Ranking the greatest Detroit Lions of all time is an easy task to accomplish. From Barry Sanders to Joe Schmidt and even Lem Barney, there are plenty of legends to have suited up in Detroit blue and silver. However, trying to rank the greatest Lions players by solely the numbers on their jerseys is an even more daunting task. From the No. 1 all the way up to No. 99, I will attempt to rank the greatest Lions players based on their jersey number. For the most part, these players are graded based on their careers as Lions rather than their overall body of work. This list now begins with my selection for the best at No. 1.
Mostly recognized for being the quarterback who lost his job to Brett Favre with the Green Bay Packers in the early 1990s, Don Majkowski came to Detroit in 1995 after his stint in Green Bay and another as a backup with the Indianapolis Colts. Majkowski was signed to fill that same role in Detroit for Scott Mitchell. Majkowski’s one memorable moment in his brief two-year stint in Detroit was his relief appearance in the 1995 NFC Wild Card loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. After the Lions trailed 51-7 to the Eagles, Majkowski replaced Mitchell and had a good performance in mop-up duty.
Majkowski completed 14-of-23 passes for 206 yards wit three touchdowns and two interceptions, making the game interesting in a 58-37 loss. Lions fans can only imagine how far the Lions could have gone in 1995 with Majkowski guiding the team and their top ranked offense and not Mitchell, who in the playoff game only completed 13-of-29 passes for 155 yards and only one touchdown compared to four interceptions.
Majkowski made the Pro Bowl in 1989 with the Packers, but injuries derailed a promising career, ultimately paving the way for Favre to torment the Lions from 1992-2007.
Other nominees: Garo Yepremian (1966-67), Rich Karlis (1990)