Team Spirit author Mark Stewart talks about the OVERTIME web page.

Mark picks his favorite Lions

What’s new with the Detroit Lions? That’s what this page is all about.

The Team Spirit OVERTIME website begins where the Team Spirit books end.

That’s because football never stands still … And I can never squeeze everything I want into 48 pages!

Scroll down for team updates, player profiles, and stats you won’t find in the book. Click on the videos to the left to hear me talk about Team Spirit OVERTIME as well as my favorite players. And take a look below at some of the Lions collectibles I have in my home—pretty cool, right?

Enjoy this site, check back whenever you like, and contact me with any questions or comments.

Would you like to buy this OVERTIME book?

Buy Now

Updates

2020 Season

2020 Season Preview: With no major favorite in the NFC North, the Lions can make the playoffs if they can fix their two biggest problems from 2019. First, quarterback Matthew Stafford has to stay healthy all year. The rest of the offense has the players to put big numbers up on the scoreboard. Second, the defense has to put more pressure on enemy passers, which means rookie Jeffrey Odukah has to quickly become a shut-down cornerback. If the Lions develop a few more defensive stars, they could win 10 games. And that might be enough for a division crown.

2019 Season

2019 Season Roundup: Detroit fans had fun watching Matthew Stafford pick apart opponents until a November injury ended his season. However, not even his great play could make up for a defense that gave up almost 400 yards per game. The Lions won just three times in 2019. Aside from Stafford, their standout player was receiver Kenny Golladay, who caught 65 passes and led the NFL with 11 touchdown receptions.

October 20, 2019: Matthew Stafford threw for 364 yards, passing 40,000 for his career in his 147th game—faster than any quarterback in history.

2019 Season Preview: Matthew Stafford will need to have a career year for Detroit to make the playoffs, but he may have the weapons to make that happen. Theo Riddick is no longer in Detroit but Kerryon Johnson and CJ Anderson can handle the running and pass-catching chores in the backfield. Lineman Mike Daniels, who left the Packers for the Lions, should make Detroit better against the run.

2018 Season

2018 Season Roundup: Two close losses early in 2018 doomed the Lions to a sub-.500 season. With the Vikings, Bears, Seahawks and Rams still on the schedule, Detroit was fortunate to finish 6–10. Matthew Stafford passed for more than 3,500 yards but did not throw his 20th touchdown pass until the final game. Cornerback Darius Slay enjoyed another excellent year as the Lions’ best defensive player.

2018 Season Preview: No one doubts the passing skills of Matthew Stafford. The problem is no one fears the Lions’ running game. If the draft picks and free agents added by Detroit over the summer play well, that could change in 2018. If not, Stafford still has excellent pass-catchers in Golden Tate and Theo Riddick. The Lions defense is capable of winning close games, so a 10- or 11-win season (and a Wild Card spot) is very possible.

2017 Season

2017 Season Roundup: Matthew Stafford threw 29 touchdown passes, while Golden Tate and Marvin Jones each had over 1,000 receiving yards. The team’s defense was good one week and poor the next, resulting in a 9–7 record. That was one win short of a trip to the playoffs. Veteran Darius Slay was the standout on defense, leading the NFL with 8 interceptions and being named an All-Pro.

September 24, 2017: Matt Prater set an NFL single-season record with his 4th field goal of 55 or more yards in a season—with 13 games left in the season! He was named Special teams Player of the Month for September.

2017 Season Preview: Matthew Stafford may be the highest-paid QB in history, but Detroit’s season may rest on the quickness of running backs Theo Riddick Ameer Abdullah. All eyes, meanwhile, will be on the Lions’ pass rush. Last year their defense was terrible against the pass. It can’t get any worse, but how much better will it be?

2016 Season

2016 Season Roundup: The Lions returned to the playoffs after a one-year absence. Matthew Stafford was magnificent, throwing for 4,327 yards and 24 touchdowns, and leading Detroit on eight game-winning comeback drives. Golden Tate made up for the retirement of Calvin Johnson with 91 catches, while veteran Anquan Boldin added 67 more.

2016 Season Preview: Losing Calvin Johnson to retirement changes the look of the Detroit offense. Quarterback Matthew Stafford will need to show he’s a big-game quarterback, and Marvin Jones, Golden Tate and Theo Riddick will have to help. The Lions’ linebackers lead a defense that should be strong against the run. Can they stop the passing game?

2015 Season

December 13, 2015: Matthew Stafford reached 25,000 passing yards in his 90th game—faster than any quarterback in history.

