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Joe Schmidt, the Lions’ defensive quarterback and football’s first great middle linebacker, is ranked No. 65 on the NFL 100.

The Athletics’ initiative to select the 100 greatest players in football history is known as the NFL 100.
We’ll reveal new members of the list every day until the season starts, starting with the No.
On Wednesday, September 1st, one player will be crowned.
8.In the spring of 1956, football — at least the defensive middle of it — was irrevocably transformed.
That was the year the Detroit Lions made a complicated four-team deal focused on coach Buddy Parker’s desire to acquire an athletic defensive tackle. Parker was in his sixth season as Lions coach, and had already won two NFL titles.
Even in the 1950s, though, football success was a hardship.
After a terrible three-win season, a once-dominant offense was suddenly muted in 1955, and a promising defense led by 24-year-old outside linebacker Joe Schmidt sorely needed a fresh coat of paint.The deal essentially boiled down to the Lions shipping offensive lineman Dick Stanfel out of town to make place for experienced defensive tackle Ray Krouse of the New York Giants.
Parker had his heart set on Krouse, a 260-pound interior defensive lineman noted for his speed and agility.
Krouse was the final piece of the puzzle in that deal.
Schmidt, the guy who would become renowned as football’s first genuinely exceptional middle linebacker, was the final stage in the strategy. “Schmidt’s mobility eased some of the pressure off the defensive backs on pass coverage,” Parker would explain to the Detroit Free Press years later, before getting right to the point.
“In reality, his style of play was responsible for the development of the zone defense, revolving defenses, and (the) modern defensive look in professional football.