Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Flash Points: Lions' defining moment
By Kevin Seifert
What key event significantly changed the fortunes of the Lions -- for better or worse? Give us your take and we'll give you our definitive moment on May 17.
The Detroit Lions have been playing football under one name or another since 1929, and although they're best known for the second-longest championship drought in pro football (53 years and counting), there are plenty of history-making events to choose from in this project.
In 1950, for example, the Lions acquired quarterback Bobby Layne via a complicated trade that ultimately left the Lions making financial payments to the Chicago Bears. Layne led the Lions to a pair of championships in 1952 and 1953 and was injured during their run to the 1957 title. As legend has it, he cursed the Lions upon his departure for the next 50 years.
The Lions had a rare moment of excitement in 1980, when running back Billy Sims proved to be every bit as good as his billing when they made him the No. 1 overall draft pick. But in a symbol of the Lions' bad fortune, he blew out his knee in 1984 and never played again.
Five years later, the Lions made running back Barry Sanders the No. 3 overall pick in the draft. Sanders' legendary elusiveness made him one of the best players in franchise history.
The arrival of Matt Millen as team president/general manager/CEO in 2001 ushered in the worst decade of performance, based on winning percentage, in NFL history. Millen was fired in 2008 as the Lions were on their way to a 0-16 season, but the franchise is still reassembling itself from the mess he left behind.
Use the module in this post to cast your vote. If you vote Other, give us your suggestion in the comments area below.