While there are many memories bandied about of great times and great games in the Silverdome, seldom do you hear a tale start with “I was at Ford Field when…” Today, the panel takes their own trips down memory lane at Ford Field… We would also like to welcome newest member Zac, new lead blogger over at The Sidelion Report. Have a question or topic you would like to see discussed by the panel? Email email@example.com
Tom D. : It seems like Ford Field is such a great stadium, that if the Lions started winning fans could really make that place rock and give the team some true home field advantage. What are your favorite Ford Field memories??
Al: Don’t have a one.
OK, maybe the comeback against the Browns, with Matt Stafford showing he has balls bigger than Joey Blue Skies’ piano. But remember, it was game between a pair of 1-8 teams, with a stadium that was maybe half full…if you counted the teams on the field and Roary, the Lions’ mascot. I had to watch the game on a pirated web feed, as it was blacked out in Detroit. As great and memorable a game it was, no one was there to see it! So Ford Field has yet to generate the sort of memories the Silverdome and Tigers Stadium did for generations of Lions fans.
I have all kinds of mad love for the Silverdome, which was a GREAT place to watch a football game. The Silverdome had a Mad Max Thunderdome feel to the place. It was rowdy, smelled of beer and smoke, and the Lions usually played well. I’ve never been in a louder facility than a sold-out Silverdome during a Lions victory. NEVER.
Ford Field is a far more civilized place, you could even call it genteel. Which is mostly due to the fact the place has been 3/4 empty the past few seasons. The Lions need to win at home more than once in a blue moon before I can truly begin to think fondly of what really is a gem of a stadium…stuck with a cubic zirconia of a team.
Give it time, Tom. The Schwartz may finally generate those Ford Field memories we all want.
Phil: Absolutely true on the home field advantage. We heard how loud the Silverdome would get when Barry was running wild. Lions fans are DYING for something to cheer about.
Unfortunately, favorite Ford Field moments are scarce, thanks to an NFL-record stretch of futility. But that said, there’s no question last season’s comeback win against Cleveland takes the top spot. It’s simply no competition, even considering the fact that it was a meeting of two 1-8 teams. The way Detroit fell behind so much, so early. The fact that their hope for the future, No. 1 pick Matthew Stafford drove them down the field with time winding down…got absolutely crushed, then threw the game-tying touchdown? Can’t beat it. Then you throw in the fact that he was wearing a microphone for NFL Networks, and it’s gold,
Zac: I believe your thoughts about a full Ford Field are right on, Tom. During a Lions game last year I took a moment to look around and ponder a potential Big Ten championship game at Ford Field and got goosebumps imagining the atmosphere a couple college marching bands and conference title hopes could bring.
I have been to my fair share of Lions games since Ford Field opened but the truth is that none of them have been all that memorable. I always (ok, almost always) have a good time but witnessing Daunte Culpepper’s first game as a Lion isn’t anything to brag about.
Fortunately, the question leaves me some wiggle room. My favorite Ford Field memory is the 2005 MHSAA Division 1 Championship game between Canton and Rockford. As a 2002 graduate of Canton High School it was a proud moment for me to see my alma mater reach their first ever state final. On top of that, my brother-in-law was a member of that team to give the experience some extra personal appeal. Watching the state championship games on TV had long been a family tradition each Thanksgiving weekend but the chance to see my school in that game in person was very cool, even though Rockford ended up beating Canton.
Ty: Well, of course, there’s the most recent event, the Ford Field draft party. Besides being a giant celebration of Ndamukong Suh, I got to attempt a field goal, go into the locker rooms, etc. I chronicled it all here in great detail: http://www.thelionsinwinter.com/2010/04/suh-at-number-two-jahvid-best-and-all.html .
I tried to think of an in-game memory, and unfortunately I had to go back to the 2003 pre-season game against the Steelers. Sitting a couple yards deep into the end zone, just few rows up, my buddy and I witnessed the Lions beat the Steelers, 26-13. The best part was a beautiful 13-yard touchdown pass from Joey Harrington to Scotty Anderson, a corner fade that was perfectly executed by both players.
The best part was that it happened just feet from where we were sitting! Scotty hauled it in, in bounds, and stumbled toward the wall. I’d brought a ball and Sharpie, so I ran to the rail and yelled for Scotty to sign it as part of the celebration, Terrell Owens style. He didn’t–I couldn’t even hear myself yelling over the rest of the crowd–but seeing a Lions TD reception at that range that something I’ll never forget.”
