A litany of Lions losing

  • Updated: September 24, 2011 - 9:40 PM

Since the Vikings entered the NFL in 1961, the Lions have won only three division titles. The Vikings have won 18. Today, the teams meet for the 100th time. The Vikings hold a 66-31-2 advantage against a litany of Lions coaches.

George Wilson (1957-64): Wilson led the Lions to their only NFL championship in his first season. The Lions were 11-3 in 1962, and Wilson beat the Vikings in the teams' first five meetings.

Harry Gilmer (1965-66): Two sixth-place finishes in the NFL Western Conference doomed him. A gaudy 2-2 against the Vikings, though.

Joe Schmidt (1967-72): Finished with four consecutive second-place finishes in the Central, made the playoffs in 1970, but Bud Grant beat him 10 consecutive times.

Don McCafferty (1973): McCafferty coached the Colts in their Super Bowl V championship. Was 6-7-1 with the Lions but died after a heart attack the summer after his first season in Detroit.

Rick Forzano (1974-76): Resigned in frustration early in his third season. But he beat the Vikings twice.

Tommy Hudspeth (1976-77): Lions owner William Clay Ford pursued Rams coach Chuck Knox during Hudspeth's tenure but could never land him. Hudspeth was fired anyway.

Monte Clark (1978-84): We have a winner. After a wild-card loss in 1982, Clark went 9-7 in 1983 to win the NFC Central. The Lions trailed San Francisco in the playoffs 24-23 with 11 seconds remaining. They lined up for a game-winning field goal, but Eddie Murray missed from 43 yards. Ouch. Clark was 5-8 against the Vikings.

Darryl Rogers (1985-88): A successful coach at Michigan State and Arizona State, Rogers struggled with the Lions. His famous quote: "What does a coach have to do around here to get fired?" He found out late in the 1988 season.

Wayne Fontes (1988-96): Fontes (67-71) is the winningest and losingest coach in team history. Drafting Barry Sanders in 1989 helped. Constantly in the hot seat, Fontes won the NFC Central in 1991 and 1993. In 1991, Detroit beat Dallas for its last playoff victory. Fontes also earned a wild-card spot in 1994 and 1995. He was 7-11 against the Vikings.

Bobby Ross (1997-2000): A tough coach who led San Diego to the Super Bowl after the 1994 season, Ross helped the Lions to the playoffs as a wild card in 1997 and 1999 but quit in 2000 and Gary Moeller coached out the season. The Lions' last winning season was 1999. And Ross has the last victory (1997) by the Lions at the Metrodome.

Marty Mornhinweg (2001-02): 2-14 and 3-13. That's not good.

Steve Mariucci (2003-05): Working for controversial GM Matt Millen was not exactly gravy. Mariucci was fired in 2005, and Dick Jauron coached out the season.

Rod Marinelli (2006-2008): The Lions hit rock bottom with an NFL-record 0-16 season in 2008.

Jim Schwartz (2009-): Is he turning it around? The Lions took QB Matthew Stafford No. 1 overall in 2009 and have gone 2-14 and 6-10 under Schwartz. This season, they have started 2-0.


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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
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Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
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Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
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