Welcome back Detroit Lions fans! Are you ready for some playoff football featuring only Lions teams? Well, you have come to the right place. First of all, if you did not notice in the title, this is Part 3 of a 4 part series that places the top 8 Lions teams of the Super Bowl era into a bracket-style playoff that in the end will determine which team is the greatest Lions team ever! Here are links to Part 1 and Part 2 of the series, in case you missed them. Part 1 includes a breakdown of what exactly this concept is all about, along with the revealing of the 8 teams that I chose for the playoff with their respective seeds. Part 2 includes the results and a recap of each 1st round game.
On to the semifinals! Who will go to the Super Bowl of all-time Lions teams? Time to find out!
#1 – 1991 Detroit Lions (12-4) vs. #5 – 2011 Detroit Lions (10-6) @ Pontiac Silverdome
In an unforgettable game between two of the best Detroit Lions teams of all-time, Barry Sanders broke the NFL rushing record, as the 1991 Lions outlasted the 2011 Lions to advance to the Super Bowl. Sanders carried the ball only 25 times but was able to rack up 345 rushing yards while scoring 4 touchdowns on the day, with 3 of the touchdowns coming in the first half from more than 6o yards out. With a 27-13 halftime lead, the 1991 team felt like they had the game in the bag, but the contest was far from over. Matthew Stafford orchestrated a ferocious 2nd half comeback that ended up falling just short of victory. With :04 seconds left in the game and the ball spotted on the 11-yard line, Stafford tried to force a ball to Calvin Johnson that was intercepted by Bennie Blades in the end zone to seal the deal.
1991 Lions 37 – 2011 Lions 31
#2 – 1970 Detroit Lions (10-4) vs. #3 – 1995 Detroit Lions (10-6) @ Tiger Stadium
In a game that will forever be remembered as the Blizzard Bowl, the 1970 Detroit Lions battled the 1995 Detroit Lions in a nearly empty Tiger Stadium. With temperatures reaching a high of only 2 degrees, along with 45 mph winds and heavy snow, nearly every fan decided to stay home and watch the game from their couch. The 1991 team offered to move the game to the Silverdome, but the 1970 team refused to know very well that they would be climbing right into a lion’s den, wait…never mind. Anyway, not one pass was thrown in the entire game, and neither team was able to score a single point in regulation. Barry Sanders, from the 1995 team, was held to 74 yards on 41 carries as his team was never even able to cross midfield. Finally in overtime, on his 41st and final carry of the game, Sanders fumbled the ball when he was hit simultaneously by Dick LeBeau and Lem Barney. LeBeau recovered the loose ball and returned it to the 1995 Lions 7-yard line, setting up a chip shot 24-yard field goal by Errol Mann to win the game.
1970 Detroit Lions 3 – 1995 Detroit Lions 0
The Stage Is Set
This sets us up for the Super Bowl of the greatest Detroit Lions teams of all time. To make things fair, the game will be played at the neutral Ford Field, in Detroit, Michigan. Please stay tuned for Part 4 of this series as the greatest Lions team of the Superbowl era will be determined, as the 1991 Lions and Barry Sanders square off against the 1970 Lions and their ferocious defense, led by Dick LeBeau and Lem Barney.