Jack Christiansen



Assistant coach

  • 5 × Pro Bowl selection (1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957)
  • 6 × All-Pro selection (1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957)
  • NFL 1950s All- Decade Team
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame (1970 )
  • Michigan Sports Hall of Fame (1986 )
  • 3 × NFL Champion (1952, 1953, 1957)
  • Detroit Lions Legends

John LeRoy "Jack" Christiansen ( born December 20, 1928, in Sublette, Kansas, USA, † June 29, 1986 in Stanford, California ) was an US- American football player and coach. He played as a safety in the National Football League ( NFL) with the Detroit Lions.


Jack Christiansen had a difficult youth. He grew up in a children's home in Canon City, Colorado. In high school he played basketball, football, and was active as a sprinter in athletics. In his senior year in high school, he moved in an accident with a firearm a serious injury to his arm, which restricted his mobility throughout life. This, and the fact that he thought he was too small for the football sport, meant that he as a football player first ended his activities.

Playing career

College career

John Christiansen studied at Colorado State University. As in high school he was active as a sprinter in track and field team his college. Only as a sophomore, he joined the football team. Christiansen played position on the Safety. In his first game he came as a starter in the defense of his team to use. His speed made ​​him a dominant defender. He should be the starter of his team until the end of his studies. His achievements were the scouts of the NFL pay attention to him.

Professional career

In 1951 Jack Christiansen of the Detroit Lions was drafted in the sixth round of 69 place. Several subsequent members in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as Bobby Layne, Lou Creekmur, Yale Lary or Doak Walker were already on the team the Lions were added or committed. The team from Detroit developed into a top team. In 1952 Christiansen move his team for the first time in the play -offs and in the NFL championship game. In the NFL playoff the Cleveland Browns were defeated with 17:7. The following year, the Lions were able to defend their title and won the NFL playoff again against the Browns with 17:16. In 1957, Christiansen won his third championship. Once again, the Browns were the final opponents and turn them were beaten by the Lions. This time they lost significantly with 59:14.

Christiansen not only won three championships, he also numerous individual NFL Jahresbestleistungen on. In 1953 he was able to intercept 12 passes of the opposing quarterbacks and thus achieve a space gain of 238 yards. 1957 get him 10 interceptions. Also known as Punt Returner Christiansen made ​​a name and scored in his rookie year as a returner four touchdowns. Christiansen was the leader of the Defensive Back Fields of Lions and feared by the enemy attack players. Mac Speedie, wide receiver of the Cleveland Browns, admitted after the retirement of Christiansen that his team was instructed to throw the ball in any case in the direction of Christiansen. The risk that the pass is intercepted by him, kept the coach too high.

After the 1958 season, Jack Christiansen ended his playing career.

Coaching career

Jack Christiansen career as coach was not very successful. In the years 1963-1967 he coached the San Francisco 49ers. His team was only able to win 26 of 67 games. From 1972 to 1976 he was head coach at Stanford University. As an assistant coach, he was then employed by the Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks and the Atlanta Falcons. A title win him no longer able. In 1986, Christiansen died of cancer.


Jack Christiansen played five times in the Pro Bowl, the final game of the best players of the season. He was six times elected to the All- Pro. Christiansen is a member of the NFL 1950s All- Decade Team, since 1970 in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Six weeks before his death, he was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame.