Backus’ ironman streak stretches beyond his time with Detroit Lions. He entered the starting lineup as a redshirt freshman at the University of Michigan in 1997 and had since started the past 236 consecutive games for his team.
On December 4, 2011, Backus set the team’s all-time franchise record by starting his 172nd consecutive game when the Lions traveled to New Orleans. He broke the previous record of 171 set by Hall of Fame CB Dick LeBeau.
Since the 1970 NFL/AFL merger, Backus is one of only two players to start the first 180 games of his career. Broncos QB Peyton Manning started the first 208 games (1998-2010) of his career while he was with the Indianapolis Colts.
Backus is also the first offensive lineman to begin his career since the 1970 merger and start his first 160 career games. His streak was extended to the first 186 games of his career. He ranks sixth among offensive linemen for the most consecutive starts since 1970.
In 2011, Backus became the first player in team history to play in every game in his first 11 seasons in the NFL.
Earlier this year (at San Francisco, September 16), Backus set a franchise record for the most games played by an offensive lineman in team history. He broke the previous mark of 177 career games by C Kevin Glover.
He currently ranks fourth in team history with 186 career games.
While at the University of Michigan, Backus started 49-straight games from 1997-2000. He ended his college career with the second-longest streak in the school’s historic football program. Backus was one shy of the school record of 50 by T Jon Jansen.
He entered the Wolverines starting lineup in the first game of the 1997 season (September 13, 1997 vs. Colorado) and had never missed a start since. During his redshirt-freshman season, Backus helped Michigan claim the 1997 National Championship.
The last game Backus did not start for the team he played for occurred in 1996 when he redshirted as a true freshman at Michigan.