|33px Current season|
Play in Ford Field
Headquartered in Allen Park, Michigan
|Team colors||Honolulu Blue, Silver, Black, White|
|Fight song||Gridiron Heroes|
|Mascot||Roary the Lion
Theo "Gridiron" Spight (fight song singer)
|Owner(s)||William Clay Ford, Sr.|
|Chairman||William Clay Ford, Sr.|
|General manager||Martin Mayhew|
|Head coach||Jim Schwartz|
|League championships (4)|
|Conference championships (4)|
|Division championships (4)|
The Detroit Lions are a professional American football team based in Detroit, Michigan. They are members of the North Division of the National Football Conference (NFC) in the National Football League (NFL), and play their home games at Ford Field in downtown Detroit.
Originally based in Portsmouth, Ohio and called the Portsmouth Spartans, the team began play in 1929 as an independent professional team, one of many such teams in the Ohio and Scioto River valleys. For the 1930 season, the Spartans formally joined the NFL as the other area independents folded because of the Great Depression. Despite success within the NFL, they could not survive in Portsmouth, then the NFL's smallest city. The team was purchased and moved to Detroit for the 1934 season.
The Lions have won four NFL Championships, the last in 1957, giving the club the second-longest NFL championship drought behind the Arizona Cardinals, who last won in 1947 (as the Chicago Cardinals). The Lions are one of four current NFL teams that have yet to qualify for the Super Bowl, the only one with an unbroken NFL existence dating to before 1995, and the only one in the NFC. The team has qualified for the playoffs only nine times in the more than 50 years since winning the 1957 championship. The Lions hold the second longest regular season losing streak in NFL history, losing 19 straight games from the final week of the 2007 season and ending on September 27, 2009, when the Lions defeated the Washington Redskins 19–14. It is second only to the 1976–77 Tampa Bay Buccaneers' losing streak of 26. Also since the NFL's expansion to 32 teams in 2002, the Lions are the only NFC team to not make the playoffs.
The 2008 Detroit Lions became the only team in NFL history to lose all 16 regular season games. They had won all their preseason games that year, and were the only team to do so. They are only the second team to go winless without a tie (next to the 0–14 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers) since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. They went 2–14 in 2009. On November 14, 2010 in Buffalo, the Lions lost their 25th straight road game, setting a new NFL record for consecutive road losses. The previous record of 24 was also set by the Lions from 2001 to 2003. The streak reached 26 games before being broken on December 19, 2010, when the Lions won at Tampa Bay. The win against Tampa Bay was the second in a four game winning streak starting with the Green Bay Packers.
Logos and uniforms
Aside from a brief change to maroon in 1948 instituted by then head coach Bo McMillin (influenced by his years as coach at Indiana), the Lions uniforms have basically remained the same since the team debuted in 1930. The design consists of silver helmets, silver pants, and either blue or white jerseys.
There have been minor changes to the uniform design throughout the years, such as changing the silver stripe patterns on the jersey sleeves, and changing the colors of the jersey numbers. White trim was added to the logo in 1970. In 1998, the team wore blue pants with their white jerseys along with grey socks but dropped that combination after the season. In 1999, the 'TV numbers' on the sleeves were moved to the shoulders.
The shade of blue used for Lions uniforms and logos is officially known as "Honolulu blue," which is supposedly inspired by the color of the waves off the coast of Hawaii. The shade was chosen by Cy Huston, the Lions first vice president and general manager, and of the choice, he said: "They had me looking at so many blues I am blue in the face," Huston said about the selection. "But anyway, it's the kind of blue, I am told, that will match with silver."
In 1994, every NFL team wore throwback jerseys, and the Lions' were similar to the jerseys used during their 1935 championship season. The helmets and pants were solid silver, the jerseys Honolulu blue with silver numbers and the jersey did not have 'TV numbers' on the sleeves. The team wore solid blue socks along with black shoes. The helmets also did not have a logo, as helmets were simple leather back then. The Lions also wore '50s-style jerseys during their traditional Thanksgiving Day games from 2001 to 2004 as the NFL encouraged teams to wear throwback jerseys on Thanksgiving Day.
