1935 Detroit Lions season
Head Coach Potsy Clark
Home Field University of Detroit Stadium
Record 7-3-2
Place 1st NFL Western
Playoff Finish Won NFL Championship
Previous Season Next Season
1934 1936

The 1935 Detroit Lions season resulted in the Lions winning their first NFL Championship. In their second season in Detroit, the Lions placed first in the NFL's Western Division and went on to defeat the New York Giants in the 1935 NFL Championship Game. The team was coached by Potsy Clark. The leading offensive players were Dutch Clark, who led the NFL with 55 points, and Ernie Caddel, who led the league with 621 yards from scrimmage and 6.4 yards per touch.

Season highlightsEdit

Quick Timeline of the 1935 Lions season:

Season Opener (September 20th) - In one of the club's most dominating performances ever, the Lions pounded Philadelphia 35-0 to open its second season of existence. In the spotlight is a stifling Lion defense that holds Philadelphia without a first down. Jamison Taff lead the team to one of their first victories. Offensively, Ernie Caddel rushes for three TD's to pace Potsy Clark's Lions. Detroit uses this game as a springboard to its first ever World Championship, a 26-7 decision over New York.

Victory over Redskins (October 13th) - The Lions defeat the Boston Redskins 17-7. The win still stands as the only time the Lions have beaten the Redskins on the road. Since the win in 1935, Detroit has traveled to the nation's capital 15 times without claiming a win.

Western Division Title (November 28th) - The Lions took revenge from '34 by beating the Bears 14-2, clinching the Western Division title. Detroit went on to beat New York, 26-7, for the club's first NFL Championship.

NFL Championship (December 15th) - In only their second year of existence, the Detroit Lions defeat the New York Giants 26-7 for their first World Championship. Detroit jumped on the Giants 13-0 in the first quarter and never looked back. Before 15,000 fans and in a freezing rain, the Lions marched 61 yards on their opening possession to take a 7-0 lead, which was climaxed by a 5-yard Ace Gutowsky TD plunge. Dutch Clark broke loose late in the first quarter on a 40-yard scoring run to push the lead to 13-0. New York pulled to within 13-7, and the score stood there until the fourth quarter when the Lions put the contest out of reach with 13 more points. Touchdown runs of four yards by B Ernie Caddel and nine yards by B Buddy Parker put the lid on the Lions championship.


Week Date Opponent Result
1 September 20, 1935 Philadelphia Eagles W 35-0
2 September 29, 1935 Chicago Cardinals T 10-10
3 October 6, 1935 at Brooklyn Dodgers L 12-10
4 October 13, 1935 at Boston Redskins W 17-7
5 October 20, 1935 at Green Bay Packers L 13-9
6 October 30, 1935 Boston Redskins W 14-0
7 November 3, 1935 at Chicago Cardinals W 7-6
8 November 10, 1935 at Green Bay Packers L 31-7
9 November 17, 1935 Green Bay Packers W 20-10
10 November 24, 1935 at Chicago Bears T 20-20
11 November 28, 1935 Chicago Bears W 14-2
12 December 1, 1935 Brooklyn Dodgers W 28-0


Week Date Opponent Result
Championship December 15, 1935 New York Giants W 26-7

Post-season gamesEdit

Week Date Opponent Result
All-Star Game January 1, 1936 NFL All-Stars W 33-0[1]
Post-season game January 13, 1936 Westwood Clubs Los Angeles W 67-14
Post-season game January 20, 1936 Los Angeles All-Stars W 42-7[2]
Post-season rematch January 26, 1936 Green Bay Packers W 10-3


NFL Western
Detroit Lions 7 3 2 .700 191 111 W-2
Green Bay Packers 8 4 0 .667 181 96 W-1
Chicago Cardinals 6 4 2 .600 99 97 L-1
Chicago Bears 6 4 2 .600 192 106 W-1





Season summaryEdit

Week 1: Lions 35, Eagles 0Edit

The Lions opened the 1935 season with a 35-0 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in a Friday night game in Detroit. Following the game, the Associated Press reported that the Lions has "definitely established themselves as serious contenders for the 1935 National Professional football league championship."[3] Dutch Clark and Ernie Caddel led the scoring, and the Lions prevented the Eagles from making a first down.[3] The Lions totaled 381 total yards against the Eagles, including 324 rushing yards on 57 carries for an average of 6.8 yards per carry.[4]

