Detroit Lions Gridiron Heroes
Photo courtesy of the NFL Hall of Fame
Hall of Fame QB Bobby Layne was one of the original masters of the two-minute-drill. Considered the greatest quarterback in team history, his longtime friend and fellow Hall of Famer Doak Walker once said admiringly of his teammate: "Bobby never lost a game. Some days, time just ran out on him."
Layne sparked Detroit to three NFL championships (1952, 1953 and 1957) and four Western Division titles. He also kicked field goals and was the 1956 league scoring champion. In the 1953 NFL title game, Layne enjoyed his greatest and certainly most famous afternoon. The Browns held a 16-10 advantage with 4:10 left to play. Layne coolly directed the team on an 80-yard touchdown drive that culminated in a 33-yard touchdown pass to Jim Doran with 2:08 left to play.
Combined with a Doak Walker's extra point kick, the Lions claimed the title over Cleveland at Briggs Stadium with a 17-16 victory. Layne cast a larger-than-life shadow because he was larger than life. The lasting contribution he made to the strategy of football can be seen today - the last two minutes of every close game. He turned the two-minute drill into an art form. The Detroit players loved their 6-1, 198-pound quarterback, and Layne was a great believer in team unity. Maybe he thought of the Lions as an extension of college football, a graduate school for players. Virtually everyone who played on those teams recalls how close-knit they were.
Layne still holds Detroit records for career pass attempts (2,193), completions (1,074), yardage gained (15,710) and touchdown passes (118), as well as two of the top seven spots for passing yards in a game (374 and 364). It is said that someday someone may accomplish just as much, but it is doubtful anyone could do so quite so colorfully. During his nine years in Detroit, he made three Pro Bowls (1952-54) and was named to the All-Decade Team of the 1950s.
Layne's Career Lions' Stats