In this installment of 100 Days, 100 Detroit Lions, we pay tribute to a fantastic offensive guard who was a rookie starter on the Lions last NFL championship team in 1957.
36. John Gordy
Offensive Guard. 1957, 1959-67 Detroit
One of the links between the Lions’ 1950’s championship era and the Joe Schmidt-coaching era, Gordy was one of the best offensive linemen of his time. He came to the Lions as a 6-foot-3, 248 pound second-round pick out of the University of Tennessee in 1957. He became an immediate starter as a rookie and helped the Lions claim their last World Championship that year. A contract dispute with the front office caused John to accept an assistant coaching post in 1958 at the University of Nebraska. The call of the NFL proved to be too strong however, and he returned to Detroit to resume his playing career a year later.
During the 1960’s, Gordy was part of some of the greatest Lion teams in history never to reach the postseason. During those years, the Lions were widely considered the best team not located in Green Bay. The Leos’ 1962 squad posted a record of 11-3, but had to settle for second place in the Western Division behind the 13-1 Packers. So while the Pack went to the NFL Championship Game, the Lions had to settle for a third-straight Playoff Bowl appearance in Miami. For those who don’t know, the Playoff Bowl was a consolation game set up by the league pitting the second place finishers from the NFL’s two divisions. It likely never provided any consolation for the Lions, being that they had to settle for the Playoff Bowl booby-prize for three-straight seasons behind Lombardi’s Packers.
Gordy was a strong, agile blocker, with a mean streak to match. He went to three-straight Pro Bowls after the 1963, ‘64, and ‘65 campaigns. In addition, he was named All-Pro in 1964, ‘66, and ‘67. A serious knee injury during the 1968 preseason would bring Gordy’s career to a halt. Up until that point, he had never missed a game during his entire career, playing in 134-straight contests through the 1967 season.