When you read the word “favorite” in the question above, keep in mind that it’s a subjective term and you can take it in several ways. As a Chicago Bears’ fan you no doubt have watched the Detroit Lions play plenty throughout the years, so was there anyone that you truly came to appreciate and become a fan of? What about a Lion that you respected or perhaps one that you loved to hate?
We asked the WCG staff to give us their all-time favorite Lions are here’s what we had to say.
Will Robinson - The easy answer here is Barry Sanders, and I’m not one to make things difficult, so that’s what I’m going with. Barry was effortlessly great on the field, and is one of the few backs I wouldn’t think twice about comparing to Walter and Gale in terms of talent. I can scarcely imagine a higher compliment for an NFL player.
Ken Mitchell - There’s just no way to watch Barry Sanders highlights and not smile. That man did things with the football that nobody else has ever done. Without a doubt, a top-5 pure runner in the history of the game, Sanders was “next level.” Additionally, he had the smarts to walk away from the game and tell the Lions to “stick it!”.
Jeff Berckes - I loved watching Barry Sanders as a kid. I still love watching Barry Sanders highlights. And this segment from NFL Rocks I’ve seen at least a thousand times.
Jack Salo - Barry Sanders is by far my favorite Lions player. He could hit the hole with bursting speed and work the craftiest moves when in the open field. Sanders remains one of the few who can challenge Sweetness for GOAT.
Robert Zeglinski - No one more lived up to an apt nickname like “Megatron” than Calvin Johnson. Johnson, or Megatron, made playing receiver seem as easy as your Average Joe or Jill catching a few touchdowns in a pickup Thanksgiving game. If the most famous Decepticon had played football, he would’ve chosen Johnson’s entire profile. Whenever Johnson played against the Bears I couldn’t help but squeal with glee whenever he dunked on a hapless Chicago defensive back. For good reason. There are some guys who transcend rivalry, who make you appreciate football and the sport itself first. Megatron was always one of them.
Erik Christopher Duerrwaechter - This has to be Calvin “Megatron” Johnson for me. He’s a guy who, as a fan, you could never root against. Big, fast, elite ball skills and route running. He had it all as the embodiment of a modern wide receiver. If the Detroit Lions franchise simply didn’t run him out of town, and made Megatron retire way too early, he would certainly have been in contention to smash all receiving records set by hall of famers Jerry Rice and Randy Moss. Even when Charles “Peanut” Tillman kept him in check. ;)
Josh Sunderbruch - Calvin Johnson was the most complete wide receiver I ever saw play during his career. I missed Rice, for example. However, Johnson simply elevated the position. He was a marvel to watch from an athletic perspective, and he made the hard technical stuff look easy enough that he didn’t get credit there. I loved watching him play 14 games a year.
Sam Householder - For me, it’s Calvin Johnson. I’m just a little too young to have appreciated Barry Sanders, but Johnson was a revelation to me. His combination of size and speed was off the charts and he impressed me a lot. I was glad to see him play in what was ultimately his final game before surprisingly retiring following the 2015 season.
Jacob Infante - My answer is pretty basic, but I also loved Calvin Johnson. He was a physical specimen unlike any wide receiver in the league at that time, using his massive frame, blazing speed and phenomenal ball skills to dominate opposing defensive backs. From a pure football fan’s perspective, it’s a shame that he retired as early as he did, but he was able to walk away at a young age with a Hall of Fame resume on his own terms. There aren’t too many NFL players who can say that.
Alex Obringer - Like most everyone else, my favorite Lion was Calvin Johnson. He was easily the most dominant wide receiver I have ever seen. He was just bigger than everyone and the combo of Matt Stanford to Calvin Johnson in the red zone was very impressive.
Bill Zimmerman - For me, it’s Lomas Brown. Not only was Lomas an excellent offensive lineman and one of the few great ones that Barry Sanders was able to run behind, but he’s also a class act and one of those guys that’s so genuine and such a quality person that he’s impossible to cheer against.
Lester A. Wiltfong Jr. - Billy Sims was Detroit’s running back when I first started getting into football, which was also before I realized that the Lions were one of the Bears divisional rivals. The two-time All American at Oklahoma (1978-1979), and the winner of 1978 Heisman Trophy started his Lions career with three straight Pro Bowls. Sims was the total package as a runner with speed, power, and elusiveness, and while his career was cut short due to injury he made his mark on the NFL.
Now it’s your turn.
Give us your favorite all-time Lions player, and you can take the term “favorite” in what ever direction you want to go.