The 1980Detroit Lions season was the 51st season in franchise history. As the result of their 2–14 1979 season, the Lions were able to select Heisman Trophy-winning Oklahoma Sooner halfback Billy Sims with the first pick in the NFL draft. In his rookie season, Sims rushed his way to the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award while carrying the Lions back to respectability. After winning their first four games, the Lions stumbled down the stretch including costly 1-point losses to the Colts and lowly Cardinals. While they vastly improved overall, finishing 9–7, the Lions narrowly lost the NFC Central Division title to the Minnesota Vikings by virtue of a conference record tiebreaker. The Lions won nine NFC games to the Vikings’ eight, but Minnesota had a better winning percentage in the conference. The Lions’ 1979 fifth place finish meant they played two extra NFC games, resulting in five conference losses to the Vikings' four losses.