Greatest Detroit Lions Players In History

If you are a fan of the Detroit Lions, you may be wondering what the NFL Spreads look like for them this year. However, the spreads are yet to show any Super Bowl action. To think about them would just be teasing ourselves. 

So, instead, let’s look over the awesome history of the best players to play with the Detroit Lions. 

As a fan of this franchise, you may be aware that they have never been to a Super Bowl in the history of the team, they have only had a single playoff win in the tie since the Super Bowl became a thing. 

They might be one of the least successful teams in the history of the NFL, but we want to look at who the players are, as the team itself has had some epic players over the years, and the team has just been very unlucky. 

So, who are the team’s greatest players in history?

Barry Sanders (1989 – 1998) 

The number one player in Detroit Lions history is, of course, Barry Sanders. He is known as the greatest running Back to have played in the league, and his style was truly something magical to behold. 

He was selected for the Pro Bowl consistently from 1989 until 1998, and is a well-known revered member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

Barry Sanders does hold the league record for 14 consecutive 100-yard rushing games as well, and for him to have maintained this record with all the epic players there have been since, it is quite the epic achievement! 

Joe Schmidt (1953 – 1965) 

Just behind Barry Sanders, is Joe Schmidt. Joe Schmidt is the greatest linebacker the Lions have ever seen. He was a 10 time Pro Bowl selection and is still a member of the Pro Bowl Hall of Fame today. 

He actually managed to lead the Lions to two NFL championships, prior to the introduction of the Super Bowl, and is highly regarded as one of the strongest, toughest players to have ever played in the NFL! 

Calvin Johnson (2007 – 2015) 

In third place we have Calvin Johnson, who was nicknamed as ‘Megatron’, and he was a tip-top receiver in the NFL. Before he retired he managed to build up 11,619 receiving yards as well as 83 touchdown receptions! 

Both of these are records for the Lions, and so it is no surprise that he is a Hall of Famer and is well deserved of being number 3 on our list.

Bobby Layne / Matthew Stafford (1950 – 1958)/ (2009-2020)

Layne and Stafford tie for 4th, as it is pretty tricky to choose between the two. 

Bobby Layne was actually drafted by the Bears in the first round of the 1948 draft, but later he joined the Lions in 1950 and has been seen as one of the best quarterbacks the team ever saw. 

Layne actually led the Lions to 3 Championships, with the most recent in 1957. He was then selected for the Pr Football Hall of Fame in ‘67 and was then named to be a member of the 1950s A;;-Decade Team. 

Then there is Stafford. He was picked by the Lions as the overall number one pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, and while he was never able to lead the team to a playoff in his time, he still set plenty of records we will likely never see get broken.

Lem Barney (1967- 1977)

In 5th place we have Lem Barney who is yet another Pro Football Hall of Famer. He was the greatest defensive back the team ever saw. He was also noted as being the Defensive Rookie of the Year in his first year, and was a 2nd round draft pick. 

Still, he made it to 7 total Pro Bowls and was named as being an NFL 1960s All-Decade Team player too! 

Jason Hanson (1992 – 2012)

It might be wild to some but Jason Hanson made the list. We do not often see kickers make these lists afterall. 

Hanson made it for 20 years with the Lions, and is still the team’s leader in all-time scoring with 2,100 points to his name, as well as 495 field goals. 

He also holds a range of team records for kicks and scores! 

He made 495 field goals, 601 attempts, had a field goal percentage of 82.4%, made 56 long field goals, and scored a grand total of 2,150 points! 

Alex Karras (1958 – 1962/ 1964 – 1970) 

Finally, there is Alex Karras. Alex Karras was drafted in the very first round of the 1958 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. 

He spent a total of 12 seasons with this team, and to this day is still believed to be one of the most dominant and powerful defensive tackles seen in the league. 

He was also selected to play in 4 Pro Bowls, and ended up being named to the 1960s All-Decade NFL Team. 

We do not often hear about the Defensive Tackles, and their achievements, so it is nice to see one with such great achievements for them to be rated so highly!