The Best Detroit Lions of All Time

Over 6.2K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best Detroit Lions of All Time
Voting Rules
Please vote on the players based only on their time with the Lions
Latest additions: Aidan Hutchinson, Jamaal Williams, Amon-Ra St. Brown
Most divisive: Reggie Bush

This is a list of the best Detroit Lions of all time. Formed in 1929 in Portsmouth, Ohio, the team known as the Lions put down roots in Detroit in 1934. Despite the failings of the past half century, the Lions have won four NFL championships with the last being in 1957. Despite having only one playoff win since then, the Lions have had several Hall of Fame players on its roster, including debatebly the best running back of all time. There is a long period where the Lions didn't have any of the best players in team history, but in recent years, the Lions have made up for their lean years by drafting some of the best young talent in football.

The 1950s and early 1960s were a prosperous time for the Lions. With quarterback Bobby Layne at the helm, these Lions teams featured some of the best players ever. Doak Walker, Dick "Night Train," Lem Barney and Joe Schmidt all played for the Lions during this time. In 1989, the Lions drafted running back Barry Sanders, who is not only one of the most popular star players the Lions have ever had, but one of the best ever. Those Lions teams also had great Lions players like Herman Moore as well. Today, Lions stars Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford and Ndamukong Suh all have potential to be some of the best players in Lions history.

This is the list of the greatest Detroit Lions of all time. If you think someone should be on this list of the best Lions of all time, then feel free to add him to the list. Vote or rerank this list of the greatest Detroit Lions ever, then head over and check out the top Lions kickers ever and best Lions tight ends.

Ranked by
  • Barry Sanders
    4,066 votes
    Running back

    Barry Sanders, widely regarded as the most elusive running back in NFL history, single-handedly redefined the position with his extraordinary vision and jaw-dropping jukes. His electric displays on the field captivated audiences far and wide, as he made countless defenders look foolish while racking up yard after yard for the Detroit Lions. Even though his career was relatively short, Sanders left an indelible mark on the sport, as fans and future generations of players alike continue to marvel at his highlight reel runs and unmatched agility.

  • Calvin Johnson
    3,511 votes
    Wide receiver

    Dubbed "Megatron" due to his freakish combination of size, speed, and athleticism, Calvin Johnson effectively rewrote the rulebook for what could be expected from a wide receiver during his tenure with the Detroit Lions. With an unparalleled ability to haul in seemingly uncatchable passes, Johnson consistently astounded spectators and opponents with his jaw-dropping catches and pure dominance on the gridiron. Though he retired from the game at the height of his prowess, Calvin's impact on the sport remains evident, as his acrobatic feats and aerial mastery continue to influence the way in which receivers and defensive backs approach their craft.

  • Dick Lane
    2,500 votes

    Known as the original "Night Train", Dick Lane patrolled the secondary of the Detroit Lions with an intensity and ferocity that struck fear into the hearts of opposing offenses. His bone-jarring hits and uncanny ability to sniff out plays before they unfolded made him one of the most feared, respected, and game-changing cornerbacks of his era. A trailblazer in his own right, Lane's physical brand of football continues to inspire present-day defensive backs, who strive to replicate the raw tenacity and unwavering commitment to excellence exhibited by Night Train himself.

  • Chris Spielman
    1,647 votes

    A tireless worker and natural-born leader, Chris Spielman embodied the heart and soul of the Detroit Lions throughout his tenure with the team. As a hard-nosed, instinctive linebacker, Spielman brought an unrelenting energy and passion to the game that was truly contagious, rallying his teammates to perform at their highest level week in and week out. With an uncanny ability to dissect offensive schemes and dismantle plays, Spielman's legacy as one of the most committed and cerebral linebackers to ever don the Honolulu Blue and Silver remains firmly etched in Lions lore.

  • Matthew Stafford
    2,984 votes

    Often overlooked in conversations surrounding the league's elite quarterbacks, Matthew Stafford's gunslinging attitude and cannon of an arm have kept the Detroit Lions in contention through thick and thin. Whether it's last-second heroics or threading the needle between multiple defenders, Stafford's fearlessness and uncanny ability to place the football where only his receiver has a chance makes him one of the most exciting players to watch in the NFL. The franchise cornerstone for over a decade, Stafford's unwavering dedication and commitment to success have cemented his legacy as one of the greatest signal-callers in Detroit Lions history.

  • Herman Moore
    2,190 votes

    Herman Moore

    Wide receiver

    At a time when the league had yet to fully embrace the concept of the "big" wide receiver, Herman Moore stood head and shoulders above the competition, both literally and figuratively. With exceptional hands and a massive catch radius, Moore provided a consistent downfield threat for the Detroit Lions, consistently making clutch catches in even the most tightly-contested situations. Moore's dominance during his playing days has left a lasting impact on the sport, as future generations of receivers continue to model their game after his pioneering style of play.