a 78-yard touchdown pass during the 1957 championship game for the Lions, the last title the franchise would win. Rote's third quarter touchdown to Doran gave the Lions' a 38-14 lead over Cleveland, essentially sealing the 59-14 win for Detroit. Rote's play may have factored into the the Lions' reasoning in trading Bobby Layne to Pittsburgh the following season.

77: Yards Shawn Bryson ran for a touchdown against Baltimore on Oct. 9, 2005 -- one of four the Lions scored against the Ravens during a 35-17 win that day. At the time, the four rushing touchdowns by Detroit were the most allowed by Baltimore in a single game in its history.

76: Barry Sanders had 76 100-yard rushing games during his 10-year career with the Lions. His first came on Sept. 24, 1989, against Chicago, when he broke an almost three-year 100-yard rushing drought for the Lions with a 126-yard performance. His last came on Dec. 6, 1998, when he had 102 yards at Jacksonville.

75: Lomas Brown wore this number from 1985 to 1995 and is considered one of the best offensive tackles in Detroit Lions’ history. He was a six-time Pro Bowler in his 11 seasons with Detroit.

74: Games played by the Lions on Thanksgiving Day, an annual tradition for the franchise. Detroit is 34-38-2 in those games and have played Green Bay 21 times on Thanksgiving -- more than any other franchise. Second-most is Chicago, the team the Lions face this season on Thanksgiving.

73: The longest reception of the 2011 season for Calvin Johnson -- the only time the receiver has appeared in the playoffs. The catch came against the Chicago Bears on Oct. 10, 2011, on "Monday Night Football" in a 24-13 Lions win. Johnson had five catches for 130 yards in the game as the Lions won their fifth straight game to start that year.

72: Completed passes by Erik Kramer for the Lions in the playoffs, a team record. Kramer's completions came in four playoff games -- including a 29-of-38, 341-yard, three touchdown performance in the Lions' lone playoff win over Dallas on Jan. 5, 1992.

71: Losses for Wayne Fontes in his Detroit Lions coaching career -- most by any coach in the franchise (67 regular-season losses, 4 postseason losses) . Of course, he also holds the record for most wins in franchise history (67 -- 66 regular season and 1 postseason) and most games coached in franchise history (138). Considering the ineptitude of the team, it makes sense Fontes would hold all three records.