Ranking the greatest Detroit Lions of all time is no easy task to accomplish. From Jack Christensen to Matthew Stafford and even Shaun Rogers, there are plenty of great players that 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 continues with my selection for the best at No. 5.
Despite only spending one season in Detroit and most of his success coming with the San Francisco 49ers, Jeff Garcia checks in as the best at No.5. Garcia reunited with former 49ers coach Steve Mariucci in Detroit in 2005 in a QB competition with incumbent starter Joey Harrington. Garcia’s time in Detroit did not start off well as he broke his fibula in the final preseason game and did not return until Week 7.
When Garcia came back, the Lions were a respectable 3-3 after he led them to a victory over his former team the year before, the Cleveland Browns. Things got worse for Garcia in Detroit as the Browns game would be his only victory as a Lions quarterback. Harrington would replace an ineffective Garcia towards the end of the season and the Lions fell to a 5-11 finish which would cost Mariucci his job. If not for Garcia’s injury in the preseason, Lions fans would undoubtedly have seen what this former 49er would eventually do in the next two seasons.
Garcia signed as a free agent with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2006, and after an injury to Donovan McNabb, Garcia led the Eagles to the playoffs and a postseason victory. The next year, Garcia signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and also led them to the postseason. If Garcia was with Detroit at the start of Mariucci’s tenure in 2003 rather than at the end in 2005, things would have been completely different for Detroit and maybe the label of losers wouldn’t be so profound.
Other nominees: Drew Stanton (2007-2011)
Previous Number: No.4