Fifty Years Is A Terrible Thing To Waste
It’s as if there have been two periods in Detroit sports history - pre-1957 and post-1957.
The Lions weren’t bad before 1957. Actually, they were pretty good. They moved to Detroit in 1934 and won four National Football League championships in 24 years. A title every six years? Not bad, eh?
Of course, there were only 12 teams in the NFL back then. Unless there was a tie for the division championship, there were no playoff games - just the championship game.
I talked to my father a lot of about it. He used to go to Lions games when they played at the University of Detroit. He saw Dutch Clark play. I have older brothers who remember the 1950s and how great the Lions were, and the championships, vividly.
I have seen films of those championship games. They’re not bad. They’re actually in color. I have studied those teams. Can recite the starting lineups by heart. But even given all that, they remain a blur to me - just like most of you.
It was so long ago. Five decades. Subtract 50 years from 1957 and the automobile had essentially just been invented. Don’t know exactly why, but I keep thinking about it in those terms.
Sunday, they will honor the ‘57 NFL champion Lions at halftime of the game vs. the Bears at Ford Field. Many of the players, including defensive back Jim David just recently, have passed. It will be a relatively small group of men who have endured.
Good for them. It will be a much-needed reminder that Detroit once ruled the professional football world. That’s the happy part.
But it was also be a reminder of how long it has been since. And that’s pretty sad.
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