The 25 Greatest Detroit Lions of All Time
The Detroit Lions are off to a great start in the 2023 NFL season. A Week 2 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the home opener is painful, but the franchise appears to be turning the corner to consistent success nonetheless.
Overall, of course, the franchise has a rocky history with success. All four of the franchise's championships came before the 1970 NFL-AFL merger. The team only has just one playoff victory since the merger, the fewest in the NFL. The team is well below .500 in all-time wins with an abysmal 580-703-34 record as of this writing.
But it's not all bad. The team has 17 players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame for example. Only eight franchises have more in 2023. This list of the 25 greatest players in Detroit Lions franchise history features most of those players.
The method for determining who makes the list is a simple one using Pro Football Reference's Approximate Value rating. A player's Approximate Value (AV) is specific to Pro Football Reference and is designed to be a "single number on the seasonal value of a player at any position from any year." A player's weighted AV is a method of balancing players out. Each player's AV is calculated with "100% of the player's best season, plus 95% of his 2nd-best season, plus 90% of his 3rd-best season, plus 85% of his 4th-best season, and so on."
It's not a perfect science, but hey at least you're disagreeing with a mathematic equation instead of me if you disagree with the list.
With the generalizations out of the way, these are the 25 greatest Detroit Lions of all time, according to Pro Football Reference's Approximate Value ratings.