The Miami Dolphins drafted left-handed quarterback Scott Mitchell out of Utah in the 1990 NFL Draft, picking him to be the backup to star Dan Marino. After a handful of seasons backing up the Pro Football Hall of Famer, Mitchell finally got his chance in South Beach when Marino went down to injury in 1993, starting seven games for the team that drafted him.
After the 1993 season, the Lions signed Mitchell to a free agent contract. While he struggled in year one, eventually being benched, he would go on to post some of the more prolific statistical passing seasons in team history. Throwing the ball to guys like Brett Perriman and Herman Moore, Mitchell broke the team’s single-season passing record in 1995, when he threw for 4,338 yards.
In addition, Mitchell had a stellar touchdown to interception ratio of 32-12. His touchdown total that season also broke the team’s franchise record. In two of his three full seasons as the starter, Mitchell led the Lions to the playoffs, although he had some serious help in Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders.
From 1995 to 1997, Mitchell started 46 of the team’s 48 games, and threw for 68 touchdown passes. The Lions never quite made it over the hump in the playoffs, losing both of his postseason starts in 1995 and 1997. That being said, he led the team in one of the more successful runs we have seen in a long time.
For his time in Detroit, Mitchell is still a top-5 quarterback in many of the team’s passing statistics, and led a Lions offense that was certainly fun to watch.