Week 2: Lions 10, Cardinals 10Edit

In the second week of the 1935 season, the Lions and Chicago Cardinals played to a 10-10 tie in front of 10,000 spectators in Detroit. The Lions came from behind to tie the score in the final minutes, as Glenn Presnell kicked a field goal.[5]

Week 3: Dodgers 12, Lions 10Edit

The Lions suffered their first loss of the season in a road game against the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field.[6]

Week 4: Lions 17, Redskins 7Edit

In week four, the Lions defeated the Boston Redskins 17-7 in front at Fenway Park in Boston. The Lions opened the scoring in the first quarter with a 35-yard field goal by Glenn Presnell. The Lions added a touchdown in the third quarter on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Ace Gutowsky to Dutch Clark. Both teams scored touchdowns in the fourth quarter. The Lions' final touchdown was fueled by a 40-yard run by Ernie Caddel and a final 10-yard touchdown run by Caddel.[7]

Week 5: Packers 13, Lions 9Edit

In week five, the Lions suffered their second loss of the season, falling to the Green Bay Packers 13-9 at State Fair Park in Milwaukee. Former Oregon State tackle Tar Schwammel kicked two field gaols for the Packers.[8]

Through the first five games, Ernie Caddel was tied with Dale Burnett for the NFL scoring lead with five touchdowns and 30 points. Caddel had gained 297 yards on 39 carries for an average of 7.6 yards per carry.[9]

Week 6: Lions 14, Redskins 0Edit

In the sixth game of the season, the Lions defeated the Boston Redskins 14-0 in front of 14,000 spectators in Detroit. In the first quarter, Ernie Caddel threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Schneller for the first points of the game. The second half was played in heavy fog, "at times almost completely blotting out all action, and making necessary the use of a white ball."[10] The Redskins drove to the Lions' nine-yard line in the third quarter, but the Lions intercepted a pass to stop the drive. The Lions scored in the fourth quarter on a one-yard plunge by Ace Gutowsky.[10]

Week 7: Lions 7, Cardinals 6Edit

Template:AFB game box start Template:AFB game box end In week seven, the Lions narrowly defeated the Chicago Cardinals in the rain and mud at Wrigley Field. The final score was 7-6 with the difference being a successful extra point kicked by Dutch Clark after a 12-yard touchdown run by Ernie Caddel in the first quarter. The Cardinals scored a touchdown in the second quarter but missed the extra point attempt.[11]

Week 8: Packers 31, Lions 7Edit

In week eight, the Lions lost for the second time in 1935 to the Green Bay Packers, this time by a score of 31-7.[12][13]

Week 9: Lions 20, Packers 10Edit

Template:AFB game box start Template:AFB game box end In week nine, the Lions and Packers met for the third time in the 1935 season. This time, the Lions came out on top 20-10. Bill Shepherd, who had been acquired by the Lions in a trade for Doug Nott on November 4, 1935,[14] scored two touchdowns for the Lions. Ebding added another. Dutch Clark kicked two extra points. The game was attended by 14,000 spectators at University of Detroit Stadium.[15]

Week 10: Lions 20, Bears 20Edit

In week 10, the Lions played the Chicago Bears to a 20-20 tie at Wrigley Field. The Bears' Bill Karr caught three touchdown passes in the game. The Lions' touchdowns were scored by Dutch Clark, Bill Shepherd and Klewicki.[16]

Week 11: Lions 14, Bears 2Edit

For their 11th game, the Lions played the Bears on Thanksgiving Day in Detroit. Dutch Clark scored two touchdowns as the Lions beat the Bears 14-2. The Bears scored a safety after Buddy Parker fumbled and recovered the ball behind his own goal line.[17][18]

