The Detroit Lions have won seven divisional titles in their 94-year history. But how many times have they claimed the NFC North?
Detroit Lions History in the Realignment Era
Since the NFL realignment of the 2002 season, the Lions have never won a divisional title as an NFC North team.
That’s 21 years Detroit hasn’t claimed the division. Every other division opponent has claimed the North in the era of four teams in four divisions in each conference.
Unfortunately for the Lions, they haven’t had success consistency. Detroit has finished in fourth place 10 times since the 2002 realignment. There was even a period the Lions endured four straight seasons of finishing last in the division, which was 2018 to 2021.
As for playoff appearances, Detroit has made the postseason three times … and lost all three opening-round games.
But to figure out the last time Detroit won a division title, you have to go back three decades.
Last Time Detroit Won a Division Title
The year was 1991. George H.W. Bush was in the presidential office, Jeremy Irons won best actor for Reversal of Fortune, Dances With Wolves won best picture at the Oscars, the era of New Jack Swing R&B began to dominate radio airwaves, and a young pop singer named Mariah Carey began to launch herself into stardom.
And that was the last time the Lions were called the division champions.
Led by the franchise’s winningest — and losingest — head coach in Wayne Fontes, Detroit rolled to a 12-4 overall record to claim the NFC Central.
That was a Lions team that ranked ninth in the league in total offense and 11th in defense. There was also a future NFL Hall of Famer in the city named Barry Sanders, who rushed for 1,548 yards and scored 16 touchdowns.
Chris Spielman led the defense in a Pro Bowl campaign. Bennie Blades and Ray Crockett helped solidify the secondary with three fumble recoveries and six interceptions. That Lions team was known for having two quarterbacks who went 6-2 as a starter: Erik Kramer and Rodney Peete.
And, the 1991 campaign marks the last time Detroit won a playoff game — a 38-6 drubbing of the Dallas Cowboys. The Lions have since had the longest title-winning and playoff victory drought in the league.
But at 2-1 and with new enthusiasm under Dan Campbell, many believe this is the season the Lions will finally break the streak.
Detroit already has shown glimpses of its potential with a late-season charge to end 2022 by winning eight of its last 10 contests to end the year at 9-8. Since November of 2022, the Lions own a 10-3 mark in their last 13 games.
During this run, their upcoming Thursday night opponent, the Green Bay Packers, has taken two losses to the Lions.