Remembering the 0-16 Detroit Lions

Unable to Watch by Sam

Unable to Watch by Sam

“This is not fun to go through, obviously. But there’s people going through a lot worse than this.”
-Lions head coach Rod Marinelli (2008)

Detroit Lions fans who haven’t successfully repressed the memories know that yesterday (December 28th) was the 13-year anniversary of the Lions finishing 0-16. With their 31-21 loss on Dec 28, 2008 to the Green Bay Packers they became the first team ever to go winless in a 16-game season. While they have been far from amazing in the first year of the Dan Campbell era, there are at least a few glimmers of hope to be found in their 2-12-1 season. At least that’s what I’m told. 😅

Sam took this photo at the Thanksgiving Day game when it was already pretty clear where the team was heading. See more in her Thanksgiving Day Football ’08 gallery on Flickr & for sure follow her blog Roar of the Tigers for entertaining content!

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Go Green, Go White & Go Blue: Rivalry Week is Here

4th & Goal by Cory Smith

4th & Goal by Cory Smith 

The undefeated & #6 ranked University of Michigan Wolverines travel to Spartan Stadium in East Lansing on Saturday to face the also 7-0 Michigan State University Spartans. First & foremost, let us know in the comments who you got this weekend! 

mLive notes that the last time these two programs were top 10 with such a high profile meeting, the Beatles were touring America:

Saturday’s game between the Wolverines and the Spartans will be the first time in the 113-year history between these two state rivals that both teams are at least 7-0. It’s also the first game both teams have been ranked in the Top 10 since the same year The Beatles landed in the U.S.

The setting was East Lansing on October 10, 1964. Seventh-ranked Michigan took on 9th-ranked MSU in one of the biggest games in the decades-long rivalry, with Michigan winning 17-10 in front of 78,234 people. This was just the fourth game against each other where both teams were ranked in the Top 10.

…Michigan is favored by four over the No. 8 ranked Spartans. The Wolverines lead the all-time series 71-37-5.

Cory took this photo of the Spartans getting ready to punch it in back in October of 2009. MSU eventually won the game in overtime. See more in Cory’s HDR Photography gallery on Flickr & view and purchase prints on his website!

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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.

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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:

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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!

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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.