The Detroit Lions Best Quarterbacks of All Time
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Yes, Mitchell is in the Top 5.
Here is a list of the top five Detroit Lions quarterbacks of All-Time. This list considers on-the-field achievement, statistical rankings and playoff success. Detroit Lions quarterback history has been lackluster. Understandable considering their franchise history.
Much of that history can be explained by the inconsistent play at the quarterback position. That said, each of the QB’s on the list contributed to winning seasons and at times record setting seasons. Hopefully it puts into perspective the tremendous upside of the current Lions quarterback, Matthew Stafford.
#5 Scott Mitchell, 1995-1997
Although Scott Mitchell was a colossal failure in the play-offs, he did turn in one of the most productive seasons for a lions QB. In 1995 Mitchell passed for 4338 yards leading the Detroit Lions to a 10-6 record.
Would it surprise you to learn that the 1995 offense was among the best in Lions history? Not since Bobby Layne was a Lions QB been so dominate when Scott Mitchell led the Lions to a #4 offensive ranking in 1997.
It may also surprise you to learn that during his short time with the Lions, Mitchell was able to throw for 12,647 yards and 79 touchdowns ranking him 3rd and 4th respectively among Detroit Lions franchise leaders.
We all remember how he helped the Eagles rip out guts of the Lion's faithful in the play-offs but sadly he still deserves to be on this list
#4 Matthew Stafford, 2009 to current
2011 stands as Mathew Stafford's career year amassing over 5,000 passing yards and 41 TDs during the regular season. A season that would have been a league best if not for the record setting efforts of Drew Brees.
Staffords on-field chemistry with receiving phenom Calvin Johnson paid dividends for a Lions offense that was among the league leaders in scoring in 2011. This offensive prowess led Detroit to it's first play-off game since 1999.
Stafford also set club records for passing surpassing the great offensive seasons of Scott Mitchell, #5 on this list. In fact, Stafford has posted the top three best passing seasons for a QB in franchise history.
Although Stafford has struggled a bit in 2012 and 2013 he is still worthy of a spot in the top five.
He is currently at number 4 with a bullet but will have trouble surpassing the great Bobby Layne if he cannot have play-off success.
#3 Erik Kramer, 1991-1993
When the former Viking QB came to town it generated a collective yawn from the fan base. But Kramer won the fans over by showing good leadership. After surviving a QB controversy, he led the Lions to a 12-4 record and their first play-off win in decades.
12 wins in a season stands as a franchise best to this day. Based on the history of this franchise that qualifies him for Hall of Fame status.
Kramers short career with the Lions is barely a memory in the mind of the Lions fan. Well Kramer I want to thank you for that gutty playoff win. I was there to see it; hopefully we see another one soon.
#2 Greg Landry, 1970 to 1972
In 1971 and 72 Greg Landry led the Lions in two winning seasons. Although it did not result in playoff appearances, Landry led an offense that was ranked #3 and #6 respectively.
The 1970 season was his best with the Lions with a 10-4 record and a playoff loss against America’s team the Dallas Cowboys. Landry's Lions career numbers stack up to be one of the franchises best at Quarterback.
Landry's 12,541 passing yards ranks him 4th on the Lions All-time passing list and his 80 passing touchdowns ranks him second only to the Hall of Famer, Bobby Layne.
#1 Bobby Layne, 1950-1957
Bobby Layne was one of the best quarterbacks in the league at the time. The Hall of Famer brought Detroit 2 pre-superbowl league championships and had a playoff record of 3-1.
Bobby Laynes 15,710 passing yards ranks second and 118 passing touchdowns ranks 1st among Detroit Lions quarterbacks all-time. After his Lions career Booby Layne went on to play for three other teams amassing 26,768 passing yards in his Hall of Fame career.
After his departure the Lions have been unable to have playoff success and have never won a super-bowl. Some say the curse of Bobby Layne has kept the Lions from a pro-football championship. That said, Bobby is the poster boy for a proud Lions football past and a reminder of what can be again.
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- Pro-Football-Reference.com - Pro Football Statistics and History
Up-to-date Pro Football Statistics and Stats for each player, team, and league in football history. Includes passing, rushing, reciving, punting, kick, touchdown stats along with leaders, coaches and hall of fame inductees.