The 1971Detroit Lions season was their 42nd in the league. The team failed to improve on their previous season's output of 10-4, winning only seven games. Mired in adversity, the 1971 season turned especially tragic for the Lions and the NFL when, during their Week 6 hosting of the Chicago Bears, Lions wide receiver Chuck Hughes collapsed on the playing field. Unresponsive, Hughes was pronounced dead later that day of heart failure. Since 1971, no Detroit player has worn Hughes' #85 jersey save on special permission of the Hughes family.