Big Ten Takes the Field

Band...Take the Field! by Paul McKenney

Band…Take the Field! by Paul McKenney

Big Ten college football returns to the Great Lakes State this weekend as the Michigan State Spartans kick off their 2020 college football season on Saturday at noon against Rutgers in Spartan Stadium. The University of Michigan Wolverines will Minneapolis for a 6:44 PM date with the Minnesota Golden Gophers

Paul shared this photo with me, writing “Since long before my freshman year at Michigan Law, the P.A. announcer began after the traditional Band….Take The Field!” This fall for the first time since the Band initially performed at football games in 1898, the Band did not take the field in Ann Arbor in September. They’re back & here’s hoping that season is without incident!

You can see more of Paul’s work at McKenney’s Light.

Support Michigan in Pictures with Patreon

Go inside the Lion’s Den with the 2020 Detroit Lions

Season Finale by Mark Swanson

Season Finale by Mark Swanson

Pride of Detroit writes that one of the best video series the Detroit Lions have been producing over the past few years is their “Inside the Den” documentary (video below):

In year’s past, the video series has done their best to mimic popular HBO series “Hard Knocks” to give fans a behind-the-scenes look at training camp and the personal lives of certain Lions players. Despite all of the disruptions this offseason from COVID-19, the series is continuing this year, and on Thursday night, Episode 1 of the series dropped.

This year, the series may be more interesting than in previous seasons, seeing as media coverage of the team is severely limited right now. Episode 1 focuses heavily on the team’s preparations for the COVID-19 virus, the players arriving at the team facility for the first time this offseason, media day, head coach Matt Patricia making his appearance on “Good Morning Football,” and, of course, the Lions finally taking the field for conditioning drills and practice.

It’s really a pretty enlightening episode. From watching all of the preparation the team is doing to keep the facility safe—including spraying down pads between reps for players—to seeing signs just about everywhere in the facility indicating which personnel are allowed where.

Mark took this photo at Ford Field at the final game of the 2019 season. See more in his awesome Detroit photo album.

Here’s the video:

Support Michigan in Pictures with Patreon

What the heck is Honolulu Blue?

Detroit Lions by Healthier Michigan

Detroit Lions by A Healthier Michigan

Yesterday as it often does, my curiosity got the better of me and I had to find the answer as to why the Detroit Lions official blue is called “Honolulu Blue”. Fortunately,  The Evolution of the Detroit Lions’ Uniform by Bill Dow has the answer:

When WJR owner G.A. Richards purchased the Portsmouth (Ohio) Spartans in 1934 and moved the team to Detroit, the newly renamed Lions unveiled a striking uniform consisting of a blue jersey, silver pants, blue socks, and a silver helmet.

According to a 1950 Lion media guide, “the blue, a distinctive shade was especially developed for G.A. Richards.” According to team lore, their first owner came up with the color after admiring the hue of the Pacific Ocean on a trip to Hawaii and the shade was named “Honolulu blue.”

In 1999, Glenn Presnell, the then lone surviving member of the first Lion’s team and the league’ oldest alumnus, described his role in selecting the first uniform in an interview with me.

“When we met with Mr. Richards, my wife and I also helped select the Lions’ colors, “ Presnell said. “He had asked us to look at the different jerseys in the next room. There were all different colors, orange and black, red and white, you name it. We saw that Honolulu blue and silver and said we liked it best. So Richards chose that.”

You can read on for more including the Lions brief & doomed flirtation with Hoosier colors.

See more in A Healthier Michigan’s Lions Thanksgiving Day 2014 album!

Support Michigan in Pictures with Patreon

Time to Roar: Detroit Lions return to the playoffs

Sorry. This was supposed to post this morning but somehow didn’t. Can we count this as the Lions’ big disappointment and win tonight??

matthew-stafford

Matthew Stafford, photo by Brook Ward

The Detroit Lions take the field at 8:15 PM tonight vs the Seattle Seahawks, who are 8 point favorites. This is the Lions’ first playoff appearance since January of 2015 when they were totally jobbed by the officiating crew. While I’m tempted to invite speculation on just how they will “Lions” this one, I am enough of a fan to leave it at “Go Lions!”

View Brook’s photo background big, see more in his Sports From My Perspective slideshow, and view & purchase photos on his website.

