Remembering the Detroit Lions First Game 89 Years Ago
September 23, 2023, marks the 89th anniversary of the Detroit Lions' first game after moving from Portsmouth, Ohio, as the Spartans. This season the Detroit Lions are celebrating their 90th season in the Motor City in the Honolulu blue and silver. What better time to look back on not only the franchise's first game but also its first win?
The Detroit Lions got off to a fantastic start in their first season way back in 1934. The Lions finished the season 10-3 led by the league's top defense, which only allowed seven touchdowns all season, and the second-highest-scoring offense led by Pro Football Hall of Famer Dutch Clark.
The Detroit Lions kicked off their inaugural season against the New York Giants, the runners-up to the NFL Championship in the previous season to the Chicago Bears. The Giants would eventually go on to win the 1934 NFL Championship despite a rocky season, where the turmoil began in Detroit.
On September 23, 1934, the Detroit Lions hosted the New York Giants at the University of Detroit Stadium in front of roughly 12,000 fans. It was an exciting affair to see two squads that had been at the top of the NFL landscape for the past few seasons get the season started in a new environment.
Still, this contest played out much like most football games in those days - a low-scoring affair in a defensive chess match. The Lions' first franchise points came on a 20-yard dropkick field goal from Clark in the third quarter. The Lions would score their first touchdown in franchise history on a pick-six courtesy of Father Lumpkin, who intercepted an Ed Danowski pass and returned it 45 yards for the score.
With a 9-0 win, the Detroit Lions had won their first-ever game after their relocation. It was an exciting beginning for a franchise that has been so unjustly humbled through most of its history. At the very least, the 2023 Detroit Lions look to be turning the corner to success soon enough.