On this edition of 100 Days, 100 Detroit Lions, we honor the best offensive guard in Lions’ history.
12. Dick Stanfel
Offensive Guard. 1952-55 Detroit; 1956-58 Washington Redskins
The Lions made the 6-foot-3, 236 Stanfel their second-round selection out of the University of San Francisco in 1951, where he was a college teammate of future Pro Football Hall of Famers Gino Marchetti, Bob St. Clair and Ollie Matson. Unfortunately, Dick injured his knee in during practice for the College All-Star Game, and missed the entire 1951 season. When Stanfel reported to the Lions for the start of the 1952 season, he was primed to join a team on the cusp of its first championship in 17 years. Stanfel moved immediately into a Lion offensive line that included future Hall of Fame tackle Lou Creekmur, and former all-pro center Vince Banonis.
The Lions would win back-to-back titles over the Cleveland Browns in 1952 and 1953. They would miss out on a third-straight title with a defeat at the hands of the Browns in 1954. Through it all Stanfel was a rock, earning team MVP honors in 1953 and a Pro Bowl nod in 1954, despite missing half of the ‘54 season with an injury.
Dick was quick-footed and tall for his position, which made him a great pass protector. In addition to those attributes, his speed made him a powerful force in coach Buddy Parker’s “bread and butter” running game. Parker loved to use his guards as interference on sweeps, as well as on quick-hitting inside trap and counter plays. Stanfel and his fellow lineman Harley Sewell were the textbook guards Parker used to fuel the Lions’ running attack.
Unfortunately, injury problems for Stanfel in 1955 would sour the demanding Parker on his star guard, causing the coach to trade him to the Washington Redskins in 1956. Ironically, Dick would only miss two games in his three Washington seasons, earning three-straight Pro Bowl trips in the process.
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