SAN FRANCISCO -- The Carolina Panthers played their very first NFL season 21 years ago, and in the two-plus decades due to the fact that their founding, they’ve already reached 2 Super Bowls.

You are watching: Detroit lions last super bowl win


I: Ford, tough

William Clay Ford purchase the Lions in 1963, and also the team has had actually just 15 winning seasons since. Ford, who passed away in 2014, was a nice male who too often trusted the wrong human being to develop him a winner. His widow, Martha Ford, through the assist of their four children, is running the company now.I: Ford, tough

II: Uncle Scrooge

Russ thomas was one of the civilization Ford left in power way too long. Thomas was the team cost-conscious evil president and also general manager in 1967-89, when the Lions seldom reached the postseason and often acquired into contract squabbles with players.


III: Booth review

Matt Millen is the contemporary version of Thomas. The Lions lured him out of the transfer booth after the 2000 season, and also he ran the team for one of the worst eight-year follow me in NFL history. The Lions’ document with Millen as president: 31-84.

IV: Promo code

Martin mayhew took over for Millen a couple of weeks into the 2008 season — and also amazingly was kept as GM ~ the Lions perfect the year 0-16. Days did placed together 2 playoff teams, but he’ll greatly be remembered for a litany that failed draft picks.

V: Oh, curses

As the old story goes, quarterback Bobby Layne, who aided the Lions win their most recent championship in 1957, put a 50-year hex top top the team ~ he to be traded come the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1958. The course, that doesn’t describe the past seven seasons.

VI: simply the fax

Barry Sanders was one of the many dynamic to run backs in NFL history, but he walked far from the game with no warning top top the night of the 1999 season by faxing his retirement to a Wichita, Kan., newspaper. Sanders’ abrupt departure left the Lions punchless on violation for the following decade.

VII: lucky strike

The Lions take it Sanders with the third pick of the 1989 breeze after the player they hoped to get, Tony Mandarich, went 2nd to the Packers. Transforms out, it’s far better to be consistently an excellent than periodically lucky.

VIII: Piano man 

Three year after Sanders’ retirement, the Lions invested the No. 3 choose of the draft on a quarterback they hoped would end up being the confront of the franchise. Joey Harrington turned out to be better at playing the piano 보다 football, and he was required out of town by Steve Mariucci a few years later.

IX: large load

In an effort to surround Harrington v talent, Millen invested three right first-round picks on wide receivers. Charles Rogers and also Mike Williams bombed out in the NFL, if Roy Williams had a fine however unremarkable career. Ultimately, Millen’s decision to build outside-in doomed the Lions.


X: second to none

Mayhew fared sensibly well through his first-round picks, yet the second round to be his kryptonite. Native Titus Young come Mikel Leshoure to Ryan Broyles, breeze picks that need to have come to be the cell nucleus of the team currently are rather out the the league.

XI: Odds and also ends

The Lions do the playoffs for the an initial time in the Super key era in 1970 but dropped a divisional round video game to the Cowboys through the weird score of 5-0. The Cowboys got a fourth-quarter safety, and also Bill Munson threw a late pick off the fingers of Earl McCullouch.


XII: ideal stuff

The Lions made two playoff trips in the 1980s — in strike-shortened 1982 and also the next season once they lost to the 49ers, 24-23. Billy Sims ran because that 114 yards and two touchdowns in that game, but Eddie Murray driven a 43-yard kick large right with 5 secs left.

XIII: Wash-ed out

In the 1991 season, the Lions won their only playoff video game of the Super bowl era, then gained blown the end by Washington in the NFC location game. Things started bad and got worse as Erik Kramer fumbled top top the second play to collection up Washington’s very first of 5 TDs in a 41-10 loss.

XIV: Cover, too

The Lions won their last department title in 1993 and also should have actually won a playoff video game that season, too. Brett Favre threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Sterling Sharpe with 55 seconds left to offer the Packers a miraculous 28-24 victory.

XV: Flag day

Controversy marred the Lions’ wild-card loss to the Cowboys critical season, once officials waved turn off a pass-interference penalty midway v the fourth quarter adhering to an incomplete pass on 3rd down. Dallas scored the go-ahead touchdown top top its next possession and also held on come win, 24-20.

XVI: whistle stop

Officiating cost the Lions in your playoff loss come the Saints in the 2011 season. Justin Durant picked up a attracted Brees fumble v a clear course to the finish zone, yet the play to be blown dead. The Lions led in ~ the time, 14-7, but the Saints ran far in the second half.

