Detroit Lions: Ranking the top 10 quarterbacks in franchise history

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /
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Mandatory Credit: Aubrey Washington /Allsport
Mandatory Credit: Aubrey Washington /Allsport /

In Detroit Lions history quarterback has traditionally been a position of weakness. That being said, who are the best this franchise has ever had to offer?

The Detroit Lions have had a long history. As one of the older teams in the NFL the Lions have had championship years and mediocre to poor seasons like the last 60. Yet winning or losing, this franchise has almost always boasted some of the great talents in the history of the game.

Any pedestrian NFL fan in any city today would recognize names like Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson. However, Players like Joe Schmidt, Lem Barney, Charlie Sanders, Roger Brown, Alex Karras, Billy Sims, and Herman Moore to name a few were the best in the business when they played.

Yet with all the great names that have suited up for the Lions and even great teams that you have to be retirement age at least to remember, this franchise has not had many memorable quarterbacks. Yes, there have been a few that were outstanding and our current passer, Matthew Stafford, has made a career out of putting up amazing numbers. But on a whole, the position has generally been a weakness.

So when the task was put to me by a friend over this past Lions bye weekend to come up with a list of the top 10 passers in team history, I immediately realized what a terrible task this would be.

Therefore I tried as best as I could to avoid players that were only a one or two-year rental and players that were better with other teams where assessed purely on their contributions in Detroit. Passing statistics were not a huge factor because of the different eras and players that needed to be considered.

Now before we start I would like to recognize one honorable mention; Erik Kramer. The reason? Because he’s the only Lions quarterback to win a playoff game since the 1957 championship, yet he wasn’t good enough in my opinion to make the list.

That being said, let’s see who the top 10 quarterbacks in Detroit Lions history are.