It’s been 51 years since the Detroit Lions were world champions.
The year was 1957 and the Lions were vying for their third championship of the decade. After an 8-4 regular season record, the Lions defeated the San Francisco 49ers in a come-from-behind victory in the Western Conference Championship. That led to a showdown with the Cleveland Browns at Briggs Stadium before a crowd of 55,263.
Detroit trounced Cleveland in a 59-14 thumping. Briggs Stadium went wild as the Lions won their third NFL championship in six seasons (1952, 1953 and 1957). During that stretch, they appeared in the championship game four times (having lost to the Browns in a 56-10 blowout in 1954).
Although there were some losing seasons mixed in, the 1950s certainly belonged to the Detroit Lions. Those were magical days at the corner of Michigan & Trumbull — and are arguably the most important ones in Lions’ history.
Prior to the opening of Ford Field in 2001, the Detroit Lions wrote a letter to the city of Detroit requesting that they be able to play an exhibition game at Tiger Stadium to honor that history. The city declined and denied the Lions access to the empty ballpark. What a shame that Detroiters were denied one last chance to relive some of the magic that occurred on the site of the Lions’ last championship.