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Notes: Detroit Lions were the worst NFL team during the 16-game schedule era

Let’s hope the 17-game era brings more fortune.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Detroit Lions Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

The 16-game schedule is dead. Long live the 16-game schedule. Last week, the NFL added a 17th game to each team’s schedule—a interconference matchup that will all be hosted by the AFC in 2021 and the NFC in 2022.

The 16-game era lasted 43 years (1978 to 2020), and needless to say, it wasn’t exactly a shining era of Detroit Lions football. We all know that Detroit has failed to make a Super Bowl, and has only won a single playoff game over that era.

But it gets even worse for Lions fans. As pointed out by Kendall Baker of, the Lions actually had the worst winning percentage of any NFL franchise over those 43 years. Take a look:


The only team that truly comes close to the Lions’ struggles are the Cleveland Browns, who had a winning percentage just .003 better than Detroit. The next closest teams—the Cardinals and Buccaneers—at least both have Super Bowl appearances during the 16-game schedule era.

Let’s hope this 17-game era holds better fortune for our Detroit Lions.

  • The Lions offered exclusive-free agent tenders to Jason Cabinda, Matt Nelson and Jack Fox back in March. That gives those players one of two options: sign the one-year contract for the Lions or sit out the 2021 season. In other words, it’s a formality for the players to sign it. On Tuesday, Cabinda signed his:

  • The Detroit Lions will be part of history this year with the crazy quarterback carousel this offseason:

  • No Lions player made more extra money based on 2020 performance than cornerback Amani Oruwariye. According to the NFLPA (via Dave Birkett), Oruwariye will receive an extra $572,067 because he played 91.5 percent of defensive snaps last year—more than all but one Lions defender (Duron Harmon). The link above has a further list of Lions who earned performance-based bonuses in 2020.

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