Sports Illustrated just put together a photo gallery of their picks for the best NFL player by jersey number, going from 00 to 99. For some numbers, SI makes tough calls. (Is Tom Brady really the best No. 12?) With others, it's a no-brainer. (Who else but Johnny Unitas is the best No. 19?) Either way, it's fertile ground for some great football discussion and provides a chance to look at some of SI's beautiful photos.
And believe it or not, the Detroit Lions have a presence on the list. SI picked a handful of Honolulu Blue-clad gladiators as the best to wear a particular jersey number.
Perhaps the best choice is Barry Sanders for No. 20. (Though even locally, some Lions fans might speak up for Lem Barney or Billy Sims.) I'm a little disappointed SI opted for Brett Favre for No. 4 over Jason Hanson, but I'm sure that spurred a long discussion in the SI offices.
Check out which other Lions (including one on the current roster) made the cut after the jump.
No. 71, Alex Karras: Maybe this is the best all-time Lions pick, over Sanders. The photo is memorable too, with Karras lurching toward the quarterback.
No. 98, Julian Peterson: Peterson was likely chosen for what he did in a 49ers uniform, but he's a Lion now. And the photo SI used for him is fantastic. Looks like a human missile.
Here are numbers 00-49 and 50-99. A few other Lions missed out on some close calls. Emmitt Smith was the pick for No. 22 over Bobby Layne. And Troy Vincent got No. 23 instead of Mel Gray. But several other Lions warranted consideration throughout the list.