Let's play word association. When we say "Detroit Lions," you think …
Odds are "visionary ownership" didn't come to mind. The Lions are one of the worst-performing teams in recent sports history, as the Matt Millen era and a 0-16 record in 2008 so readily attest.
And yet the Lions once had an owner who made Dallas Cowboys boss Jerry Jones look like a cookie-cutter executive by comparison. That man is responsible for one of the most enduring traditions in football.
His name is G.A. Richards, and in 1934 he bought the Lions and moved the team from Portsmouth, Ohio, to the Motor City. Right away, the radio entrepreneur had an issue: the Tigers. Detroit's baseball team was dominant, making it to the World Series that year and bearing down on its first championship in 1935 with stars like Hank Greenberg, Charlie Gehringer, Jo-Jo White and Schoolboy Rowe. The Lions were an early version of the USFL Michigan Panthers, talented but a side dish at best. Richards needed something to set his team apart.
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