The beginning of Detroit Lions actually begins in 1928 in Portsmouth, Ohio when the team was known as the Portsmouth Spartans. The team joined the NFL in 1930, but they were plagued with financial problems. In 1934 George Richards purchased the team and relocated them to Detroit and renamed them the Detroit Lions.
Detroit would suit the team well as they started their first season there winning 10 in a row while shutting out seven. They would end the season in second place. This was also the year a deal was inked to televise the Lions on Thanksgiving Day, beginning the tradition of the Lions playing a televised game on Thanksgiving Day every year. The following year the Lions would go on to beat the Giants in the championship game. It was a triple crown of sorts for Detroit as the same year the Tigers won the World Series and the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup.
In 1939 the Lions had lost their two key players to retirement and barely went over .500 and Richards sold the team to Fred Mandell Jr. With the exceptions of 1944 and 1945 when the team went 6-3-1 and 7-3 respectively, the ’40s were not kind to the Lions. In 1948 the team was sold again to the Detroit Football Company. The new ownership began rebuilding the roster.
In 1950 the team went .500. The following season, with a new coach they saw a winning season, and starting in 1952 they would meet the Browns three years in a row in the Championship game, winning the first two. The team continued to play well throughout the ’50s until they traded Bobby Lane, who left them with what has come to be known as The Curse of Bobby Layne.
After a disappointing 1959 season, the team decided to rebuild around defense and it was successful for the following three seasons. However, a betting scandal, another sale, and the retirement of a key player destroyed the rest of the decade for them.
Unfortunately, things have not been consistent for the Lions since those days. Although they have fielded some of the most legendary players, such as the great Barry Sanders, and played in some of the most historic games, consistent success has eluded them for some reason or another. That’s not to say they don’t have their fair share of post-season greatness with 18 playoff appearances, four division championships, four conference championships, and four league championship game victories. With rivalries against the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears that go back to 1930, this team has a great history.
Among the oldest teams in the league, preparing to begin their 94th year, there seems to be a feeling that something is changing in Detroit. A rebuild has taken place. A core is being put together. With players such as Aiden Hutchinson, Josh Paschal, Kerby Joseph, and Malcolm Rodriguez, the Lions seem ready to go. Add in Jamaal Williams who broke Barry Sanders single-season touchdown record and you have a team that is completely loaded with future star talent. With that roster, the 2023 season is going to be quite the ride for Lions fans.
Hop on now and don’t be left out. Come to NFL Webcast, join us in the optional in-game live chat, and cheer on the team as they look to revive the Silver Crush. With four available live streams per team for every game you won’t miss anything here. Bring the Pride of Motor City to NFL Webcast!