The Last Time the Detroit Lions Were in the NFC Championship Game…

Barry Sanders, Detroit Lions, 1991

It’s still hard to believe: The Detroit Lions are one game away from the Super Bowl.

The long-suffering Lions get a chance to make history Sunday when they visit the San Francisco 49ers, the conference’s top seed, in the NFC Championship.

The last time the Lions were in the NFC Championship game was in the 1991 season when they played the Washington Redskins on Jan. 12, 1992, at RFK Stadium.

That game did not go well for the Lions, who were pummeled 41-10. Lions quarterback Erik Kramer was sacked five times, and eventual Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders was held to a mere 44 yards on 11 carries. The Redskins would go on to beat the Buffalo Bills 37-24 in Super Bowl XXVI. The Lions would go on to 30 years of futility.

In January 1992, Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was getting heavy rotation on MTV and the band’s Nevermind album was flying off record store shelves. Hook, Father of the Bride and The Prince of Tides were tops at the box office. Michael Jackson’s “Black or White,” Color Me Badd’s “All 4 Love” and Boyz II Men’s “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” were near the top of the pop charts. Top TV shows nominated for Golden Globes were Cheers, L.A. Law, Evening Shade and Murphy Brown. President George H.W. Bush puked on the prime minister of Japan. Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer pleaded guilty but insane.

So, yeah. It’s been a while.

The Lions are one of four NFL teams to have never played in the Super Bowl. They’ll be underdogs against the Niners, but sentimental favorites for a lot of football fans this weekend.

February 2021
Want More?

February 2021

1990s Rom-Coms

Pop some popcorn and cozy up to feel-good movies and TV shows from a generation ago.

Buy This Issue