Welcome to Halloween week, Detroit Lions fans. This is the week that a lot of you seem to have circled on your calendars as the Lions’ first win of the season. I find the thought of guaranteeing a Lions victory as scary as Michael Myers on Halloween night, but go off.
Today we’ll be talking about the Lions history with the Philadelphia Eagles.
How it started
Who’s ready to go back to the 1930s again? Don’t everyone jump out of your seats at once. The Detroit Lions’ first game against the Eagles came on October 14, 1934. This was only the fourth game in the entire history of the Detroit Lions and it was a good one. The defense pitched a shutout in a 10-0 win. Not bad, right?
Ernie Caddel scored the team’s only touchdown. The wingback—yes, I said wingback— would score three more touchdowns that season. He played with the Lions until 1938. He later owned a Chevy dealership for 42 years in Roseville, California. You might know someone who bought an Impala from him.
What the world was like
Speaking of Caddel and Chevy, the wingback was probably riding down the road bumping Moonglow by—you guessed it if you read these every week—Benny Goodman. He was probably on the way to see The Rich Are Always With Us with his main squeeze. He only spent 35 cents a ticket on that picture, if you were wondering.
You would think that since the Lions first played the Eagles in 1934, that there would be a ton of match ups between the two teams. But since 1933—yes, I’m counting the Portsmouth Spartans one game against the Eagles here—the two teams have only met 34 times. The Lions are 16-16-2 all time against the Eagles. So this Sunday’s game is a tiebreaker game that I’m sure all historians will have their eyes glued to. The Eagles do hold a slight edge over the Lions in games played in Detroit. They’re 7-6-2 in Motown. I’m sure you’re worried about those ties. Don’t fret, neither team has kissed their sister in Detroit since 1984, before much of the Pride of Detroit staff was even born.
As for Halloween, the Lions haven’t played on the holiday since 2004 in a 31-21 Week 8 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. The Lions have played on Halloween day 10 times in franchise history. Their first ever Halloween game was in 1931—a 14-0 win over the Frankford Yellow Jackets. Here’s a fun fact for you about the Yellow Jackets: While it may not be mentioned in team history, the Yellow Jackets were sold in 1933 and part of what was left of the team would become the Philadelphia Eagles.
All told, the Lions are 7-3 on Halloween Day. Will that success continue against the Eagles?
Maybe it’s not the worst Lions game ever, but it was one of the most interesting games to watch, and it was sad to see the Lions lose. Of course I’m talking about the snow game in 2013. This was wild to watch. There was a full-on blizzard happening in Philadelphia that Sunday, and it made for a very old school type of game. There was a ton of running the ball. Neither team really dared to throw it much. The Lions had a 14-6 lead going into the fourth quarter and then the Eagles unleashed LeSean McCoy for a 28-point fourth quarter. The Lions lost 34-20.
It wasn’t a pretty game at all, but in ugly games like this, you hope the Lions pull out the win. On this day they didn’t.
This is an easy one. Thanksgiving Day 2015. The Lions put an absolute hurting on the Eagles in a 45-14 win. The turkey has not tasted that good in years. You know what? Let’s dive deeper into that one.
It was Eric Rowe’s worst nightmare. Calvin Johnson tore the man apart for eight catches, 93 yards and three touchdowns. It was just a sight to behold. You almost felt bad for the young Rowe.
Matthew Stafford threw five touchdowns and had a 337-yard day. On defense, Ezekiel Ansah sacked Mark Sanchez 3.5 times. Maybe he got hit so hard that day that he couldn’t hear Detroit Lions fans loudly appreciating Matthew Stafford. Stephen Tulloch and Darryl Tapp got sacks too.
It was just the sweetest Thanksgiving Day game ever. Although their 40-10 win over the Green Bay Packers in 2013 was pretty sweet, too.