In this editon of 100 Days, 100 Detroit Lions, we pay tribute to a linebacker that was the Ying to Joe Schmidt’s Yang as the Lions’ defense blasted their way to a second-straight NFL title in 1953.
42. LaVern “Torgy” Torgeson
Linebacker / Center. 1951-54 Detroit; 1955-57 Washington Redskins
Torgy was part of Buddy Parker’s stellar 1951 draft class, which included the likes of Jack Christiansen, Dick Stanfel, Jim Doran, and Dorne Dibble. Every one of those players would become starters during Detroit’s 1950’s championship run. The 6-foot, 215 pound Torgeson was the team’s fifth-round choice out of Washington State. He became an outstanding linebacker for the Lions, teaming with Dick Flanagan and later Joe Schmidt, to comprise one of the league’s best linebacking duo’s during Detroit’s three-straight NFL Championship Game appearances from 1952-54. Torgy had tremendous instincts and range in pass coverage, as evidenced by his 13 interceptions during his four-year stay with the club.
Torgy made his first trip to the Pro Bowl after the 1954 season. Ironically, he was traded away by coach Buddy Parker to the Washington Redskins before the ‘55 season began. He would earn two more Pro Bowl trips with the ‘Skins before retiring after the 1957 season.