This team began in 1930 as the "Portsmouth Spartans."
When the City of Portsmouth completed their new football stadium, the NFL offered a franchise. At the time, Portsmouth was the second smallest city in the NFL behind Green Bay.
In its second season, Portsmouth would tie the Bears for the league’s best record and then lost 9-0 to Chicago in the NFL’s first playoff game.
In spite of winning teams every year, financial distress coupled with the Great Depression decimated the team’s future. In 1934, a group from Michigan led by George Richards purchased the club for $7,952 and relocated it to Detroit.
Richards named his club the "Lions" to go along with baseball’s Tigers. He would comment that the lion was the monarch of the jungle, and he intended him team to become the monarch of the NFL.
The team was already loaded with talent in its first season as the Spartans were always a contender. The team would host the Bears on Thanksgiving Day, a tradition that continues today. The following season the Lions captured the 1935 NFL Championship.
Unfortunately for fans, the club has encountered two winless seasons: 0-11-0 (1942) and 0-16-0 (2008).
However, the Lions would dominate the 1950s as the club imprisoned the division four times and won three NFL Championships (1952, 1953 and 1957). This franchise has won a total of four NFL titles.
One of the greatest NFL running backs played for the Lions: Barry Sanders.
Original Owner: The City of Portsmouth, Ohio
Original Colors: Purple & white
First Stadium: Universal Stadium, seating 8,200
Retired Jerseys: No. 7 Earl Clark, No. 20 Lem Barney, No. 20 Billy Sims, No. 20 Barry Sanders, No. 22 Bobby Layne, No. 37 Doak Walker, No. 56 Joe Schmidt, No. 85 Chuck Hughes, No. 88 Charlie Sanders
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 8 slices sourdough bread
- 4 slices Wisconsin sharp cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces total)
- 8 slices thick cut Applewood smoked bacon, cooked
- 16 tomato slices
- 4 ounces arugula
- 4 slices Wisconsin aged Swiss cheese (about 4 ounces total)
- 4 slices Wisconsin Monterey Jack cheese (about 4 ounces total
- Place 1 slice of cheddar onto a piece of bread. Top with bacon, tomato and arugula. Add remaining cheese. Place a piece of bread on top. Butter the top slice of bread.
- Warm a large skillet over medium heat. Place butter side down into skillet. Butter slice of bread facing up. Cover. Cook 3-5 minutes, or until golden brown. Carefully flip sandwich, cover and cook 2-4 minutes on second side. Wipe out pan with a paper town and repeat process until all sandwiches are cooked.
- Serve and enjoy!
- If preparing sandwiches for the whole gang, you can preheat oven to 200º. and pop sandwiches in oven as you are done cooking them. When all sandwiches are done you can serve everyone at the same time.
- If your cheese is not melting, you can help it along by creating steam. I fill a squeeze bottle with a little water and squirt a small amount (a couple teaspoons or less) around the sandwich in the pan and cover again. The steam will help the cheese to melt faster. Make sure you remove the cover and cook the sandwich until the pan is dry or you may have a soggy sandwich.
- Take the cheese out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature before cooking, this will help the cheese melt faster.