Former Lions head coach Buddy Parker is a Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist

SideLion Report

A key figure in Detroit Lions history, Buddy Parker is a senior finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2023.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame had narrowed down to a list of candidates for election in the 2023 class from the Seniors Coach/Contributor categories. On the list, after being a finalist previously in 2021, is former Lions head coach Buddy Parker.

Parker was Lions’ head coach for six seasons (1951-1956), with a 47-23-2 regular season record, a 3-1 playoff record. He won NFL championships in 1952 and 1953, followed by a loss in the 1954 NFL Championship Game. That .671 winning percentage (regular season) is second-best in franchise history.

Via the Detroit Free Press, Parker shockingly resigned just before the 1957 season started, citing rowdy players and the organization’s leadership.

Sometime in every football coach’s career, there comes a time when he reaches a situation which he can’t handle. I’ve just arrived at that point. Tonight, I’m getting out of the Detroit Lions’ organization. I’ve had enough.”

The basic reason for my decision to quit is that I can’t handle this squad,” he said. “It is the worst team I’ve ever had from a standpoint of working on the firld, getting the job done and its actions off the field. …

Offensive coordinator George Wilson took over, and the Lions won their most recent championship in 1957. The franchise has won one playoff game since.

Former Lions coach Buddy Parker on loaded list of coaches among Senior Hall of Fame finalists

Parker also played for the Lions, spending the first two seasons of his career in Detroit and helping the team win its first championship in 1935. He spent the last seven seasons of his playing career with the Chicago Cardinals.

After resigning his post as Lions’ head coach, Parker went on to coach the Pittsburgh Steelers for eight seasons (1957-1964; 51-47-6 record). Counting one season (1949) as Chicago Cardinals’ head coach, he had a 104-75-9 record (.581 winning percentage).

Parker passed away in 1982 at the age of 68.

The list of Senior coach/contributor finalists will be narrowed to one by the appropriate committee on Aug. 23, and that lone candidate will be voted on by the main Hall of Fame committee of writers early in 2023 . Joining Parker among former coaches on that finalist list is Mike Holmgren, Mike Shanahan, Dan Reeves and Don Coryell.

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