The Detroit Lions
have a storied history any fan base would be proud of. Ok, I get it, that is certainly quite the stretch but despite the lack of team success over the last 60 years or so, there have been some great players who have worn the Honolulu blue and silver.
In this piece, we will take a look at which offensive players made the cut to be named to the Detroit Lions all-time offensive lineup.
Quarterback – Matthew Stafford
We may as well start off with what will likely get the most trolls to come out of the woodwork. There is absolutely no question that Matthew Stafford is the best quarterback ever to play for the Detroit Lions. If you happen to be a Stafford hater, you are probably foaming at the mouth by now and jumping on Facebook to tell us how stupid we are and how Bobby Layne is far and away better than Stafford. Yes, Layne was part of three World Championship teams with the Lions but that alone does not automatically crown him as the best. Let me put it this way, can you imagine the hate that Stafford would get if he completed less than half of his passes and threw more interceptions than touchdowns? Well, that is exactly what Layne did (49% completion %, 118 TDs and 142 INTs) during his his time in Detroit. Unfortunately, Stafford has not been surrounded by a great team or he could possibly have a Super Bowl title by now.
Running Back – Barry Sanders
Now that we have the most controversial selection out of the way, let’s get to the biggest no-brainer. With 15,269 rushing yards in just 10 NFL seasons, Barry Sanders is not only the greatest Detroit Lions running back of all-time, but the greatest running back in NFL history. Like Stafford, Sanders never had the talent around him to win a Super Bowl, but he certainly did his part, year in and year out. Unfortunately, for the Lions and their fans, Barry decided to hang up his cleats while he was still in the prime of his career.
Fullback – Dexter Bussey
Though he was also the starting running back for part of his time in Detroit, I am giving Dexter Bussey the nod as the best Lions fullback in team history. After being drafted in the 3rd round of the 1974 NFL Draft, Bussey actually managed to become the Lions all-time leading rusher in 1981. In 11 seasons, he rushed for 5,105 yards and scored 51 total touchdowns.
Wide Receiver – Calvin Johnson
Calvin Johnson was without question, one of the most physically gifted wide receivers in NFL history. He not only had the size but he had the speed to be a mismatch against even the best of opponents. In nine seasons with the Lions, Johnson racked up 731 receptions for 11,619 yards and 84 total touchdowns. Calvin was selected to play in six NFL Pro Bowls and was named to the NFL First-Team All-Pro team on three occasions. Like Barry Sanders, Johnson made the decision to retire despite still having gas in the tank.
Wide Receiver – Herman Moore
Before there was Calvin Johnson, the greatest wide receiver in Lions history was Herman Moore. Moore, who was drafted by the Lions in the 1st round of the 1991 NFL Draft, accumulated 670 receptions for 9,174 yards and 62 touchdowns during his 11 years in Detroit. From 1994 through 1997, Moore made four NFL Pro Bowl teams and made the NFL First-Team All-Pro team three times.
Tight End – Charlie Sanders
Though he never had more than 656 receiving yards in a season, Charlie Sanders is one of the greatest Detroit Lions of all-time. After being selected by the Lions in the 3rd round of the 1968 NFL Draft, Sanders went on to become the Lions starting tight end for the next 10 seasons. During that time, Sanders not only recorded 336 catches for 4,817 yards and 31 touchdowns, but he was known as one of the best blocking tight ends in the league. Considering he was a 7-time Pro Bowl player and a 3-time NFL First-Team All-Pro, it is no surprise Sanders was eventually inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Offensive Tackle – Lou Creekmur
There is little to no question that Lou Creekmur is the greatest offensive tackle ever to play for the Detroit Lions. From 1950-1958, Creekmur played in 165 consecutive games. During his career in Detroit, he was part of three NFL Championship teams and was a 7-time NFL First-Team All-Pro. In 1996, Creekmur was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Offensive Tackle – Lomas Brown
Lomas Brown is best known as one of the offensive linemen who had the pleasure of blocking for the great Barry Sanders. Some say it was Sanders who made the offensive line look good, but Brown was certainly very good at his position. During his time in Detroit, Brown was selected to seven NFL Pro Bowls.
Center – Kevin Glover
Like Lomas Brown, Kevin Glover is known by most as one of the guys lucky enough to have blocked for Barry Sanders. Glover played 13 of his 15 NFL seasons with the Lions and he was one of the most consistent and reliable players the team ever had. During his time in the Motor City, Glover was selected to three NFL Pro Bowls.
Offensive Guard – Harley Sewell
After being drafted by the Detroit Lions in the 1st round of the 1953 NFL Draft, Harley Sewell immediately took the reigns and started at right guard for the next 10 seasons. He was also part of the 1953 and 1957 NFL Championship teams and was selected to play in four NFL Pro Bowls.
Offensive Guard – John Gordy
John Gordy, who was selected in the 2nd round of the 1957 NFL Draft, started in 129 out of 134 games played for the Lions from 1957-1967. In 1957, Gordy was one of the key offensive lineman who helped lead the Detroit Lions to the NFL Championship. During his time with the Lions, Gordy was also selected to three NFL Pro Bowls.