Photo courtesy of the Detroit Lions
Along with teammate Alex Karras, Roger Brown was one of the cornerstones of the Lions "Fearsome Foursome" of the 1960s and both combined as one of the best defensive tackle combinations in the entire NFL during his time in Detroit. He possessed amazing agility and quickness for his size, and he had excellent moves as a pass rusher.
Brown played seven seasons for the Lions from 1960-66 after being drafted by the Lions with their second pick in the fourth round (42nd overall) in the 1960 NFL Draft out of Maryland State. Statistics for the number of times a quarterback was tackled behind the line of scrimmage was not kept as a statistic (later termed "sack") until 1962, and it was only kept as a team stat until 1982.
Brown and the Lions in the 1960s were among the best in franchise history in dropping the passer behind the line. From 1962-66, the Lions tallied a total of 235 sacks, which is the most by a Lions’ defense in a five-year span since 1962. In the first season of that statistic, Brown and the Lions accumulated 57 tackles of the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage, which still stands as a single-season record for the franchise. In fact, three of the top 5 sack-tallies in team history belong to the team of that era, including 50 in 1964 (fourth all-time) and 49 in 1965 (fifth all-time).
As the Lions continually dropped passers for losses, Brown led the way and earned five trips to the Pro Bowl (1963-67), which is the most by a Lions’ defensive lineman in team history. He was also Associated Press First Team All-NFL in 1962 and 1963. Brown is tied with several players for second all-time in NFL history in career safeties with three.
He is second on the Lions all-time safeties list behind DT Doug English (4). He also ranks sixth on the team’s all-time opponent fumble recoveries list with 11. The “Fearsome Foursome’s” most memorable day came against Vince Lombardi's Packers on November 22, 1962 when the Lions' defense sacked Green Bay quarterback Bart Starr 11 times en route to a 24-14 defeat of the Packers. It proved to be the Packers' only loss in a 13-1 NFL Championship season.