On This Date December 15, 1935: Roar Lions Roar

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

The Detroit Lions continue a magical year for the Motor City beating the New York Giants 26-7 to win their first NFL Championship. The Lions, in their second season after moving from Portsmouth, Ohio, took on the reigning champion Giants. The Lions were helped by the snowy conditions at the University of Detroit Stadium as 15,000 fans cheered the Lions to victory. At the time, Detroit was the City of Champions as the Tigers won the World Series in October, while the Red Wings were at the start of a season that would end with a Stanley Cup Championship. 

The early Detroit Lions were filled with success. After playing in the tiebreaker game that sprung the idea of the playoffs in 1932, the Portsmouth Spartans moved to Detroit in 1934. After finishing 10-3 in their first season in the Motor City, the Lions who wore blue and took the name Lions in tribute to the Columbia Lions from the Ivy League. The Lions did not play as well for coach Posty Clark in their second season, but with a 7-3-2 record finished atop the competitive Western Division. Just one game separated the division's four teams as all each finished with a winning record, with the Green Bay Packers finishing second at 8-4, while the Chicago Bears and Chicago Cardinals each finished 6-4-2. 

The New York Giants were the beasts of the east when the NFL began its divisional play era. The Giants had played in the first two official NFL Championship Games. After losing to the Bears in 1933, the Giants won a major upset 30-13 in 1934 in the Sneakers Game, spoiling the Bears' unbeaten season. The Giants easily won the Eastern Divison again with a record of 9-3 in as they were the only team in the five-team division to post a winning record. 

It was a cold and snowy day in Detroit as a sparse crowd was on hand to see the Lions host the Giants for the NFL Championship. The Lions took an early lead on a two-yard touchdown run by Ace Gutowsky, capping a 61-yard drive on the first series of the game. The Giants had a chance to answer, but Ken Strong missed a 34-yard field goal. On the drive, Tod Goodwin suffered a rib injury that sidelined him the rest of the game. Goodwin was the Giants' top pass catcher and hurt an already compromised offense, playing without Dale Burnett. The Lions added a second score in the first quarter Dutch Clark had a 40-yard run. The PAT was missed as the Lions held a 13-0 lead. 

The Giants would get back in the game as Ken Strong scored on a 42-yard pass from Ed Danowski. There would be no scoring in the third quarter as conditions continued to worsen. The Lions began to pull away in the fourth quarter as Eddie Caddell had a four-yard run into the end zone. The Lions added a final score on a four-yard run by Buddy Parker, to make the final 26-7.