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Retired Numbers


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I lived in Vancouver in the late 90's and saw the retired number 11 taken down, given a dry clean and handed to Mark Messier.

I've just been looking on the NFL's history page at the names of players I've never heard of.

Now, I am not from America, let alone Detroit, but does anyone know

Dutch Clark 7 ,Bobby Layne 22, Doak Walker 37, Joe Schmidt 56, Chuck Hughes 85

And, my real point in this thread. What does it take to un-retire one of these numbers?

What if a seriously good receiver, who wear 85 goes to Detroit in Free Angency.

Or a Quarterback who prefers 7.

Would there be justification for using the number then?

My opinion.

Unless it's 16 in San Francisco one of the greatest players ever, or honouring a deceased player, like 77 in Minnesota, then they should just hand the numbers out. All the while reminding the player of the history associated with the number.

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Not to side track but Ive heard of Layne and Walker.

Here is a bio from the Hall of Fame about Layne.

Bobby Layne, during his 15 pro football seasons, was a free-spirited All-NFL caliber quarterback who did well statistically but was exceptional in the intangibles ? leadership, determination, competitiveness, and guts.

Layne left pro football with a legend that may never be exactly duplicated. Bobby's story deals with sterling accomplishments on the field but also with his penchant for enjoying every moment off the field, even if that meant on occasion a big night on the town just hours before a crucial game. While it?s likely some of Layne's off-the-field activities have been exaggerated, there is no question he did not always subscribe to the general rules of team behavior.

So it may be that Layne's pro football success hinged on the relationship he developed with a wise and understanding coach, Raymond "Buddy" Parker, who understood what made Bobby tick. The two combined their talents to produce the most successful years in Detroit Lions history.

The Lions won divisional crowns in 1952, 1953, and 1954, and NFL titles in 1952 and 1953. In both title game victories, Layne and the Lions defeated the Cleveland Browns. In the 1953 game Bobby enjoyed his greatest and certainly most famous afternoon. The Browns held a 16-10 advantage with 4:10 left to play. Layne coolly directed the team on an 80-yard touchdown drive that combined with Doak Walker?s extra point kick, gave the Lions a 17-16 win.

In 1957, Parker left the Lions to coach the Pittsburgh Steelers. Layne and the Lions won the NFL championship that season. One year later, Layne joined Parker in Pittsburgh through a trade. The Parker-Layne duo provided the Steelers with some of their finest seasons up to that time. Bobby Layne was a never-say-die competitor. His longtime friend and fellow Hall of Famer Doak Walker once said admiringly of his teammate: "Bobby never lost a game. Some days, time just ran out on him."

Sounds alot like Montana on the field to me. Funny thing about Pro football here in the states, alot of what happened in the pre Super Bowl era tends to get overlooked.

Back on topic, to me a number should never be unretired unless the player for whom it is retired for offers it to someone. The team shouldnt ask the player, the player should be the one to initiate it. Then and only then would I be okay with it.

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I think it would take someone like Michael Jordan or Wayne Gretzky who dominates his era to unretire a number.

There's just one thing here, guys. Assuming its not a Jerry Rice in Seattle-like situation, the number's not going to be given to the guy (like, for example, a rookie) anyway. So he makes his own mark.

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I support the notion of a ring of honor, but I am against retiring numbers in general. My attitude it the league is immortal and we already have some teams running out of certain types of numbers. Obviously this is more of a problem in the NFL then the other sports.

The worst situation is when a number is retired as a PR gimmick, like a number retired for the fans. Lame.

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The worst situation is when a number is retired as a PR gimmick, like a number retired for the fans. Lame.

Precisely. It's something for new teams with empty rafters to give themselves some history.

I like retired numbers, but for the right reasons. To immortalize the dead is a nice tribute, even if the player likely wouldn't merit having the number retired had he played a full career. And reserving the honor for exceptional players is nice. But if you're going to retire it, keep it retired. The Jerry Rice thing in Seattle was nonsense. The team basically threw away a tribute to its greatest player to date as part of a recruiting pitch to a fading superstar. Nice show of intergrity! :mad:

The Ring of Honor is a better idea, though. You can pay tribute to all-time legends without taking a number out of circulation for good.

Other teams do similar things. UNC basketball has strict criteria for "honored" and "retired" jerseys. As such, the Smith Center rafters have 3 or 4 rows of "honored" jerseys for great players in history, but only 6 numbers that will never be worn again - and those were for achieving certain success in college.

