American Football Database
1963 Detroit Lions season
Head Coach George Wilson
Home Field Tiger Stadium
Record 5–8–1
Place 4th NFL Western
Playoff Finish did not qualify
Previous season Next season
1962 1964

The 1963 Detroit Lions season was their 30th season in Detroit and their 34th season overall. NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle indefinitely suspended Lions Defensive Tackle Alex Karras along with Packers Halfback Paul Hornung for placing bets on NFL teams. Five other Lions players were fined $2000 each for betting on games that they did not play in. The Lions franchise was fined $2000 each on two counts for failure to report information promptly and for lack of sideline supervision.[1] The gambling controversy proved to be a big distraction on the field as well, as the Lions could not build on the success of the previous season, finishing 5–8–1.


NFL Draft

Round Pick Player Position School
1 12 Daryl Sanders Offensive Tackle Ohio State



Paper Lion

Paper Lion, published in 1966, is a non-fiction book by prominent American writer George Plimpton. Plimpton pitched to a lineup of baseball stars in an All-Star exhibition, presumably to answer the question, "How would the average man off of the street fare in an attempt to compete with the stars of professional sports?" He chronicled this experience in his book, Out of My League. In Paper Lion, Plimpton joins the training camp of the 1963 Detroit Lions on the premise of trying out to be the team's third-string quarterback. (The coaches were aware of the deception; the players were not until it became apparent that Plimpton did not really know how to receive the snap from center.) Plimpton, then thirty-six, showed how unlikely it would be for an "average" person to succeed as a professional athlete. When finally inserted at quarterback for a series in a scrimmage conducted in Pontiac, Michigan, Plimpton managed to lose yardage on each play, convincing many in the crowd that he was a professional sports clown inserted for amusement purposes, not someone who was genuinely giving his best effort.

Regular season


Week Date Opponent Result Attendance
1 September 14, 1963 at Los Angeles Rams W 23–2
2 September 22, 1963 at Green Bay Packers L 31–10
3 September 29, 1963 Chicago Bears L 37–21
4 October 6, 1963 San Francisco 49ers W 26–3
5 October 13, 1963 at Dallas Cowboys L 17–14
6 October 20, 1963 Baltimore Colts L 25–21
7 October 27, 1963 Minnesota Vikings W 28–10
8 November 3, 1963 at San Francisco 49ers W 45–7
9 November 10, 1963 at Baltimore Colts L 24–21
10 November 17, 1963 Los Angeles Rams L 28–21
11 November 24, 1963 at Minnesota Vikings L 34–31
12 November 28, 1963 Green Bay Packers T 13–13
13 December 8, 1963 Cleveland Browns W 38–10
14 December 15, 1963 at Chicago Bears L 24–14

Game summaries

Week 1

by Quarter 1 2 3 4 Total
• Lions 10 10 0 3 23
Rams 0 0 2 0 2



Template:1963 NFL Western standings


Detroit Lions roster

Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Tight Ends

Offensive Linemen

Defensive Linemen


Defensive Backs

Special Teams

Reserve Lists
  • Currently vacant

Rookies in italics

Awards and honors

Notes and references

  1. NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York,NY, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p.282
  2. NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York,NY, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p. 395
  3. Retrieved 2015-May-22.
Eastern Conference Western Conference
Cleveland Baltimore
Dallas Chicago
NY Giants Detroit
Philadelphia Green Bay
Pittsburgh Los Angeles
St. Louis Minnesota
Washington San Francisco
1963 NFL DraftNFL ChampionshipPro Bowl
Related: 1963 AFL Season