Death & Disaster

Disasters and Death

ESPN recently listed the most shocking moments in Professional Football and of the top three, the Detroit Lions had second and third place (Alex Karras suspension and Chuck Hughes death respectively). Only the OJ Simpson trial ranked higher. Unfortunately the Lions have had more than their fair share of disasters and death.

Mascot Dies 1960 After 27 years of being the Lions mascot, William Baker was found dead on a sidewalk near Woodward Avenue.
Ford Rotunda Fire 1962 A year after Bill Ford was voted Lions President, The Ford Rotunda (The fifth most popular tourist attraction in the country) burned down.
Lucien Reeberg 1963 Died in the off season of a heart attack after his rookie season
President Kennedy 1963 Kennedy Assasination & Bill Ford purchase of Detroit Lions share front page of newspaper on the same day – Nov 23, 1963
Chuck Hughes 1971 Died on the field while returning to the huddle in the final two minutes of a Bears upset win over the Lions
Don McCafferty 1974 Hopes were high that Superbowl Winning Coach McCafferty would develop the Lions into a Superbowl winner, but he died of a heart attack while working in his yard during the off season.
Reggie Rogers 1988 The Lions 1987 First Round Pick Broke his neck and was convicted of negligent homicide in an alcohol related automobile crash that killed 3 teens.
Mike Utley 1991 Paralyzed on the field on what looked like a routine play during the Lions most successful season since the curse went into effect.
Eric Andolsek 1991 Died in the off season while working in his yard by a truck who’s driver had fallen asleep.
Reggie Brown 1997 Suffered paralysis while making a tackle, the same day Barry Sanders broke the 2000 yard mark for the year.
Corey Smith 2009 Died when his boat capsized after one of the passengers tried to throttle forward in an attempt to pry loose the anchor. The Lions held a memorial service for him on March 21, 2009.