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Schmidt actually "unretired" his #56 when the Lions signed Pat Swilling a few years ago. Swilling had a couple of unproductive years in Detroit and when he left, "56" was retired again. In this case, the Lions went to Schmidt and he allowed Swilling to use the number. The closest parallel I can think of is Steve Largent allowing Jerry Rice to wear his retired #80 with the Seahawks.

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I'm sorry, but Mark Messier is SO far better than Wayne Maki that you go out of your way to reward the accomplishments that Mark has done for the game.

And not to downgrade Maki's accomplishments, but most of them weren't done with the Canucks. And the main reason why his number was retired was due to his declining health and death while as a Canuck. I mean, really, who gets a retired number with career numbers of:

246 games played, 57 goals, 79 assists, 136 points, and 184PIM.

Retired numbers are retired for a reason, and it requires something more special than the reward to unretire them. Messier was clearly one of those times since no one is ever going to buy a Messier jersey with any other number on the back. 11 is his identity so why rob him of it? But, like I said, Messier was a special reason and not the case of every team in the NHL or pro sports.

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If you "retire" numbers, eventually you won't have enough to outfit your players. I like hanging up the honor banners. You remember them, but players can still wear them.

That should never really be the case if you actually value the tradition and ceremony behind the notion. If you just go ahead and ultimately retire numbers 00-99 then not only are you rewarding the people who deserved to have those numbers retired, but every other average joe that put the number on before hand.

Show of hands of NFL teams thats going to retire OJ's number these days?

Link Gaetz?

I know, how about Pete Rose?

Lawrence Phillips?

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i think Carlton over here in the AFL retire all premiership players guernseys for a year after they retire, that seems a nice way of honorign premiership players...but they wont win won until St Kilda win a second (or third if that happens this year!)....anyway, unless they are real legends of the game like Andrew Gaze (his #10 singlet is retired by the Tigers but he was the best basketballer in Australia ever)....some players deserve to have their number retired eg Robert Harvey of the Saints in the AFL, the Saints have made a tradition over the past few years whereby retiring legends of the club hand there number over to a young up-and-coming star player......what happens if one day #'s 1 - 99 are all retired, what are the players going to wear that fits on the back of their shirts?

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I wanna see players waering triple digit #s. Do you know how well a Terrell Owens #181 jersey would sell? :P

a guy wore #101 in a state Aussie Rules league (SANFL or WAFL)....he said he wouldn't sign unless he could have #101 so they gave him #101...dont know how well itd fit on the back of the guernseys

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What about "unofficial' retired numbers, such as Pittsburgh's 12 and 32? Anyone remember the last time these numbers were seen on the field? They've given out 82, 86, 88, and 20 so why not 12 and 32?

If the number isn't "officially" retired, why hold it back?

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I think it would take someone like Michael Jordan or Wayne Gretzky who dominates his era to unretire a number.

There's just one thing here, guys. Assuming its not a Jerry Rice in Seattle-like situation, the number's not going to be given to the guy (like, for example, a rookie) anyway. So he makes his own mark.

I have tried to move past this....

Jerry Rice is great and all.... but that was a real kick in the nuts to all Seahawks fans everywhere.

Steve Largent is the only HOFer the Seahawks have ever seen and will know for a while (although Alexander and Walter Jones should get in in the future) and to just unretire his # for some publicity was just wrong.

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Joe Schmidt was maybe the best linebacker in Lions history..I think he was probably the GM when he "unretired" his number..

Doak Walker was a Heisman trophy winner and a great running back..

Bobby Layne was a great QB..The Lions don't have a great postseason tradition but these were cornerstone players in the 50's (Schmidt in the 60's)..

Think Bart Starr , Ray Nitzchke and Paul Hornug as counterparts on a better team..

I think numbers will stay retired until teams run out of double digits...Even for the Packers, Steelers and Yankees that will take awhile

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What about "unofficial' retired numbers, such as Pittsburgh's 12 and 32? Anyone remember the last time these numbers were seen on the field? They've given out 82, 86, 88, and 20 so why not 12 and 32?

If the number isn't "officially" retired, why hold it back?

The case you cite is a little unique though, in that Wide Receivers are restricted to 80-89 and, with league permission, numbers in the teens. By contrast, backs (QB, RB, etc.) can utilize any number between 1-49, leaving a lot more "wiggle room" for such things.

I like the Ring of Honor concept better for pro teams myself, not because retiring numbers could cause problems down the road, but so teams can really honor those players by putting areas in their stadia chronicling their achievements - a sort of team-specific HOF, if you will.

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