clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Six Degrees of the Detroit Lions

New, comments

What happens when you take a popular party game, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, and apply it to football? A decent way to pass the time and some enjoyable football trivia!

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The cinephiles among you may have heard of a little trope in movies called the "Six Degrees of Bacon". This game means that with any actor, you can find a link to Kevin Bacon in no more than six connections. Pick any random actor. Let’s say, Jackie Earl Haley, known for playing Rorschach in "Watchmen" and Freddy Krueger in the reboot of "Nightmare on Elm Street." Haley also starred in "The Bad News Bears" with William Devane, who in turn was in "Hollow Man" with none other than Kevin Bacon. It’s a silly game, but fun if you’re a big movie buff. Why is this relevant for the Detroit Lions? Specifically it isn’t, but the whole "Six Degrees of Separation" concept isn’t originally or even now only about Kevin Bacon, and it got me thinking of a fun way to pass the time.

Pro-Football-Reference is one of the most commonly cited sources in the NFL, and thanks to their sheer volume of data I thought it would be fun to dig a little deeper for Lions players and see what neat little factoids we could find. For this game, I decided to use teams as a reference point, at any level.

Six Degrees of Taylor Decker: How he connects to the original spiked football

Taylor Decker was drafted to be the Detroit Lions left tackle of the future. He took the left tackle job from...

Riley Reiff, who was drafted in 2012 to replace...

Jeff Backus, drafted in the first round of 2001 to the Lions out of the University of Michigan. He was actually the third Michigan player drafted in the first round that year, the first of which was eighth overall to the Chicago Bears, a wide receiver by the name of...

David Terrell, who flopped for the Bears as one of many during their infamous WR drought. He eventually went to the Chiefs where he was beat out for a job by another Michigan WR...

Amani Toomer, who was trying out for his first team since setting the all time receiving record for the New York Giants, originally set by...

Homer Jones, who once had 1,209 yards on only 49 receptions (24.7 YPC), but was most famous for inventing the spike, which would go on to influence touchdown celebrations in perpetuity. He isn’t a hall of famer, but his 22.3 YPC over his career ranks first all time in NFL history (min 200 receptions).

Six Degrees of Ameer Abdullah: Finding greatness and coming full circle

Ameer Abdullah played for Nebraska, but in high school he was a running back for Homewood, Alabama. Another Homewood alum...

Evan Mathis has bounced around a bit since being drafted by the Panthers, but he had his best seasons as an All Pro for the Philadelphia Eagles from 2011-2013. Mathis played college ball for Cincinnati, where one of the most well known players in their history was...

Melvin Jenkins. The former Bearcat played most of his NFL career with the Seahawks, but would spend one of his final seasons with the Detroit Lions in 1991 where they had some guy named...

Barry Sanders tearing it up. Sanders had 342 carries that season, a true bell cow, as the No. 2 back that year only managed 17 carries who was...

Cedric Jackson. Jackson doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page he’s so obscure, but he played college ball for TCU where he backed up...

Curtis Modkins who would eventually become the Detroit Lions running backs coach who was pounding the table for Ameer Abdullah in the 2015 NFL Draft. Modkins was given a lot of credit for Abdullah’s late season surge, but he was eventually let go and is now the San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator.

Six Degrees of Graham Glasgow: Name Bracket challengers and a familiar face

The Lions third-round pick in 2016, Graham Glasgow played for Michigan where he played with linemate...

Taylor Lewan who would be the first-round selection for the Tennessee Titans in 2014, starting at left tackle while...

Delanie Walker would surpass 1,000 yards at tight end. He played for Central Missouri St. in college, who had just produced a draft pick a few years before Walker was taken. This man likely would have made the final four in the name bracket...

Colston Weatherington. Weatherington played defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys in 2002 behind another likely name bracket contender...

Ebenezer Ekuban. Ekuban spent a good portion of his career with the Cowboys, but had his best year netting a team leading eight sacks for the Cleveland Browns. Their quarterback that year is a familiar name...

Jeff Garcia who would go on to win a single game for the Detroit Lions in 2005.

Six Degrees of Matthew Stafford: 3 Hall of Famers and another Lions QB

Moving away from recent draft picks, let’s take a look at a fan favorite, the most loved player by all of Detroit fans, Matthew Stafford!

Matthew Stafford famously played at Highland Park in high school, the high school of Hall of Famer...

Bobby Layne, who won several championships for the Detroit Lions. Lesser known is that another Detroit Lions Hall of Famer played for Highland Park...

Doak Walker. Walker went to college at Southern Methodist University, which produced another Hall of Fame running back in...

Eric Dickerson who ran for 2,105 yards in 1984, more yards than the 2,021 yards his QB...

Jeff Kemp threw for. Kemp would only have the one winning season, and would lose his job in 1991 to...

Dave Krieg who became the Detroit Lions starting quarterback in 1994. Krieg, with the help of a certain running back, would help lead the Detroit Lions to the playoffs that season.

Six Degrees of POD

I thought of this idea while bored at work, and I realized that this is likely when many of you are reading our articles. Can you find any interesting "Six Degrees of Separation" scenarios that somehow link to the Detroit Lions players of past and present? Let us know in the comments!