Changing Landscape: same team, different city
Of the Lions’ opponents in 1980, three of them have since relocated, with one even moving away and coming back between then and now.
St. Louis– became the Phoenix Cardinals in 1988 and were renamed the Arizona Cardinals in 1994.
Baltimore- The Colts franchise moved to Indianapolis in 1984. Baltimore got an NFL team back in 1996, when Art Modell dumped the Cleveland Browns to become the Ravens.
Los Angeles- The L.A. Rams went to St. Louis in 1995, spending two decades as the St. Louis Rams before returning to the west coast in 2016.
Still With Us
Better known to the current generation as a popular college football analyst for CBS, Gary Danielson was starting quarterback for the Lions in 1980. Before Matthew Stafford came along, Danielson was one of the most steady presences for the team at the QB position, spending eight years with the club, including 52 starts.
1980 also marked the first year of the Michi-Dome Football Classic, which matched up small college teams from Michigan’s Upper and Lower peninsulas for a doubleheader of games at the Pontiac Silverdome.
Dennis Schanski of Alma College scored the game’s first touchdown (the first collegiate touchdown at the Silverdome), as well as taking a screen pass 36 yards for the longest play of the game, though Alma fell 14-10 to Michigan Tech.
The next day, Billy Sims rushed for 95 yards and a touchdown on that same field, as the Lions won their season opener and moved to 3-0 for the season.