Hapless for decades, Lions finally have a shot to shake up the NFC

Hapless for decades, Lions finally have a shot to shake up the NFC

In 1935, the Lions’ victory in the NFL title game proved Detroit was a sports juggernaut. Concurrent triumphs by the Tigers in the World Series and Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Final, combined with Joe Louis’ ascent to boxing superstardom, inspired President Franklin D. Roosevelt and every state governor to sign a plaque naming Detroit “the City of Champions.”

In 1953, iconic Lions quarterback Bobby Layne led a last-ditch touchdown drive to edge the Browns by a point in the NFL final. The pioneer of the two-minute drill, Layne was a Hall of Famer and an alumnus of Matthew Stafford’s high school. He missed a championship rematch in 1957 because of injury, but Detroit romped anyway, demolishing Cleveland 59-14.

Bobby Layne looks to pass in the 1953 NFL title game. George Gelatly / Getty Images

What a difference 66 years make. Detroit has one playoff victory since the ’57 ti

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