3 Greatest Quarterbacks in Lions History

By michael obermuller
Bobby Layne playing for the Detroit Lions in the 1953 NFL Championship Game.
Bobby Layne playing for the Detroit Lions in the 1953 NFL Championship Game. / George Gelatly/Getty Images
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The Detroit Lions have been a football franchise starved of great quarterback talent throughout their history (established in 1930). This is one of the major reasons that the organization has never won a Super Bowl, with one of the longest championship droughts in the sport spanning back to the pre-SB era in 1957. That was one of four franchise titles, but none have come after '57.

The quarterback is the most important position on the field in the game of football, which partly explains the Lions lack of success. Here are the three greatest quarterbacks for Detroit all-time.

Greatest Lions QBs

3. Matthew Stafford (2009-present)

Matthew Stafford has the best numbers in Detroit history, but he has not been the best quarterback.
Matthew Stafford has the best numbers in Detroit history, but he has not been the best quarterback. / Leon Halip/Getty Images

Although Matthew Stafford's yardage totals and statistics trump every other Detroit quarterback by miles (41,000-plus passing yards and 256 touchdowns), we have to remember that the league has changed dramatically over time. Stafford is the product of a passing league that is prone to high-scoring games, and although his QB rating is an 89.3 and his completion percentage a 62.5, Stafford has not accomplished much for this franchise as far as greater goals are concerned. To put it simply, he has not won where it matters most. Stafford's career record is also a pedestrian 69-79-1, and he is 0-3 in his three career playoff starts.

2. Earl "Dutch" Clark (1931-32, 34-38)

A field general of a completely different era, Dutch Clark's stats were dominant relative to his own competition. In 1936, he threw for a completion rate of 53.5 percent, which was unheard of at the time (league average was 36.5). Clark was also a six-time All-Pro and three-time NFL rushing touchdown leader. He led the franchise to its first championship and had his No. 7 retired in Lions' history forever. The NFL legend also made the 1930's All-Decade Team, the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

1. Bobby Layne (1950-58)

Perhaps the opposite of Stafford, Bobby Layne was a quarterback who refused to lose, even if his stats were not always top-notch. The Lions had their most dominant run as a franchise under Layne's leadership, winning three NFL Championships. His overall quarterback record was 53-29-2, and despite the era he played in, Layne's passing yards still rank second behind Stafford all-time. The six-time Pro Bowler and three-time First-Team All-Pro (four-time Second-Team) was an NFL passing yards leader twice and passing touchdown leader once. As a member of the 1950s All-Decade Team and the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Layne's No. 22 has been retired by Detroit.


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Michael Obermuller is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Michael Obermuller also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username king_mizzard. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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