In 2003, the team added black trim to their logo and the jerseys. The face masks on the helmet changed from blue to black with the introduction of the new color. Additionally, an alternate home field jersey which makes black the dominant color (in place of Honolulu Blue) was introduced in 2005.
For 2008, the team dropped the black alternate jerseys in favor of a throwback uniform to commemorate the franchise's 75th anniversary. The throwback uniform became the team's permanent alternate jersey in 2009, replacing the former black alternate. The Lions officially unveiled new logo designs and uniforms on April 20, 2009. The Lion on the helmet now has a flowing mane and fangs, and the font of "Lions" is more modern.
According to USA Today, the Lions have added two new directors of scouting evaluation. Naveed Carim and Brett Jaksim were discovered by Martin Mayhew to work under Sheldon White in all scouting capacities. They have brought on their own system of player evaluation called the "PANDIAN" system, which they developed while attending the University of Michigan and the University of Oregon respectively.
Radio and television
The Lions' flagship radio stations are WXYT-FM, 97.1 FM, and WXYT-AM, 1270 AM. Dan Miller does play-by-play, Jim Brandstatter does color commentary, and Tony Ortiz provides sideline reports. If a conflict with Detroit Tigers or Detroit Red Wings coverage arises, only WXYT-FM serves as the Lions' flagship. The Lions and WXYT AM/FM renewed their partnership for three more seasons on October 9, 2009.
From 2008 to 2010, WWJ-TV has been the flagship television station for Lions pre-season games. The announcers were Matt Shepard on play-by-play and Rob Rubick with color commentary. Steve Courtney and Lions Hall of Famer Charlie Sanders hosted the pre-game show and halftime show and provide sideline reports.
Regular season games are broadcasted regionally on Fox, except when the Lions play an AFC team in Detroit, in which case the game airs regionally on CBS. The Thanksgiving Classic game in Detroit is always televised nationally on either Fox or CBS, depending on who the visiting team is. The Detroit Lions are the only NFC team that hasn't yet played on NBC (the Houston Texans hold that distinction for the AFC) when they got the NFL back in 2006.
The Lions' official regular season show of record is The Ford Lions Report.
The Lions' winless performance in 2008 and 2–14 season in 2009, coupled with the effects of the Late-2000s recession in Michigan, led to several local broadcast blackouts, as local fans did not purchase enough tickets by the 72-hour blackout deadline. In 2008, five of the Lions' final six home games of the season did not sell out, with the Thanksgiving game being the exception. The first blackout in the seven-year history of Ford Field was on October 26, 2008, against the Washington Redskins. The previous 50 regular season home games had been sellouts. The second home game of the 2009 season in which the Lions broke the losing streak (also against the Washington Redskins) was blacked out locally, as well as the comeback victory over the Cleveland Browns. The Lions had only one blackout in 2010, the Washington Redskins game, which the Lions won 37–25.
Notes and references
- "2008 NFL Preseason Standings". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 2010-12-23.
- Detroit Lions' record 25th consecutive road loss comes against previously winless Bills MLive.com November 14, 2010
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- Detroit Lions Official Site: Detroit Lions Radio Network Affiliates
- Lions staying with WXYT as flagship station Detroit News October 9, 2009
- WWJ-TV, CBS Detroit and the Detroit Lions Announce 2010 Lions Pre-Season Broadcast Plans Detroit Lions Official Site May 13, 2010
- WXYZ: "Detroit Lions and WXYZ partner for 2011 season", February 8, 2011.
- Kowalski, Tom (October 28, 2010). "Detroit Lions' game on Sunday will be blacked out locally". MLive.com. Retrieved October 29, 2010.