1957 NFL Champion Detroit Lions get blown out by College All-Stars

Every now and then, a theoretical discussion comes up about whether or not the best college football team in the nation could beat the worst NFL team from a given season.

Though some believe the college team could hang, the consensus is that the NFL team would win the game easily.

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But back in the day, the NFL Champion/Super Bowl Champion would take on a College All-Star team in an exhibition game prior to the start of the next season. The game was called the Chicago College All-Star Game and it took place from 1934-1976 (with the exception of 1974, due to the NFL strike).

If you follow the history of the Detroit Lions, you know off the top of your head that they won the NFL Championship for the 1935, 1952, 1953, and 1957 seasons, which means they got to play the College All-Stars leading up to the 1936, 1953, 1954, and 1958 seasons.

In those matchups, the Lions had a 2-1-1 record vs. the College All-Stars with the Lions loss coming after they won their last NFL Championship in 1957.

The game took place on Aug. 15, 1958, at Soldier Field in Chicago and there were 70,000 fans in attendance.

According to the history books, the Lions were a 14-point favorite over the College All-Stars, but on that given Friday night in August, the point spread did not matter as the College All-Stars walked away with a dominating victory.

The Lions opened up the game by scoring a touchdown after marching 80 yards on 10 plays when one of their star QBs Tobin Rote (the other was the great Bobby Layne) connected with Jim Doran for a 24-yard touchdown and it looked like the professionals would dominate the amateurs.

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But the College All-Stars were not about to sit back and take a beating and they proved that by marching down the field and kicking a field goal to make the score 7-3. But the biggest play of the game came in the second quarter when Illinois HB Bobby Mitchell took a pass from Michigan State QB Jim Ninowski and ran for an 84-yard touchdown to give the All-Stars the lead.

At the half, the Lions trailed the All-Stars 20-7 and they reportedly had to stay outside of their locker room due to a power outage.

In the second half, the All-Stars continued their domination of the NFL Champion Detroit Lions and eventually won the game 35-19. Lions QB Bobby Layne, who would soon place a curse on the Lions, tossed four interceptions in the game, including one to Chuck Howley from West Virginia, who returned it for a touchdown.

Could a college National Championship team ever beat the worst team in the NFL? Of course not. But many moons ago, a College All-Star team beat the crap out of the 1957 NFL Champion Detroit Lions.

*Information for this article comes from Today in Pro Football History. Please click here to read more details about the game.