The 50 Greatest Players in Detroit Lions History

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The 50 Greatest Players in Detroit Lions History
A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images

For a team with such a well-documented history of losing, the Detroit Lions have fielded a huge amount of talent since the organization was founded in Portsmouth, Ohio, in 1929.

The problem, really, is that the Lions never had all that talent on the team at the same time. You'll see that the talent on the Lions roster has been pretty well dispersed over the 80-plus years of Detroit Lions existence.

This accounts for an abundance of great players and an overall lack of great teams. But this isn't about lamenting historical failures, it's about appreciating some of the all-time greats, the best players ever to don Honolulu blue and silver—or even Portsmouth Spartan purple.

Some basic rules before you dive in. The headline of each slide is ordered as follows: number in countdown, player name, player position and years played with the Lions. I point this out specifically because a good number of the players on this list played with other teams as well. The dates listed are not their career dates, but the years they spent with the Lions.

I placed particular emphasis on legacy and longevity with the team. There are some players who could deserve to be higher on the list, but fell because they only spent four or five years with the Lions.

For many of the older, historical players, it's difficult to find quality images, so I tried to use something relevant—either footage from a game they played in, an award named for them, or something else loosely related to the player. Bear with me on this.

Finally, keep in mind that this is all subjective. I have spent a lot of time on this list and I stand by it, but it's subjective, which makes it impossible to be "right" about these things. If you think I'm crazy, let me know about it. These things are more conversation pieces than they are be-all-end-all sources of information, so let the conversation begin.

 

Stats and information used courtesy of NFL.comPro Football Reference, and DetroitLions.com.

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