The Detroit Lions have only won one playoff game since the 1950s but have had a handful of solid quarterbacks nearly take them to the next level. From Bobby Layne winning an NFL Championship in the 1950s to current-day signal-caller Matthew Stafford breaking every Lions record known to man, Detroit quarterbacks have always been able to sling the ball. (Ok, that is a stretch)
Who ranks No. 1 all-time and who rounds out the top five?
Find out as DSN ranks the top 5 Detroit Lions’ quarterbacks of all-time.
No. 5 – Scott Mitchell (1994-1998)
Based on stats alone, Scott Mitchell should probably be higher on this list. Ranking 3rd all-time on the Lions franchise ranks in completions (1,850) and yards (12,647) and 4th in touchdowns (79), Mitchell put together some impressive seasons over his four seasons as the Detroit starter. But, despite those impressive numbers, Mitchell will always be remembered for his playoff failures, and because of that, he comes in at No. 5 on our list.
No. 4 – Erik Kramer (1991-1993)
Despite a very short career with the Lions, Erik Kramer earns a spot on this list because he actually won a playoff game. In 1991, his first season with Detroit, Kramer led the Lions to their first playoff victory in nearly 40 years when they defeated the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Divisional Round. While holding no Lions’ passing records, Kramer’s playoff victory remains one of the greatest memories for many Lions’ fans, and he forever holds a spot in the heart of the Detroit faithful.
No. 3 – Greg Landry (1968-1978)
Over Greg Landry‘s 10-year career in Detroit, his first three seasons were his most impressive. From 1968-1970, Landry led the Lions to three straight winnings seasons, including a playoff appearance in 1970 after accumulating a 10-4 regular-season record. Landry ranks 4th all-time on the Lions’ in completions (957) and yards (12,451) and 3rd all-time in touchdowns (80).
No. 2 – Bobby Layne (1950-1958)
Bobby Layne did what no other Lions quarterback ever could in bringing Detroit a championship. Along with winning the NFL Championship in 1952 and 1953, Layne tore up the Lions record books. Before Matthew Stafford came along, Layne owned every Lions major passing record. He sits second on the all-time lists in completions (1,074), yards (15,710) and touchdowns (118), the championships he brought to Detroit would place him No. 1 for many, but quarterback wins are not a meaningful stat.
No. 1 – Matthew Stafford (2009-PRESENT)
In just 10 plus seasons as the Lions starting quarterback, Matthew Stafford already owns every single major passing record. As the franchise’s all-time leader in completions (3,559), yards (41,025) and touchdowns (256) by a hefty margin, Stafford has to be No. 1 on this list, despite not winning a playoff game. But like we said earlier, quarterback wins are not the best way to determine who is a better quarterback. Let’s just hope Stafford can get some playoff wins in Detroit before his career is over. Then, there will be no doubt whatsoever that he is the greatest quarterback in Detroit Lions history.