2015 Season Preview: Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson give opponents all they can handle, but the Lions need a running game to truly roar. The loss of Ndomukong Suh to free agency hurts the defense, but there is plenty of talent left, particularly among the linebackers and pass defenders.

2014 Season 

September 1, 2014: Matt Stafford is now an NFL veteran and his favorite target, Calvin Johnson, is the best receiver in the league. Reggie Bush and Joique Bell give the Lions a good backfield. So all eyes will be on the Detroit defense, where there is a big drop-off in quality after superstar Ndamukong Suh.

2013 Season

November 28, 2013: The Lions defeated the Green Bay Packers on Thanksgiving Day. The last time Detroit won a Thanksgiving Day game was in 2003—against the Packers!

November 24, 2013: Calvin Johnson set a new record with 861 receiving yards over a five-game span. The previous record was set more than 50 years earlier, by Charlie Hennigan of the Houston Oilers.

October 28, 2013: Calvin Johnson caught 14 passes for 329 yards in a heart-stopping win over the Dallas Cowboys. He finished 8 yards short of the NFL record of 336 yards, set by Flipper Anderson in 1989. Johnson went over receiving 200 yards for the fifth time in his career, which tied an NFL record.

September 4, 2013: Matthew Stafford had a disappointing season, but Detroit fans believe he will bounce back thanks to newcomer Reggie Bush. Bush and Calvin Johnson give the Lions two unstoppable playmakers. The defense stars defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley. At times, they too are unstoppable.

2012 Roundup

February 2, 2013: The Lions held their own through 8 games, but lost their final 8 to finish 4–12. Calvin Johnson’s pick as a First-Team All-Pro was one of the few highlights in a disappointing season.

December 22, 2012: Calvin Johnson broke Jerry Rice’s record of 1,848 receiving yards in a season during a game against the Atlanta Falcons. One week later, Johnson would add to his new record and finish the year with 1,964 yards.

September 9, 2012: Matthew Stafford threw for 355 yards against the St. Louis Rams in the opening game of the 2012 season. It was his fourth game in a row with more than 350 passing yards. Stafford was just the second player in history to accomplish this feat.

Summer, 2012: Good draft picks and great team spirit make the Lions one of the teams to watch in the NFC for 2012. What fans will be looking for is how well they do against the top teams. Last year Detroit did well against so-so opponents but failed to win a game against teams bound for the playoffs.

More Go-To Guys

During the 1930s, there weren’t a lot of football cards made for kids, because times were tough in the Great Depression. The Diamond Match Co. put football players on the backs of matchbooks. Back when almost every adult smoked, this was how kids collected pictures of their favorite stars. (Diamond Match Co.)

You don’t really get a sense of how huge Les Bingaman was from this card. He was one of the biggest and best players in the NFL. (Bowman Gum Co.)

I once wrote a story about Herman Moore in the waiting room of a hospital when my daughter was recovering from an asthma attack. I needed to do something to occupy my mind. (The Upper Deck Co.)

  • Ace Gutowsky — Running Back/Linebacker
    Born: 8/2/1909
    Died: 12/4/1976
    Played for Team: 1932 to 1938
    Ace Gutowsky was one of the few NFL players born in Russia. He came to the U.S. as a baby and became a football star in Oklahoma. Gutowsky was a star for the team when they were the Portsmouth Spartans and was an important player for the Lions when they shut out seven opponents during the 1934 season. Gutowsky was most valuable as a running back. He led the league with 857 yards in 1936.

  • Lou Creekmur — Offensive Lineman
    Born: 1/22/1927
    Died: 7/5/2009
    Played for Team: 1950 to 1959
    Lou Creekmur never missed a game in 10 seasons and was hailed as the top tackle of the 1950s. No one was better at protecting the quarterback.

  • Les Bingaman — Defensive Lineman
    Born: 2/3/1926
    Died: 11/20/1970
    Played for Team: 1948 to 1954
    Les Bingaman was the team’s top draft choice in 1948, and he helped the Lions build one of the best defensive units in the NFL. Bingaman stood 6′ 3″ and weighed close to 300 pounds. He played middle guard in Detroit’s five-man line and was an All-Pro three times.

  • Greg Landry — Quarterback
    Born: 12/18/1946
    Played for Team: 1968 to 1978
    Greg Landry had a strong arm and quick feet. This helped him set several passing records for the Lions and also enabled him to scramble out of trouble. He ran for more than 2000 yards and scored 21 touchdowns during his NFL career, including nine TDs in 1972 alone.