The Curse of Bobby Layne

Bobby Layne Detroit Lions

Well, football season is almost here and Detroit Lions’ fans are probably feeling optimistic, so it’s probably time to explain The Curse of Bobby Layne:

In 1958, after leading the Lions to 3 NFL Championships and providing Detroit nearly decade of Hall of Fame play, the Lions traded Bobby Layne. Bobby was injured during the last championship season and the Lions thought he was through and wanted to get what they could for him. According to Legend, as he was leaving for Pittsburgh Bobby said that Detroit “would not win for 50 years”. In the pages that follow we present evidence that supports and confirms the existence of this curse which has been plaguing this team for nearly half a century.

Read on for more. You can also watch an ESPN feature on the origin of the Curse of Bobby Layne and check out Bobby Layne in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

View the photo background bigtacular.

More Detroit Lions on Michigan in Pictures.

Farewell Megatron? Detroit Lion Great Calvin Johnson to Retire. Maybe.

Megatron Calvin Johnson by Chris Arace

Megatron. Calvin Johnson., photo by Chris Arace

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Detroit Lions all-time greatest receiver Calvin Johnson is apparently headed for retirement. He reportedly told his family and close friends the 2015-16 season would be the last, and told gave coach Jim Caldwell the same message the day after the season ended.  If he does follow through, he will join Barry Sanders in retiring at 30 and in having a Hall of Fame career while never making it to a Super Bowl.

Should we put an asterisk on that retirement for now? The NFL has released this awesome highlight video with the somewhat cryptic title of “Top 10 Calvin Johnson Career Highlights…So Far” – do they know something we don’t?

Back in October of 2011, Chris Arace had the opportunity to work Monday Night football for the Lions, who won 24-13 to move to 5-0. View his photo bigger, see more of his work on his website, and definitely follow him on Instagram at instagram.com/thereason.

More Detroit Lions on Michigan in Pictures!

Since 1880, 2014 was warmer

1880_Michigan_Wolverines_football_team

1880 Michigan Wolverines Football Team, photo courtesy Wikipedia

EarthSky’s Matt Daniel writes that NASA, NOAA, and Japan Meteorological Agency all report 2014 as Earth’s warmest year since modern-day record-keeping began in 1880.

Put in more tangible terms, since at least the days when University of Michigan footballers wore uniforms like this, there has not been a warmer year.

What’s more May, August, September, October and December of 2014 were ALL the warmest for that month since 1880! I’d like to suggest that global warming/climate change be shifted from a political issue to a survival issue. You are of course free to draw your own conclusions.

NASA has a snappy video that boils it down to a minute and a half.

Wikipedia says that these stylish gents played just one game, defeating the team from the University of Toronto, 13 to 6, at the Toronto Lacrosse Club. Michigan scored two touchdowns and one goal; Toronto scored three safety touchdowns.

Click the link for more and click the photo above to view it big as the big House.

Bears, it’s what’s for (Thanksgiving) dinner!

Thinking About the Zoo Visitors?

Thinking About the Zoo Visitors?, photo by Maia C

A very happy Thanksgiving to all of you. I remain very thankful that I have such a great group of photographers and readers for Michigan in Pictures. I love doing this blog, and your support makes it possible!

Maia suggests that this lion is perhaps thinking about zoo visitors, but my personal theory is that he’s thinking about bears, Chicago Bears to be exact! Thankfully, the NFL has given us the opponent who started it all, as the Detroit Lions share the history of the Thanksgiving Day game:

The game was the brainchild of G.A. Richards, the first owner of the Detroit Lions. Richards had purchased the team in 1934 and moved the club from Portsmouth, Ohio to the Motor City. The Lions were the new kids in town and had taken a backseat to the baseball Tigers. Despite the fact the Lions had lost only one game prior to Thanksgiving in 1934, the season’s largest crowd had been just 15,000.

The opponent that day in 1934 was the undefeated, defending World Champion Chicago Bears of George Halas. The game would determine the champion of the Western Division. Richards had convinced the NBC Radio Network to carry the game coast-to-coast (94 stations) and, additionally, an estimated 26,000 fans jammed into the University of Detroit Stadium while thousands more disappointed fans were turned away.