Albom: A Lions Super bowl plea, if anyone"s listening

XVII: Paul bearer

Playoff losses are one thing, yet no game adjusted the course of the franchise an ext than a season-ending loss come the bears in 2000. Paul Edinger’s 54-yard field goal v 2 secs left kept the Lions out of the playoffs and ultimately introduced the Millen era.


XVIII: purple power

As much as the Lions space to reprimand for your Super Bowl-less predicament, they’ve had actually some powerhouses to complete with over the years, too. The Vikings won 10 that 11 division titles in 1968-78 thanks to Fran Tarkenton and also the Purple civilization Eaters.

XIX: bear in mind

The Chicago bear weren’t quite as dominant in the 1980s, but they scored five straight NFC central titles in 1984-88 and also won a Super bowl with one of the finest defenses in NFL history. The Lions, meanwhile, had two winning seasons the entire decade.

XX: Arm and also hammer

The Packers have had actually the ideal team in the department for most of the past 25 years, no surprise provided the play of your quarterbacks — Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. Eco-friendly Bay had actually won 24 straight home games against the Lions prior to this season.

XXI: quarter bounce

As good as the Packers have gone to quarterback, the Lions have actually been simply as negative for most of the Super bowl era. In between Greg Landry’s agree Bowl illustration in 1971 and also Matthew Stafford’s critical year, the Lions started 30 various mostly forgettable signal callers.

XXII: No help

At no point were the Lions’ deficiencies in ~ quarterback more pronounced than in the 1990s, once they seemed to be a QB far from huge things. Sanders played with journeymen his totality career, a large reason hell be mental as among the finest players never ever to victory a supervisor Bowl.

XXIII: Ware house

The Lions did try to provide Sanders a quarterback beforehand in his career, taking Andre Ware seventh in its entirety in the 1990 draft. The Heisman Trophy winner proved erratic as a passer and was out of the organization in five years.


XXIV: Mitchell plan

Four year after bombing on the Ware pick, the Lions signed Ware’s draft classmate, Scott Mitchell, to a three-year, $11-million transaction in cost-free agency. Mitchell had one large season in Detroit however ultimately arrived at the scrap heap, too.

XXV: Mega minions

Sanders isn’t the only iconic player the Lions have actually failed come surround v the suitable talent. For many of the past nine seasons, Calvin Johnson has actually been a one-man show on offense. Johnson, who contemplating retirement at period 30, has actually never so lot as winner a playoff game.


XXVI: Pitter Pat

The Lions signed play Swilling together a restricted complimentary agent in 1992, only to have the Saints enhance the sell sheet. A year later, unbeknownst to some higher-ups in personnel, castle traded their first-round pick for Swilling. The Saints took hall of Fame handle Willie Roaf v the pick; the Lions got 10 sacks the end of Swilling in 2 years.

XXVII: Coaches’ call

In the ’90s, Wayne Fontes, below, and Bobby Ross had final say over personnel. They most likely shouldn’t have, though, considering the Lions employed 3 future GMs in ~ one point in the decade in Kevin Colbert (Steelers), cutting board Dimitroff (Falcons) and Rick Spielman (Vikings).

XXVIII: Buck shot

Fontes, through a job 67-71 record consisting of the playoffs, remains the winningest and also losingest coach in team history. The huge Buck, Monte Clark and Joe Schmidt are the just Lions coaches in the Super key era come last an ext than five seasons, a problematic absence of continuity.

XXIX: Graveyard shift

Worse, no full-time Lions coach has actually gone on to coach another NFL team in the Super key era. In a organization of retreads, that claims something around (most) that the guys hired to run the team.

XXX: gone clubbin’

One retread the Lions hired the they probably shouldn’t have actually was Steve Mariucci. First, lock violated the Rooney dominion to bring Mariucci aboard. Second, Mariucci’s country-club method to the game wasn’t the right fit because that a young team. He to be fired prior to his 3rd season was up.

XXXI: Wind chimes

Mariucci took over because that Marty Mornhinweg, commonly panned as one of the worst head coaches in NFL history. Mornhinweg had actually no presence with veterans, and the lowlight the his 5-27 tenure together coach was acquisition the wind in one overtime loss come the Bears.


XXXII: half staff

Head coaches are just as good as your coordinators, and the Lions have had actually some doozies through the years. No employee was an ext overmatched than Rod Marinelli’s 0-16 team of 2008. Jim Colletto’s offensive speak to sheets were a joke amongst players, and also Joe Barry didn’t yet know how to run a defense.

