The Detroit Lions were first created in 1930 in Portsmouth, OH and were originally known as the Spartans. The team was moved to Detroit in 1934 and subsequently changed its name to the Lions to go along with the city's Major League Baseball team, the Tigers. The Lions play ever year on Thanksgiving in a tradition that began in 1935.
The Lions fan base is ranked as one of the most miserable in all of sports due to their lack of historical moments or victories.
Pre-Super Bowl Era
The Lions were successful members of the National Football League, winning championships in 1935, 1952, 1953, and 1957. The three most recent wins all coming against the Cleveland Browns. Led by quarterback Bobby Layne and safety Jack Christiansen, the level of play exhibited by the Lions in the 1950's brought postseason success that has not been matched since.
Super Bowl Era
Decades of mediocre football filled the fields of Detroit from 1958-81. Despite having star defensive players Dick "Night Train" Lane and Joe Schmidt, the Lions rarely won a majority of their games during this time period.
The first glimmer of hope came with 1989 draft pick Barry Sanders. Their hall of fame running back carried them to their only NFC championship game appearance in 1991, a loss to the eventual champion Washington Redskins. Sanders retired after only 10 seasons with the team.
Futile attempts at a resurgence culminated in the first 0-16 season in NFL history in 2008. This horrific season earned the Lions the number one pick in the draft where they selected Matthew Stafford. Along with All-Pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson, Detroit's passing offense led them to multiple playoff appearances in the 2010's. However, postseason success has still evaded the Lion's franchise.
One of the reasons that Detroit has not prospered is because of the rigorous NFC North division that they are in. Playing twice each year against their rival Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, and Minnesota Vikings, three franchises with much more overall success in their histories, makes the task of winning each year far more difficult.