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Matthew Stafford Will Exorcise the "Curse Of Bobby Layne."

Colin LinneweberSenior Writer IApril 22, 2009

ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 1: Quarterback Matthew Stafford #7 of the University of Georgia sets to pass against the Michigan State Spartans at the 2009 Capital One Bowl at the Citrus Bowl on January 1, 2009 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

The 2009 NFL Draft will transpire this weekend at Radio City Music Hall in New York City and fans in Detroit are imploring the Lions organization to select former University of Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford with the first pick to finally exorcise the “Curse of Bobby Layne."

Layne, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1967 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1968, quarterbacked the pathetic Lions franchise during some of their rare glorious years in the 1950s.

Layne, a five-time Pro-Bowl selection that Sports Illustrated named “The Toughest Quarterback Who Ever Lived,” helped lead the Lions to three league championships from 1950 to 1958 before their rudderless brass traded their brave signal-caller to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

In response to being jettisoned from Motown, Layne, who was ranked No. 52 on The Sporting News list of Football’s 100 Greatest Players, allegedly predicted that the Lions “would not win for 50 years.”

Curiously, Detroit has recorded one measly playoff victory since Layne’s proclamation and the Lions have accumulated the worst winning percentage of any team in the NFL during this ominous 50-year span.

On the 50th anniversary of Layne's curse, the 2008 Lions established a benchmark for futility by becoming the only team in NFL history to lose all 16 regular-season games and finish with a disgraceful mark of 0-16.

Most pigskin analysts project that the Lions will select Stafford first overall this Saturday afternoon and even Detroit's new Head Coach, Jim Schwartz, admitted his team likely needs to address their precarious quarterback situation.

"It's probably time to find a replacement for Bobby Layne," said Schwartz, who was officially hired in The Motor City this past January.

Stafford, 21, the MVP of the 2009 Capital One Bowl who ironically graduated from the same Highland Park High School in Dallas as Layne did in 1944, is aware of Layne's legacy and he is undaunted at the prospect of expelling the curse.

"I know about the curse," said Stafford, a player renowned football analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. projected as an eventual top pick in the draft before he ever took a snap for the Bulldogs. "I know he went to my high school. It's crazy. It really is weird to think about. It's kind of cool irony, I guess, that it could happen."

Detroit will always have their Hockeytown moniker. But perhaps Stafford can generate an excitement at Ford Field not felt since Barry Sanders stopped running in the crime-laden city after he retired in 1999.

"I don't know if it's destiny, but I'd love to have the opportunity to be a Lion, for sure."

Residents of Detroit should forget about The Eminem Show. It’s time for the long-overdue premiere of Matthew Stafford in Motown.

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