We have divided the Lions history into era’s. We have graphed out the Lions Winning Percentage into the graph below.
Many fans felt pretty good about the team when Barry Sanders was with them and it reflects in this chart. These good feelings created a brief rift in the curse. If you remove this era, you can plainly see that the Lions are exactly where they should be as the winning percentage continues to drop in a very linear way.
The downward slide of the Lions would finally bottom out in the last year of the curse, 2008. The Lions would become the only team in NFL history to go 0-16 since the NFL adopted a 16 game schedule.
When you take a look at the post season record of the Lions, you will notice that prior to the curse years the Lions did very well in playoff games with a 6-1 record (We do not count the Portsmouth Spartans/Lions record). Now lets look at the record after the curse and their record is 1-9. Thats right folks one playoff win and nine losses since the curse. In the chart below you can see that obviously the changing point was when the curse started in 1958. In addition it took the Lions 13 years to make the playoffs after the curse and when they did they did not even score, it took another 12 years for that to happen. The curse was so strong that the Lions did not score a point in a playoff game for more than a quarter of a century! A 13 year drought to get to a playoff game and they follow that with a 12 year drought. That is not unlucky, that is cursed.
Click Image Below to Enlarge
Now lets get a little creepy, so many things on this site can be chalked up to coincidence by non curse believers but if you take the Lions playoff record before the curse and invert it 180 degrees it equals the Lions playoff record after the curse.
For more information on this go to the The Curse page and read about the Inverted Time Period principle which is a common occurrence with curses . To estimate the odds of this exact combination happening you would have to take all the possible playoff wins a team could have before 1958, multiply it by years that there were playoffs, multiply it by the possible playoff wins a team could have for 50 years, then multiply that by 50. So its safe to say that the odds of this happening to a team is about 1 in a MILLEN.
No Lion Head Coach hired during the Cursed Era has ever worked again as an NFL head coach. Don’t you find it amazing that the last head coach to leave the Lions and be hired somewhere else as head coach was George Wilson, Bobby Laynes last coach as a Lion?
Note – we only count Coach’s who were signed as head coach, interim coaches who did not receive a head coach contract do not count (IE Dick Jauron)
This curse is truly powerful and since it thrives on negative emotion (see The Curse), it must do its best to destroy any positive feelings the Lions have had over the years. Lets examine the 4 biggest Lion highpoints since the curse began and see how ugly they ended.
Great Thing – In 1969 Joe Schmidt is honored as the Greatest Lion ever.
Turned Ugly When – Joe Schmidt is arrested for driving while intoxicated on the way home from the celebration.
Great Thing – Barry Sanders Career Rushing
Turned Ugly When – Barry Quits right before training camp during the season he was projected to set the NFL all time rushing record.
Great Thing – Billy Sims signs with Lions over USFL,
Turned Ugly When – In first year of new contract he suffers a career ending injury to his leg without even being hit.
Great Thing – Lions defeat Dallas 38 – 6 in the playoffs
Turned Ugly When – The playoff run ended in a humiliating loss to Washington the next round, 41 – 10.
You can do this with any good or great Lion moment. I remember when Mariucci was the great thing, I remember when the “run and shoot” was the great thing, I remember when Andre Ware was the great thing, I remember when Chuck Long was the great thing, Rodney Peete, Joey Harrington, Charles Rogers…They almost all end the same way, sour and ugly. Heres a couple more to look at.
Great Thing – Barry Sanders rushes for 2000 yds in one season
Turned Ugly When – Reggie Brown suffered Paralysis the same game.
Great Thing – 12 -4 Season
Turned Ugly When – Utley gets paralyzed and Eric Andolsek dies in the off season.
Go back in history and research it yourself, every good thing that happens to this team almost always ends in disaster. The curse does not want anyone or any fan to feel good very long about these Lions!
The more I look into the Lions and the curse, the more I find people in the press making reference to it.
