In this Wednesday edition of 100 Days, 100 Detroit Lions, we honor a former UCLA star who became a auto dealing superstar in Detroit after his playing days were over.
49. Mel Farr
Running Back. 1967-73 Detroit
Mel Farr came to the Motor City as the Lions’ number-one draft choice out of UCLA in 1967 and made an immediate impact. He gained 860 yards on the ground, and another 317 through the air, to earn NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. By the way, the NFL’s 1967 Defensive Rookie of the Year was Mel’s teammate Lem Barney. It remains the only time in the history of the awards that two players from the same team would win it in the same season.
When he was healthy, the 6-foot-2, 210 pound Farr was an electrifying performer. After his fantastic rookie season, he would miss 14 games over the next two years because of injuries. Mel would return to form in 1970, leading the Lions on the ground with 717 yards and scoring 11 touchdowns. Unfortunately, injuries would slow Farr once again over his final three seasons. Mel would play in only 30, of the Lions’ 42, games during that span.
Farr would win the Bobby Layne Offensive MVP Award twice, in 1967 and 1968. He would be selected to Pro Bowls after the 1967 and 1971 seasons. Mel remains seventh on the Lions’ career lists in yardage (3,072 yards), and in attempts (739). His 26 rushing touchdowns place him fourth all-time, and his 36 combined touchdowns rank sixth in Lions’ history. In addition, Detroit’s annual Rookie of the Year award is named in his honor.