On December 26, 1996, Sergei Fedorov scores all five of the Red Wings’ goals in their 5-4 overtime win over the Washington Capitals. Fedorov is the only player in NHL history to score all five of his team’s goals in a game.
On December 16, 1996, the Detroit Lions fire longtime head coach Wayne Fontes. The controversial Fontes was at the helm of the football team for nine seasons, winning a franchise-record 66 games. Unfortunately, he also lost 67 games. The player-friendly coach led the Lions to two division titles and four playoff appearances, but was unable to get the talented team into the Super Bowl. He was known for rallying his team to play well in December: his teams were 18-12 in that month.
On a cold day at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, on December 26, 1970, the Lions lose to the Cowboys, 5-0 in an NFC Playoff game. Making their first playoff appearance in 13 years, the Lions surrender a field goal early and QB Greg Landry is sacked in the end zone for a safety late in the game.
On December 26, 1954, the Lions lose in the NFL Championship game, 56-10 in Cleveland against their rivals the Browns. It marks the third straight title game for the two teams, the Lions having won the previous two. One week earlier, the Lions had beaten the Browns on the same field, 14-10 to finish their regular season.
On December 27, 2010, Detroit’s Chris Osgood becomes the 10th goalie in NHL history to win 400 games. The historic win comes against the Colorado Avalanche, 4-3 in overtime.
On December 27, 1998, Barry Sanders plays his final game for the Detroit Lions. In a 19-10 loss at Baltimore to the Ravens, Sanders rushes for 41 yards. Less than 1,500 yards behind Walter Payton’s rushing mark, Sanders stuns the team and the NFL a few months later when he announces he will retire from the game at the age of 30.
On December 27, 1989, Detroit’s Jimmy Carson scores three power play goals in one period against the Toronto Maple Leafs, setting a team record. Carson and the Wings tie the Maple Leafs, 7-7.
On December 27, 1979, the Red Wings play their first game at Joe Louis Arena, their new home in downtown Detroit. They lose to the St. Louis Blues, 3-2.
On December 27, 1953, the Lions win their second straight NFL title, beating the Cleveland Browns 17-16 at Briggs Stadium. Bobby Layne connects with Jim Doran for a 33-yard touchdown strike in the fourth quarter to win the game. The Lions lose just two games all season, both of them to the Los Angeles Rams.
Tied with Green Bay entering the fourth quarter on December 28, 2008, the Lions go on to lose 31-21, finishing a season of futility. They become the first team to go 0-16 in NFL history. Coach Rod Marinelli and President Matt Millen both lose their jobs after the season.
On December 28, 1997, the Lions are defeated by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first round of the NFL Playoffs, 20-10. Detroit quarterback Scott Mitchell is held to just 78 yards passing by the Bucs stingy defense. It’s the Lions fourth loss in the first round of the playoffs in the last five years.
On December 18, 1952, the Red Wings defeat the Bruins 7-1 and extend their unbeaten streak to 15 games, a franchise record. Detroit wins eight games and ties seven during the streak, which started on November 27th.
On December 28, 1952, the Lions defeat the Cleveland Browns to win the NFL title. Doak Walker’s 67-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter gives the Lions the cushion they need.
On December 28, 1929, the greatest goalie in Detroit Red Wing history, Terry Sawchuk, is born in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Sawchuk won three Stanley Cups with the Red Wings and is elected to the Hall of Fame in 1971.
In their fourth meeting for the NFL Championship, on December 29, 1957, the Lions and Cleveland Browns meet at Briggs Stadium in Detroit. Quarterback Tobin Rote, playing for the injured Bobby Layne, lights up the scoreboard with four TD passes, as the Lions roar to a 59-14 victory. It’s the third title for the Lions in six seasons.
On December 30, 1995, the Lions are trounced by the Eagles in Philadelphia in the opening round of the NFL Playoffs, 58-37. The Eagles score 31 points in the second quarter to bury Detroit. It marks the third straight season that the Lions lose in the first round of the playoffs.
On December 31, 1995, the Red Wings skate past the Hartford Whalers, 3-2 at Joe Louis Arena. The victory is the Wings 22nd in their last 24 games, improving their record 27-7-2.
On December 31, 1994, the Lions lose to the Packers for the second straight season in the playoffs, 16-12 in Green Bay. Running back Barry Sanders is stymied and never able to get going as the wild card Lions finish another disappointing playoff season.
On December 31, 1983, the Lions lose a heartbreaker in the playoffs to the San Francisco 49ers. Leading in the fourth quarter, the Lions watch Joe Montana lead his team to a touchdown to take a 24-23 edge. QB Gary Danielson orchestrates a drive in the last minute to set up a game-winning 43-yard field goal, but Eddie Murray misses and Detroit loses. Billy Sims scores two touchdowns in the loss.