Despite two Ace Gutowsky touchdowns, the Bears won the inaugural game, 19-16, but a classic was born. Since 1934, 69 games have been played with the Lions holding a series record of 33-34-2 (.493). And each game, in its own way, continues to bring back memories of Thanksgiving, not only to Lions’ fans, but to football fans across the nation.

View Maia’s photo big as a lion and see more in her Detroit Zoo Spring/Summer 2008 slideshow.

More Thanksgiving features & photos and more Detroit Lions on Michigan in Pictures.

The U.P. stand-off: Lions vs Packers

The U.P. stand-off

The U.P. stand-off, photo by Ann Fisher

The Detroit Lions host the Green Bay Packers this Sunday at Ford Field for the first of two divisional meetings. Wikipedia notes that the longest continuously-running NFL rivalry is the Lions vs Packers. They first met in 1930 when the Lions were known as the Portsmouth Spartans (they were based in Portsmouth, Ohio until they moved to Detroit in 1934 season). They’ve been division rivals since 1933 and have always met at least twice a season since 1932, without any cancelled games.

As Ann notes, that rivalry is no contest in Marquette. Thought it may be in Michigan, the U.P. is Packers territory.

View her photo of lawn geese all dressed up for the season background big and see more in her 2014 U.P. slideshow.

Lots more Detroit Lions on Michigan in Pictures.

Michigan State Spartans and the 100th Rose Bowl

UPDATE: The top-rated Spartan D dug deep when it counted and stopped Stanford to seal a 24-20 victory in the 100th Rose Bowl and #3 or better ranking! View a photo gallery from the game via the Lansing State Journal’s Green & White section.

1954 Rose Bowl Game

1954 Rose Bowl Game, photo courtesy Michigan State University Archives

This afternoon at 5 PM the #4 Michigan State University Spartans will take the field against the #5 Stanford Cardinals to represent the Big Ten for the 100th Rose Bowl.

Wikipedia’s page on the Rose Bowl where you can see a pic from the very first Rose Bowl says (in part) that the game is usually played on New Year’s Day at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. It was first played in 1902, and has been played annually since 1916. As the oldest bowl game, it has earned the nickname “The Granddaddy of Them All”.

MSU has been to the Rose Bowl four times and has won three: the 1954 game pictured above, 1956 and their last appearance in 1988. MSU’s article on the Spartans and the 2014 Rose Bowl says (in part):

Big Ten Champion Michigan State (12-1, 8-0 Big Ten) will make its first-ever Bowl Championship Series appearance on Jan. 1, 2014, when the Spartans play Pac-12 Champion Stanford (11-2, 7-2 Pac-12). Winners of nine straight, Michigan State recorded its school-record 12th win of the 2013 season by defeating second-ranked Ohio State, 34-24, in the Big Ten Championship Game.

MSU ranked No. 4 in the final BCS Standings – its highest ranking ever. The Spartans are ranked No. 4 in the latest Associated Press and USA TODAY Polls. It marks MSU’s highest ranking in the AP Poll since Sept. 18, 1967.

The Spartans finished their Big Ten regular-season schedule with a perfect 8-0 record for the first time in school history and claimed their second Legends Division title in three seasons. Michigan State became the 14th Big Ten team to post an 8-0 mark in league play. The Spartans are the first Big Ten team to win all eight of its conference games by double-digit points since the league went to an eight-game schedule in 1971. In addition, MSU is the first undefeated Big Ten team to win all of its league games by double-figure points since Michigan in 1943 (6-0 record).

The 100th Rose Bowl Game marks the first time since the “Game of the Century” in 1966 (No. 1 Notre Dame vs. No. 2 Michigan State) in which MSU will play a top-five AP team while also being ranked in the top five. No. 5 Stanford is also the highest ranked opponent MSU has played in a bowl game since the 1966 Rose Bowl (UCLA finished the 1965 regular season ranked No. 4 in the final AP Poll).

Mike Downey put together 100 facts about the Rose Bowl. Most surprising to me was that 1925’s coaching matchup was Knute Rockne vs. Pop Warner.

The Michigan State University Archives says that the photograph above captures the action of the 1954 Rose Bowl game of Michigan State College versus UCLA in which the Spartans defeated the Bruins 28-20. View it bigger and check out some cool memorabilia in their Rose Bowl slideshow.

And oh yeah, Happy New Year & GO GREEN!