Week 12: Lions 28, Dodgers 0Edit

In their final regular season game, the Detroit Lions defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers 28-0 in front of 12,000 spectators in Detroit. The Lions scored on a field goal by Glenn Presnell, a touchdown reception by Presnell, two safeties, and touchdowns by Dutch Clark and Ace Gutowsky. The scored 16 points in the fourth quarter. The win gave the Lions the undisputed NFL Western Division title.[19]

NFL Championship GameEdit

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The 1935 NFL Championship Game was held on December 15, 1935 at University of Detroit Stadium (some sources call it Titan Stadium) in Detroit. The game was played in a snowstorm in front of 12,000 spectators. It was the 3rd annual title game for the NFL. The champion of the Western Division was the Detroit Lions (7-3-2) and the champion of the Eastern Division was the New York Giants (9-3). On the opening drive of the game, the Lions Glenn Presnell threw a 36-yard pass to Frank Christensen, and Ace Gutowsky threw another long pass to Ed Klewicki at the Giants' 8-yard line. Gutowsky then ran the ball into the end zone to give the Lions a 7-0 lead. The Lions scored again after Christensen intercepted a pass thrown by New York's Ed Danowski and ran it back to midfield. Three plays later, Dutch Clark ran 40 yards for a touchdown. In the fourth quarter, the Lions blocked a punt, and George Christensen recovered the ball on the Giants' 22-yard line. Ernie Caddel ran the ball in from the one-yard line for the Lions' third touchdown. The Lions added to their lead late in the game after Parker intercepted a pass from New York quarterback (and former University of Michigan star) Harry Newman on the Giants' 45-yard line and returned it to the nine-yard line. Buddy Parker ran for the touchdown as the Lions won the championship by a final score of 26-7.[20]

All-Star Game: Lions 33, NFL All-Stars 0Edit

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After the NFL Championship Game, the Lions played a game against an NFL All-Star team on January 1, 1936. The game was attended by 11,000 spectators and marked the first NFL game to be played in Denver, Colorado. The Lions scored five touchdowns, including three in the third period, for a 33-0 victory.[21]

Detroit: "City of Champions"Edit

When the Lions won the 1935 NFL Championship Game, the City of Detroit was mired in the Great Depression, which had hit Detroit and its industries particularly hard. But with the success of the Lions and other Detroit athletes in 1935, Detroit's luck appeared to be changing, as the City was dubbed the "City of Champions."[22] The Detroit Tigers also won the 1935 World Series, and the Detroit Red Wings won the 1935–36 Stanley Cup championship. Detroit's "champions" included Detroit's "Brown Bomber," Joe Louis, the heavyweight boxing champion; native Detroiter Gar Wood who was the champion of unlimited powerboat racing and the first man to go 100 miles per hour on water; and Eddie "the Midnight Express" Tolan, a black Detroiter who won gold medals in the 100- and 200-meter races at the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

Statistical leadersEdit


Player GP Att Net Yards Yds/Att TD
Ernie Caddel 12 87 450 5.2 6
Dutch Clark 12 102 427 3.6 4
Ace Gutowsky 9 59 276 2.9 2
Glenn Presnell 12 71 225 3.2 0
Buddy Parker 11 59 156 2.6 0
Bill Shepherd 5 54 140 2.6 3


Player GP Att Comp Int Comp % Yds Yds/Comp TD
Glenn Presnell 12 45 15 6 33.3 193 12.9 0
Ernie Caddel 12 6 4 1 66.6 169 42.3 2
Dutch Clark 12 26 11 4 42.3 133 12.1 2
Pug Vaughan 7 15 7 2 46.7 104 14.9 2
Bill Shepherd 5 9 7 0 77.8 99 14.1 1
Ace Gutowsky 12 9 5 1 55.6 95 19.0 2
Frank Christensen 12 21 6 3 28.6 92 15.3 0


Player GP Recp Yds Yds/Recp TD
Ernie Caddel 12 10171 17.1 0
John Schneller 12 7 149 21.32
Harry Ebding 11 8 128 16.01
Dutch Clark 12 9 124 13.82
Ed Klewicki 11 4 112 28.02
Glenn Presnell 12 3 73 24.31


Player GP Rush TD Recv TD PR TD Total TD FG XPM Points
Dutch Clark 12 420611655
Ernie Caddel 12 60060036
Glenn Presnell 12 01124428
Bill Shepherd 530030018