After the game, my buddy and I went out the main exit, and suddenly he elbowed me in the ribs. “That’s Charlie Batch.”
“That. Right there. That guy. It’s Charlie Batch.”
Sure enough, standing on the Brush street curb, cell phone in hand, rolly luggage behind him, just waiting for his ride, was the recent Lion/new Steeler. I died a thousand tiny deaths as I re-lived my morning decision to not wear my home Batch #10 replica (some of the decals were peeling). Since nobody else seemed to recognize the man who’d been the hope of the franchise just a year before, we approached him. He was the epitome of class and cool.
I came away filled with optimism about the Lions’ new direction, but depressed anew that Batch hadn’t become the player we all thought he would. I couldn’t have guessed that Scotty Anderson would never catch another touchdown in Ford Field. I certainly wouldn’t have guessed that Harrington would go through three more teams and be out of football by now–while Charlie Batch is still a Steeler.
Blades: I’m glad you asked because I’ve been to over 25 Lions games in the life and have been to over 400 sporting events and this is by far, one of the best things I’ve ever seen.
The date was December 28, 2003 and the Lions were playing the powerhouse St. Louis Rams. This was when the Rams were the best team in the NFL and it was the last game of season. They were 12-3 at the time and needed to win to clinch the division and the Lions were, well, the Lions. It was supposed to be a blow out for the Rams and it was looking that way until the third quarter when I saw something I’ll never forget. Otis Smith (ya, that’s right, I said Otis Smith) who was a journeyman corner, came in on a 3rd and 7 and laid the biggest hit I’ve ever seen in a football game. He came in on Bulger’s back side and literally destroyed him. Like I said, I’ve seen a lot of hits but nothing comes close to this. The ball went flying in the air and the Lions recovered and never looked back.
Ford Field was absolutely electric and I’ve never heard the place so loud in my life. (this includes the Browns game from this past year) People were standing from the second quarter on and not a single person left. The crowd was defeaning. Let me add the Lions were down 20-10 and scored 20 consecutive points and shocked the Rams. Bulger was knocked out of the game and the Rams lost in the first round of the playoffs. It was, in one word, awsome!!!!! Az Hakim, Bill “the thrill” Schroeder and my boy Casey Fitz scored the TD’s and if anyone else was at that game, I promise you it would have to be their favorite memory of Ford Field as well.
(I’d like to add I’ve been to the NCAA Finals, Final Four, concerts and Lions game at Ford Field and this is still my favourite memory) I’ve added a link to the boxscore of the game as well and if anyone can find that highlight, it’s worth it.
Thanks for the question!!!
DetFan1979: For me it would have to be last year’s game against Arizona. Despite the fact that the Lions lost, there were some definite thrills to that game, and definite hints of potential. To begin with, it seemed as though the game was going to be a typical blowout as the Lions fell behind and didn’t have Stafford or Pettigrew on the field (both were on IR already). While it was exciting to see the Cardinals offense led by Kurt Warner to Larry Fitzgerald (including one heck of a one handed sideline TD catch) score, it was sad how empty Ford Field felt. Then the tide started to turn with the huge INT TD return by Delmas and Stanton coming into the game and Mo Morris breaking a long TD run. The whole stadium was going nuts, and the fans were on their feet, just roaring. Despite being less than half full, the place was developing a bit of a roar.
This was even more memorable as it was my brother’s first Pro-game, and our first game together. He is a WMU and MSU alum (BA, and Doctoral, respectively) so it was especially thrilling for him to see Stanton come in, and see Delmas take one to the house. He isn’t usually a sports nut like me, and even he was on his feet cheering!
Despite the loss, the experience gave real hints at what passionate fans the Lions have — fill that house and put a competitive team on the field, and the home-town ROAR of the Silverdome years will be back and badder than ever. Schwartz and Mayhew have the team headed in the right direction to create more memories — hopefully memories of comeback wins, instead of comeback almost-wins.
Thank you once again everyone for stopping by the Lions Congregation!! Just 5 weeks to the first preseason games and 3 weeks to camp!! Remember, if you have a topic you’d like to see the panel take up, firstname.lastname@example.org