Normally, curses are dismissed as nothing but pure mumbo-jumbo. However, the same may not be said for the Detroit Lions for the last half a century. The primary source of the Lions’ woes was Bobby Layne, who was their talisman for such a long time. When the team traded him to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1958, he did not take it lying down and declared, “Lions will not win for 50 years!”
Bobby Layne first appeared on the NFL map when the now-Indianapolis Colts drafted him in 1948 as the second-overall pick. After getting shuffled around for a while, he ended up with the Detroit Lions in 1950. In fact, former Green Bay GM Ron Wolf called the trade one of the best in NFL history in 2002.
From that point onwards till 1958, Layne repaid the faith by making them the best team in the NFL. During his tenure, Bobby Layne guided the Detroit Lions to the 1952, 1953, and 1957 championships.
He featured in five Pro Bowls and held the record for passes attempted and completed, passing yards, and passing touchdowns. In his heyday, he could be at the level of Tom Brady, Dan Marino, Joe Montana, or even Peyton Manning. The Lions had a good thing going for them, until they traded him against his wishes.
Following the team’s triumphant 1957 championship, they suffered a big blow when Bobby Layne picked up an injury. Evidently, the franchise figured that he was past his prime, plus he was a bit of a wild child. So, they gambled and traded him to Pittsburgh on Oct. 6, 1958.
Obviously, Layne was fuming and tore into the team, not realising that he had a black tongue. In a fit of anger, he shouted, “Detroit will not win for 50 years! I’d like to win a championship for the Steelers and for myself to shove down Detroit’s throat!”
Little did Layne know that the Lions would take his words to heart. From 1958 until 2008, the Lions only made it as far as the playoffs on nine occasions. They won the division three times in 1983, 1991, and 1993. In addition to that, the Lions only took one playoff win since 1958.
In 2008, exactly 50 yers later, the Bobby Layne curse finally got lifted. However, those fruitless 50 years took a toll on the Lions fans.