XXXIII: ominous 13

The Lions have had their share of draft busts v the years. One an especially tough-to-stomach pick came in 1983, not so lot for who they took with the 13th choose (running ago James Jones the end of Florida) but on who they passed (quarterbacks Jim Kelly and Dan Marino).


XXXIV: chop wad

The 2014 draft is one more Lions fans will remember because that its let go opportunity. The Lions take it tight end Eric Ebron through the 10th overall pick when they can have had Aaron Donald or Odell Beckham.

XXXV: Freddie, adieu

In 1965, the year before the AFL-NFL merger, the Lions drafted recipient Fred Biletnikoff in the 3rd round. Biletnikoff didn’t authorize with the Lions, though, reportedly picking the AFL’s Oakland Raiders due to the fact that of money. That went ~ above to it is in Super key XI MVP.


XXXVI: Ten fold

Speaking of super Bowls, among the ideal players in Sunday"s game, Denver’s DeMarcus Ware, was practically a Lion. The Lions zeroed in ~ above the pass rusher with the 10th pick of the 2005 draft, however Millen to be swayed in the war room to take receiver Mike Williams instead.

XXXVII: Busted coverage

In terms of sheer busts, couple of Lions breeze picks can match Reggie Rogers, the seventh in its entirety pick in 1987. Rogers killed three teenagers while driving drunk in October 1988. He played 11 games and had one sack in his Lions career.

XXXVIII: cavern men

Ndamukong Suh to be a home run of a draft pick in 2010, but the Lions caved come his contract demands early, providing him a voidable sixth year in his rookie deal, climate watched him leaving for the Miami dolphins in cost-free agency without obtaining anything in return.

XXXIX: Billy ball 

Injuries spoiled their share of great draft picks, too. Billy Sims was on his means to NFL stardom when he endured a gruesome knee injury in 1984. Sims, the No. 1 pick in the 1980 draft, never played another down after ~ his injury and also the Lions’ ground game languished till Sanders came along.


XL: best buy

Jahvid Best’s career ended not in an instant like Sims’, however from the cumulative impact of four mind injuries in college and also the pros. Best looked great in flashes his very first two seasons, yet the Lions gambled away a high breeze pick as soon as other teams took a an ext prudent approach.

XLI: Cool Brees

Lions doctors were as well liberal in Best’s case and maybe too mindful with attracted Brees. The Lions hoped to authorize Brees together a totally free agent in 2006 but were scared away by a shoulder injury. Brees go on to success a supervisor Bowl through the Saints and also is among the many prolific passers in NFL history.

XLII: Tragedy strikes

Besides the death of lining Hughes, the most tragic injury come strike the Lions occurred in 1991, once Mike Utley was paralyzed top top the field. Eric Andolsek passed away a few months later, leaving the Lions’ once-promising offensive line in a state that rebuild.

XLIII: house cooking

The Lions have actually hosted 2 Super Bowls, i m sorry was great for the city but negative for their opportunities of being in the game. No team has played in a Super bowl in its home stadium, and also the Lions no come close to showing up in Super bowl XVI or XL.

XLIV: Passive aggressive

Be it for salary-cap reasons, their own inability to judge talent or something else, the Lions never seem to walk all in as soon as they taste success. Coming off playoff appearances in 2011 and also last year, because that instance, castle did tiny in the off-season to upgrade their roster.


XLV: follow bank

More frequently than not, the Lions have actually chased trends rather than setup them. They visited both the West coast offense and also Tampa 2 defense years after your heydays, and now they’re hoping the Patriot way will bring about success in Detroit.

XLVI: mind drain

Along the same lines, the Lions have let some talented civilization leave the organization through the years. Adam Gase, a former Lions assistant, was the height coach ~ above the sector this year, and also Bill Belichick, chuck Knox and Don Shula were assistants.

XLVII: Dungy that doom

In part instances, the Lions have kept the wrong civilization too long. They had a possibility to hire Tony Dungy in 1996 but kept Fontes as coach instead. Dungy took end the lowly Buccaneers the year and also fashioned them right into title contenders; Fontes was fired after the season.

XLVIII: culture club

Losing cultures can be tough to explain yet easy come spot. It is a situation the Lions have discovered themselves in with the years, once losses have piled approximately the point they’re expected and also players want to be anywhere yet at work.

See more: Best Restaurants To See Celebrities Who Live In Marina Del Rey, California

XLIX: Banner day

Those banner the Lions have hanging in ~ Ford field commemorating your playoff appearances space one example of your misguided priorities. Do the playoffs is nice, but that alone isn’t reason for celebration. The Lions should have bigger goals.