| Briggs Stadium, Detroit|
1952 NFL Championship Game, 1953 NFL Championship Game, 1956 NFL Championship Game, 1932 NFL Playoff Game, 1950 NFL Championship Game
The 1957 National Football League championship game was the 25th annual championship game, held on December 29 at Briggs Stadium in Detroit, Michigan.
The Detroit Lions (8–4), winners of the Western Conference, hosted the Cleveland Browns (9–2–1), champions of the Eastern Conference. Detroit had won the regular season game 20–7 three weeks earlier on December 8, also at Briggs Stadium, but lost quarterback Bobby Layne with a broken right ankle late in the first half. Reserve quarterback Tobin Rote, a starter the previous year with Green Bay, filled in for Layne and won that game with Cleveland, the next week at Chicago, and the tiebreaker playoff game at San Francisco.
It was the fourth pairing of the two teams in the championship game; they met previously in 1952, 1953, and 1954. The Browns were favored by three points, but the home underdog Lions scored two touchdowns in each quarter and won in a rout, 59–14.
As of 2016, this was the last playoff game played in the city of Detroit other than Super Bowl XL in 2006. The Lions other two home playoff games since 1957 (1991 and 1993) were played at the Pontiac Silverdome in nearby Pontiac, Michigan.
1957 NFL Championship Game Wikipedia
Eleven individuals (including coaches and administration) who were involved in this game are members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Another Lions Hall-of-Famer, QB Bobby Layne, was injured and did not play in the game.
The home underdog Lions were without starting quarterback Layne due to a broken ankle three weeks earlier against the Browns. Backup quarterback Tobin Rote filled in admirably following Layne's injury, winning every game, including a 24-point rally in the tiebreaker playoff over the 49ers the previous week. In his eighth season, Rote threw four touchdown passes in the title game, completing 12 of 19 passes for 280 yards, and also ran for a touchdown. Browns quarterbacks Tommy O'Connell and Milt Plum, on the other hand hit on a combined total of 9 of 22 passes for 112 yards. Taking full advantage of a pass interception and a fumble, Detroit ran up a 17–0 lead in the first quarter. Rookie running back Jim Brown gave the Cleveland rooters some hope with a 29-yard touchdown run at the start of the second period.
Things went from bad to worse for the Browns, hampered by injuries to quarterbacks O'Connell and Plum. The Lions romped for 14 points in each of the last three quarters, and won by 45 points, 59–14.
Sunday, December 29, 1957First quarter
DET – FG Jim Martin, 31 yards, 3–0 DET
DET – Tobin Rote 1-yard run (Martin kick), 10–0 DET
DET – Gene Gedman 1-yard run (Martin kick), 17–0 DET
CLE – Jim Brown 29-yard run (Lou Groza kick), 17–7 DET
DET – Steve Junker 26-yard pass from Rote (Martin kick), 24–7 DET
DET – Terry Barr 19-yard interception (Martin kick), 31–7 DET
CLE – Lew Carpenter 5-yard run (Groza kick), 31–14 DET
DET – Jim Doran 78-yard pass from Rote (Martin kick), 38–14 DET
DET – Junker 23-yard pass from Rote (Martin kick), 45–14 DET
DET – Dave Middleton 32-yard pass from Rote (Martin kick), 52–14 DET
DET – Howard Cassady 17-yard pass from Jerry Reichow (Martin kick), 59–14 DET
Kickoff: 2:00 p.m. EST
The NFL had five game officials in 1957; the line judge was added in 1965 and the side judge in 1978.
The gross receipts for the game, including radio and television rights, were just under US$594,000, the highest to date. Each player on the winning Lions team received $4,295, while Browns players made $2,750 each.
The Lions have not appeared in an NFL championship game (including the Super Bowl) since this title 59 years ago; the closest was the 1991 team, which lost the NFC Championship Game 41–10 to the Washington Redskins, who went on to win Super Bowl XXVI.