clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Detroit Lions random stats: Preseason

Arming Lions fans with useless information for the preseason.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The preseason. A time of hope and a time of unwavering and unwarranted confidence. Football fans look forward to this time of year all summer long. Not because they feel like these games mean anything, but because hey, it's football. Also because it's the first significant moment of the year that let's you know real football is just a month away.

Despite these games and their outcomes meaning nothing, I want to arm you with some useless information that you might find interesting anyway. Enter Random Stats. If you've followed my work from back in my SideLion Report days, then you're familiar with how these pieces work. If not, enjoy the bumpy ride. Let's jump right into it.

Brief History

The NFL has always had exhibition games going back to its infancy; some games were even played during the season. At one point in time, exhibition games fluctuated between two and six games a year. However, in 1978 that all changed. The NFL officially set their yearly preseason games at four per year, or five for teams playing the Hall of Fame game. The Lions have held that honor once, back in 1993. Since then, the Lions have put out all kinds of results.

Overall Record

The Lions have played a total of 148 preseason games, taking two seasons off due to lockouts. Their overall record in these games is 74-72-2. Yes, the Lions have managed to tie two preseason games, once in 1985 and then again in 1993. It really seems odd, as these are games that nobody cares about winning. Why not just let a team into the end zone just so everyone can go home with some sort of sense that they did something?

The Dress Rehearsal

Nobody knows where this name came from. It's just one of those things you're built to know about, like how to hook up a VCR or DVD for your grandparents. The dress rehearsal is the nickname for the third week of the preseason. It is the game that the starters tend to play the most in the preseason. It's also falsely understood that teams go through their actual offensive and defensive playbooks in these games -- it's just not so.

The Lions have not had great success in these games since 1978, going a perfect .500 with a record of 17-17. Winning these games has shown to be a death knell for the Lions regular season. Of the 17 times they've won this game, the Lions have followed it with only five winning seasons. It's only slightly better when the Lions lose this game as they've followed the losses with six winning seasons. It's rough to get excited about the game either way when you see the Lions have had 25 losing seasons in the 38 years the preseason has been around. Like I said, these games don't mean much win or lose.

Optimal record for success.

The Lions have finished the preseason with every record possible during a four game slate. I went through every season to try to find out what the optimal record the Lions should have that will lead to a winning season. This was a difficult task because like I mentioned earlier, 25 losing seasons. Here's how it breaks down.

Record Winning Seasons Losing Seasons
2-2 Two Nine
3-1 Three Four
1-3 Three Seven
0-4 Zero Two
4-0 Two Two

Keeping in mind that this means nothing. It would appear that the Lions best chance to have a winning record is when they finish the preseason at either 3-1 or 4-0. Of course 4-0 gives all Lions fans the heebie jeebies for good reason. When the Lions went 4-0 in 2008, they went home empty handed in the regular season with the infamous 0-16 record. But rest easy: The previous time the Lions went undefeated in preseason play, they went 10-6 and went back to the playoffs for the first time since 1999.


On the way out I just want to say one more time that none of this truly matters. It's all for fun. Hopefully you learned something new today that you can store in your brain tank. What else would you like to know about the preseason? Be sure to leave your comments below or come chat with me on Twitter @POD_Payton.

Subscribe to PODD

After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.