This is how things go for the Detroit Lions: Being the main course for the opponent’s Thanksgiving Day feast is bad enough, and things never seem to get better. It’s a curse.-Ray Slover, Sporting News
Nobody remembers hearing anything about the Curse of Bobby Layne, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t exist. What else could explain 50 years of Detroit Lions futility? Bad coaching, poor players, and inept management are factors, sure. And so was the dominance of division rivals like the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings. But 50 years? Five consecutive decades without a championship? There must be more to it than that – and perhaps there is. - Tom “Killer” Kowalski – MLive
Nothing left to do but clip a few items for our scrapbook and hope that Bobby Layne’s curse has been fulfilled.-Absolute Michigan
Curse of the Lions locker room strikes again in Final Four - USA Today
The beginning of the “Curse” occurred when then-Lions head coach Buddy Parker was about to leave Detroit for a job with the Pittsburgh Steelers. During this time, Parker helped arrange for Layne to be traded to the Steelers in mid-season 1957. This stirred a mighty uproar with Detroit fans. – Elliot Feldman – Associated Content
I contend that no franchise has been “Cursed” as the Detroit Lions in horrific fassion. The Lions had two guys, one a coach, and one a promising offensive lineman who were both killed while doing yardwork - Mike Stone, Detroit Radio Personality
Curses are embraced by fans and media to explain long periods of ineptitude. They’re excuses, and the Lions don’t deserve any. But nothing else makes sense with this team - Bob Wojnowski – Detroit News
1958-Year Layne was traded after helping lead the franchise to three NFL titles in the 1950s. According to legend, he remarked upon leaving for Pittsburgh that Detroit “would not win for 50 years.” Thus began the “Curse of Bobby Layne.” – Josh Slagter – Grand Rapids Press
The myth is that as Layne was leaving town after being traded to the Steelers two games into the 1958 season, he muttered: “The Lions won’t win for the next 50 years.” That supposed comment never reached print until recently. Now it is being spread, out of control, all over, repeated in national publications, a flame that cannot be doused. The imagined Curse of Bobby Layne has slipped into the media forefront because it would be a simple explanation for what is actually true. The Lions have not won diddly since 1957. – Jerry Green – Detroit News
The Curse of Bobby Layne is one of the most famous in sports history. In 1958, the Lions traded the quarterback to the Steelers. Layne prophesied that the Lions would “not win for 50 years. – Robert Booth – ESPN
By now, most NFL fans have heard about the Curse of Bobby Layne in Detroit. The Lions, who won three NFL championships in the 1950s with Layne on their team, traded their star quarterback to Pittsburgh two games into the 1958 season. Layne is famously said to have responded to the deal by declaring that Detroit wouldn’t win for another 50 years. Lions players didn’t like the trade, and Layne hated it. – Don Banks – Sports Illustrated
The 1950s were the glory years with quarterback Bobby Layne. The Lions won the league title in 1952, 1953 and 1957. Then Detroit traded him away because he was injured and they thought him likely to quit the game. But the ticked-off Layne warned that Detroit would not win for the next 50 years, and with the exception of one playoff victory, it didn’t. The drought became popularly labeled “The Curse of Bobby Layne.” – William J Sullivan -Star Ledger New Jersey
With an emphasis on team mentality, discipline, intelligent football, and a do-or-die attitude, the Lions can start turning things around this year. If they are willing to be patient and develop Matthew Stafford while building a team around him, the guy might just be able to help bring an end to the “curse of Bobby Layne”. For the sake of Lions fans everywhere, let’s hope so. – Matt Gerwitz – US Sports
31. Detroit Lions (2-14) (Last week: 31). So much for the curse of Bobby Layne lasting only 50 years. – Mike Florio – NBC Sports Final Power Rankings
Joey Harrington, a star college quarterback of unflagging optimism who foundered after the Lions drafted him with the No. 3 pick in 2002, once told me of a fog that seems to settle over inhabitants of the Lions locker room — an evil, heavy cloud of historic disappointment that becomes self-perpetuating. Maybe it’s the curse that Bobby Layne supposedly cast on this team after it traded him, saying it wouldn’t win for 50 years. – Mitch Albom – Sports Illustrated Article “Courage of Detroit”