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HOF Artifact of the Week

HOF Artifact of the Week

01/18/2019
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This week's featured artifact is the game-used jersey of former Detroit Lions quarterback Eric Hipple. Hipple had the inevitable task of making his first NFL start for the struggling 2-4 Detroit Lions against the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football on Oct. 19, 1981. He was only in his second year and forced into the lineup after Detroit Lions' veteran quarterback Gary Danielson went down with an injury the previous week.

Hipple’s debut would go down in Lions and Monday Night Football lore as he lit up the rival Bears in the Pontiac Silverdome. He threw for 336 yards and accounted for six touchdowns (four through the air and two on the ground) in a 48-17 victory. It was the most points scored by the Lions since their 59-14 victory over the Cleveland Browns in the 1957 NFL Championship Game. One of his touchdown passes went for a then Monday Night Football record of 94 yards, to wide receiver Leonard Thompson.

Hipple helped rally the Lions to an 8-8 finish that season. He would later lead the Lions to the NFC Central Division title in 1983. The hope of Lions fans was that Eric Hipple and Pro Bowl running back Billy Sims could combine to make the team a contender, but injuries to both players prevented them from playing longer. Hipple retired after the 1989 season.

Our weekly artifacts and other unique items are featured daily in our docent presentations for visitors of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Plan your visit to the Hall to learn more about the collection in our archives.

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