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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Party Like It’s 1956!

The Detroit Lions have been the darlings of the NFL in 2010. Perennial losers since the late 1990s, the Lions have suffered a host of lows in the time since. The lowest point was in 2008, when the Lions set an NFL record for the most losses in a single season, going 0-16.


Of course the only mitigation of being the first and only team, ever, to go completely winless in a 16 game season is that the team gets the first pick in the draft and has the opportunity to select the best exiting college football player available. The Lions picked quarterback Matt Stafford #1 overall in the 2009 draft. They used their first round pick on physical super freak defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh in 2010. And the Lions selected beastly defensive tackle Nick Fairley in the first round of the 2011 draft to pillage offensive lines alongside Suh.

Add these youngsters to wide receiver Calvin “Megatron” Johnson (first round pick in 2007) and a second year running back in Jahvid Best, who appears to be having a breakout year, and you have a well assembled team. So well assembled, that, in tandem, they are a force to be reckoned with in the NFL, in spite of the legacy of losing attached to the franchise. a man named Suh! Okay, seriously, how do you stop this guy? What is your plan? 1


Good draft picks, the proper coaching changes, good health, and a wholesale organizational culture change have brought the Lions to their best start in over 50 years. With the 24-13 win over the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football, the Lions are 5-0 for the first time since 1956. The Daily Hat Trick would like to put this historic start for the Lions in perspective.

A 1956 Topps football card of the Detroit Lions. 2


In 1956:

The NFL had 12 teams (the Giants, Cardinals, Redskins, Browns, Steelers, Eagles, Bears, Lions, 49ers, Colts, Packers, and Rams).

Yes, the Cardinals were in Chicago once upon a time. 2
The Cardinals were still in Chicago and had yet to move to St. Louis before moving to Phoenix, Arizona; the Colts were still in Baltimore and the Rams still played in Los Angeles.

The New York Giants, led by league MVP Frank Gifford (L..O..N..G before there WAS a Monday Night Football, let alone Gifford hosting the show), were NFL Champions.

Gifford aged well. 4
Hall of Famer Bobby Layne (born 1926) was the quarterback of the Lions.

I suppose Layne didn't have to worry about defenders grabbing his face mask. 5

Gene Gedman was the team’s leading rusher, with 479 yards.

Detroit Lions halfback Gene Gedman (26) tries to run through a tackle during a 20-7 victory over the Cleveland Browns on December 8, 1957, at Briggs Stadium in Detroit, Michigan.
Like the early coming of Barry Sanders (Gedman - #26). 6
Lions Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders would not be born for another 12 years.

Or not.... 7
The Washington Redskins had no black players, and would continue to have none for another six years. 
Kind of surprising that this wasn't the team's logo in the old days. 7

Dwight D. Eisenhower was President of the United States.

In 1956, these would be the current and next Republican Presidents of the United States. That would be old Tricky Dick, himself, on the right. 8

President Barack Obama would not be born for another five years.

I can't tell if that's an American or a Kenyan newspaper. 9
Gasoline was 23 cents per gallon.

People actually came out and pumped your gas in those days. Talk about a value! 10
A first class postage stamp cost 3 cents.

Too bad these didn't come in the "forever" variety. 11

A brand new Ford cost approximately $2,500.

For just $2,500? SWEET! 12
“Hound Dog” by Elvis Presley was the #1 song in the country.

I have my copy at home, right by the phonograph. 13
The Cold War was just beginning to peak.

I'm sure the fallout shelters would have protected us. 14
And last…

Future Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre would not be born for another 13 years, in 1969. Favre is surprised it didn’t happen sooner! (rimshot)

I'm just surprised the Ol' gunslinger didn't make it to the NFL sooner. 15
Party like it’s 1956, Hat Trick readers!!!

Don't forget to vote in the fan polls!

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