  • Wayne Walker — Linebacker
    Born: 9/30/1936
    Played for Team: 1958 to 1972
    During the mid-1960s, the Lions had the NFL’s toughest defense. Wayne Walker was a big reason why. He played 200 games at linebacker, more than anyone else in history when he retired. Walker’s fierce battles against Jerry Kramer of the Green Bay Packers were legendary, They knew each other well—the two had been roommates in college!

  • Herman Moore — Receiver
    Born: 10/20/1969
    Played for Team: 1991 to 2001
    During 11 years with the Lions, Herman Moore broke almost every team pass receiving record. In 1995, he set an NFL mark with 123 catches. Moore helped the Lions make it to the playoffs six times from 1991 to 1999.

More Fun Facts

Mel Farr was a great college player for UCLA and was just as good as a rookie for the Lions in 1967. (Topps, Inc.)

  • NUMBERS GAME
    As of 2012, 16 different Hall of Famers had played for the Lions. The team has retired the numbers of six players—Dutch Clark (7), Barry Sanders (20), Bobby Layne (22), Doak Walker (37), Joe Schmidt (56), and Chuck Hughes (85).

  • TWO OF A KIND
    In 1952, Bobby Layne and Doak Walker led the Lions to the NFL championship. Seven years earlier, the two stars led Highland Park High in Texas to the state championship as teenagers.

  • FARR AND AWAY
    After his seven-year career with the Lions, running back Mel Farr opened a car dealership in Oak Par, a suburb of Detroit. He was famous for his commercials where he dressed as a superhero and flew through the air. Farr was part of a pro football family that included his brother, Miller, and two sons, Mike and Mel Jr.

League Leaders

Wheaties made this box with Barry Sanders setting the NFL rushing record. Just one problem. He retired before he broke the record! (General Mills)

Speaking of Wheaties, this Doak Walker card came off the back of a Wheaties box in the early 1950s. The company has always been involved with sports. And why not? It’s the “Breakfast of Champions.” s(General Mills)

  • RUSHING YARDS
    1990 — Barry Sanders — 1,304
    1994 — Barry Sanders — 1,883
    1996 — Barry Sanders — 1,553
    1997 — Barry Sanders — 2,053

  • RECEIVING YARDS
    1966 — Pat Studstill — 1,266
    2011 — Calvin Johnson — 1,681
    2012 — Calvin Johnson — 1,964

  • PASSING YARDS
    1950 — Bobby Layne — 2,323
    1951 — Bobby Layne — 2,403

  • RUSHING TDs
    1933 — Glenn Presnell — 6 (as a member of Portsmouth Spartans)
    1935 — Ernie Caddel — 6
    1936 — Dutch Clark — 7
    1937 — Dutch Clark — 5 (tied for NFL lead)
    1980 — Billy Sims — 13 (tied for NFL lead)
    1991 — Barry Sanders — 16

  • RECEIVING TDs
    1933 — Ernie Caddel — 3 (tied for NFL lead as a member of the Portsmouth Spartans)
    1952 — Cloyce Box — 15
    1963 — Terry Barr — 13 (tied for NFL lead)
    2019 — Kenny Golladay — 11

  • PASSING TDs
    1951 — Bobby Layne — 26

  • POINTS
    1932 — Dutch Clark — 55 (as a member of the Portsmouth Spartans)
    1933 — Glenn Presnell — 64 (tied for NFL lead as a member of the Portsmouth Spartans)
    1955 — Doak Walker — 96
    1956 — Bobby Layne — 99

  • INTERCEPTIONS
    1940 — Ken Ryan — 6 (tied for NFL lead)
    1953 — Jack Christiansen — 12
    1957 — Jack Christiansen — 10 (tied for NFL lead)
    1967 — Lem Barney — 10 (tied for NFL lead)
    2014 — Glover Quin — 7
    2017 — Darius Slay — 8 (tied with another player)

  • SACKS
    No Lion has led the league in sacks.

Playing for the Championship

SEASON GAME OPPONENT SCORE
1935 NFL Championship New York Giants Won 26–7
1952 NFL Championship Cleveland Browns Won 17–7
1953 NFL Championship Cleveland Browns Won 17–16
1954 NFL Championship Cleveland Browns Lost 56–10
1957 NFL Championship Cleveland Browns Won 59–14
1991 NFC Championship Washington Redskins Lost 41–10

Would you like to buy this OVERTIME book?

Buy Now