Awards and recordsEdit

  • Ernie Cadell
Led NFL in all-purpose yards and yards from scrimmage (621)
Led NFL in rushing touchdowns (6)
Led NFL in yards per rushing attempt (5.2)
Led NFL in yards per touch (6.4)
Tied for NFL lead in rushing/receiving touchdowns (6)
2nd in NFL in rushing yards (450)
  • Dutch Clark
Led NFL in points scored (55)
Tied for NFL lead in extra points made (16)
Tied for NFL lead in rushing/receiving touchdowns (6)
2nd in NFL in all-purpose yards (551)
  • Glenn Presnell
Tied for NFL lead in punt return touchdowns (1)


  1. "Detroit Lions Beat All-Star Eleven, 33-0", January 2, 1936. 
  2. "Detroit Lions Defeat Los Angeles Gridders", January 20, 1936. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Detroit Lions Win Opening Game, 35-0", September 23, 1935. 
  4. "Detroit Leads Pro League in Yardage: Lions Have Gained Total Of 381 Yards", September 23, 1935. 
  5. "LIONS TIE CHICAGO CARDS.; Detroit Gains 10-10 Deadlock In League Football Game", September 30, 1935. 
  6. Arthur J. Daley. "Football Dodgers Triumph in Inaugural at Ebbets Field; Giants Also Score; DODGERS VANQUISH LIONS BY 12 TO 10", October 7, 1935. 
  7. "Detroit Lions Smother Redskins 17-7 in League Tilt Before 20,000 Fans", October 9, 1935. 
  8. Charles Nevada. "PACKERS DEFEAT LIONS, 13 TO 9, ON TWO FIELD GOALS: Schwammel Place Kicks from 39, 41 Yard Lines", October 21, 1935. 
  9. "Caddel Keeps Spot As Scoring Leader", October 23, 1935. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Redskins Licked by Detroit Lions; Score 14 to 0". 
  11. "Lions Vanquish Cardinals, 7-6, As Clark Converts Extra Point; Detroit Quarterback Boots Ball Between Uprights After Caddel Takes Lateral and Runs 12 Yards to Score in First Period", November 4, 1935. 
  12. Charles Nevada. "Packers Pound Lions, 31 to 7; Hold 1st Place", November 11, 1935. 
  13. "GREEN BAY PASSES BEAT DETROIT, 31-7; Packers Get 21 Points in Last Half, Blood Twice Snaring Touchdown Tosses. HINKLE KICKS FIELD GOAL Hutson Also Scores Through Aerial Route -- Kleiwicki Accounts for Losers' Tally", November 11, 1934. 
  14. "Casey Trades Bill Shepherd to Detroit For Passing Ace, Nott", November 5, 1935. 
  15. "Lions Trounce Packers 20-10: Dutch Clark Hero as Team Stays in Race", November 18, 1935. 
  16. "BEARS TIE DETROIT AS KARR SETS PACE; He Scores Three Touchdowns in 20-20 National Football League Deadlock. CLARK GETS FIRST TALLY Klewicki and Shepherd Also Cross Goal Line for Lions at Wrigley Field", November 25, 1935. 
  17. "Detroit Lions Defeat Bears", November 29, 1935. 
  18. Wilfrid Smith. "DUTCH CLARK IS PUNCH BEHIND LIONS' ATTACK: Takes Two Passes for Detroit Touchdowns; Lions Defeat Bears, 14 to 2; Tie for Lead", November 29, 1935. 
  19. "Lions Rout the Dodgers by 28-0 And Gain Western Division Lead; Presnell Starts Detroit's Scoring With a Field Goal and Later Crosses on a Pass -- Clark and Gutowsky Also Go Over for Touchdowns -- Two Safeties Included in the Total", December 2, 1935. 
  20. "Detroit Lions Win Grid Championship: Pro Team Takes 26 to 7 Decision Over New York Giants", December 15, 1935. 
  21. "Lions Score Five Touchdowns in Defeating Pro Football All-Stars at Denver, 33 to 0", January 2, 1936. 
  22. [1]

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