October 10th, 2012 at 11:46 AM ^

My Dad came of age during Karras time with the Lions. Karras, Joe Schmidt, Wayne Walker, Lem Barney, Dick Labeau... that was a damn good defense. If not for Lombardi's Packers these Lions may well have made it to a Super Bowl.


October 10th, 2012 at 1:55 PM ^

By the time the Super Bowl was created after the 1966 season the Lions were already starting to decline, but it is true that in the early 60s it was the Packers that stood between the Lions and the NFL championship game; the Lions finished second in the Western Conference three straight seasons.

As Tater mentions, the "Thanksgiving Day Massacre" in '62 was an iconic game for the Lions franchise. It's one of the few notable Lion victories over elite teams in the last 50 years.


October 10th, 2012 at 11:48 AM ^

Very sad to hear. Thoughts and condolences to his family.

Some of his football achievements -

- Four-time Pro Bowl selection

- 1960s All-Decade Team

- 1957 Outland Trophy Winner

- Two-time All-Big Ten

- Consensus All-American at Iowa

He was a great player, and he made the transition to an entertainment career after the NFL not only smoothly but he made it memorable in several roles in TV and film, even having been considered for a role in "The Godfather" at one point thanks mainly to his notable performance (as himself, of course)  in the film adaptation of "Paper Lion".

Rest in peace, Alex "The Mad Duck" Karras. You will certainly be missed.



October 10th, 2012 at 11:50 AM ^

Those who weren't around back then have no idea how much Alex Karras meant to the Detroit area.  The Lions were just starting to transition from being THE dominant football team in the NFL to fifty years of WCF, but apparently, nobody told Karras.  

Before LA hijacked the name, Karras was part of the original "Fearsome Foursome."  The 1962 Thanksgiving game against the Packers, in which the Lions sacked Bart Starr eleven times, is possibly the most iconic game in the history of the Lions' franchise.  

It was no accident that Karras had a very good career after football was over.  He had a combination of talent and charisma that almost demanded success.  

RIP, Mr Karras.  


October 10th, 2012 at 11:55 AM ^

As a little kid in the 80's, my main memory of him is as George Papadopoulos on 'Webster' (basically a ripoff of Different Strokes but I loved the show). 

I wish there was some Lions footage out there of his playing days.  

RIP, Alex. 

True Blue Grit

October 10th, 2012 at 1:11 PM ^

I can say Alex Karras was an absolute icon in the Michigan sports world, and was loved off the field as well.  He was a major part of the glory days of the Lions before The Dark Years.  RIP Mongo.