SLR Hot Routes: A Look Back at the Detroit Lions (VIDEO)

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2. Eliminating the easy choice in Barry Sanders, who is your favorite Detroit Lion of all-time?

Williams – It’s easy to go Calvin here and it’s understandable why. However, the Detroit Lion that made me fall in love with defensive play is someone you may not expect — ILB Stephen Boyd.

Boyd was a hard-hitting inside linebacker that, during his prime, was one of the best middle linebackers in the NFL.

He was a fifth-round choice in the 1995 draft and he earned a starting job in 1996. He appeared in 86 games, with 67 of them starts, and totaled 773 tackles, six sacks, three interceptions, five forced fumbles and nine recoveries. His 773 tackles rank third in franchise history.

His career was unfortunately cut short by a back injury.

Payton – It may seem cliche, but I don’t care. My favorite Lion ever is Calvin Johnson. He is a phenom in this game. He’s only Lion other than Barry, that makes you say “did he just do that?” From out jumping 3 Bengals defenders to breaking Jerry Rice‘s single season receiving yards record. Calvin is an absolute spectacle.

FischerHerman Moore. He was an absolute stud and seemed to be able to score at will on the red zone fade pass. He was also a class act just like Barry.

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Platte – Historically it would have to be Joe Schmidt. When I started covering the team, it was fun to go back and look at how the team operated in their hay day. Schmidt is one of the best linebackers of all time, on any team, and yet most Lions fans don’t even know who he is! They know Bobby Layne because of the (untrue and silly) Curse of Bobby Layne, but most fans couldn’t tell you that Layne didn’t even play in his final championship game. Schmidt, on the other hand, was a dominant force in every football game he played in, leading a world champion defense that was one of the best of all time.

DeMara – Herman Moore. Considering he played when lots of people were very young, it’s hard to appreciate just how smooth he was on the field as a catcher and route runner. He wasn’t a freak like Calvin Johnson, but he made nearly every catch and was always a responsible athlete. There are few like him around anymore, personally and professionally. He was as big a complement to that offense as Barry Sanders was.

Shackelford – I actually had this discussion with my friends last Thursday. After swaying back and forth between Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson, I decided I was undecided. I can’t choose between the two. Calvin is the greatest receiver of all-time, and while Stafford isn’t in the same stratosphere as Johnson, I love him every bit as much. Stafford is notoriously clutch late in the game and has the perfect amount of confidence/leadership/talent to get the Lions to where they want to go. This question would be much easier to answer if these players weren’t such good people off the field too.

McCoy – My favorite Lions of all time would be Calvin Johnson. There weren’t a lot of choices for me to choose from from the 90s to this year.

Ackerman – Without hesitation, Chris Spielman.  I’ve always appreciated the passion with which he played the game and he’s a man of tremendous character off the field to boot.

Next: Our Favorite Detroit Lions Games of All-Time