The 1957 National Football League season resulted in a tie for the Western Conference championship between the Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers. Both finished at 8–4 and had split their two games during the regular season in November, with the home team winning each.

The tie thus required a one-game playoff to be held between the two teams. This conference championship game was played on December 22 at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco, and Detroit won, 31–27.[1]

The Lions moved on to host the Cleveland Browns on December 29 in the championship game, and won in a 59–14 rout at Briggs Stadium for their third title in six years.[2][3][4][5] Through 2020, it is Detroit's most recent league title, and second-most recent victory in a postseason game.

Tournament bracket

Western Conference playoff NFL Championship
E Cleveland Browns 14
W Detroit Lions 59
W San Francisco 49ers 27
W Detroit Lions 31

Western Conference championship

Detroit Lions 31, San Francisco 49ers 27
1 2 34Total
Lions 0 7 141031
49ers 14 10 3027

at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco

  • Date: December 22, 1957
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. PST
  • Game attendance: 60,118

The Lions trailed the 49ers 24–7 at halftime, and were down twenty points in the third quarter. Quarterback Bobby Layne had been lost for the season two weeks earlier,[6] and backup Tobin Rote lead the Lions' rally, scoring 24 unanswered points in the second half to win, 31–27.[1] The game was featured on NFL Top 10 as #2 on Top Ten Comebacks.[7] As of 2021, this is the last time the Lions have won a playoff game on the road.

NFL Championship game

Main article: 1957 NFL Championship Game


  1. ^ a b "Lions thrilling rally wins playoff, 31-27". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. p. 20.
  2. ^ Johnson, Chuck (December 30, 1957). "Rote's passes, play calling smash Cleveland, 59 to 14". Milwaukee Journal. p. 7, part 2.
  3. ^ Sell, Jack (December 30, 1957). "Lions crush Browns, 59 to 14, to win title". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 18.
  4. ^ Jones, Eddie T. (December 30, 1957). "Browns show off collapsing defense". Toledo Blade. (Ohio). p. 11.
  5. ^ Maule, Tex (January 6, 1958). "All hail the lusty Lions". Sports Illustrated. p. 8.
  6. ^ "Lions lose Layne but win, 20-7". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. December 9, 1957. p. 26.
  7. ^ "Top 10 greatest comebacks in NFL history". National Football League. 2009-01-07. Retrieved 2013-01-03.