A couple weeks back I started a thread about my brother's invitation to go to a Lions game when I went to see him and his wife this past weekend. Long story short, we went.
One thing I didn't mention in the earlier thread is that I actually own a Lions jersey, as pictured here:
Now you're probably wondering why in the hell a diehard Patriots fan would own a Lions jersey. The answer is I love that black-and-blue look, and I also think it looks good on me. So I bought the one pictured a couple years back at a clearance sale on their online pro shop. (The player was Charles Johnson, a Michigan State receiver drafted high by Matt Millen who turned out to be an enormous bust.)
Anyway, actually going to a Lions game would be the most righteous time to wear this thing, right? So I wore it, BUT...
underneath it I wore my one of my long-sleeve Patriots tee-shirts (which is blue anyway so the Lions fans were none the wiser!
As for the game itself, it was fun to do once, but I don't think we'll do it again next year, or even when the Pats play there in 2010 (provided my bro is still living there at that point anyway.) Ford Field is interesting because it's RIGHT downtown in Detroit. In some ways it seemed crazy that they crammed this big-arse NFL stadium into such a small space. It makes for interesting tailgating since everybody's crammed into these small public parking lots.
As we were walking to the stadium, we walked past one group of tailgaters just as one of them said, "All right, let's go and watch these losing-***** Lions."
Not only is it jarring to have this huge stadium crammed into the downtown area, but it's also a bit of a juxtaposition to have such a fancy new facility dedicated to such a pitiful football team. There was one play in particular where the Jags' QB (can't remember if it was Gerrard or Cleo Lemon at that point) overthrew his receiver and there were a couple Lions defenders who probably could have intercepted the ball if they really wanted to, but (obviously) they didn't.
The fans at Ford are a long-suffering lot. I have to wonder how many of them were regulars and how many were there just because the tickets are cheap and plentiful (like we were.) The stadium was still pretty full, though the high-priced club seats in the second-level were largely empty. Ironically, my brother had only bought two tickets but at the last minute my sister-in-law decided to go with us, so we went up to the ticket window at the stadium and bought another ticket from the next section but just had her sit by us. Whoever had the ticket for the seat she actually sat in never showed.
I haven't heard that much booing from the home team's fans since I was at the Pats-Colts game in Indy in 2001. Sometime during the second half, some people in the lower level on the other side of the stadium unfurled a banner proclaiming (and I am NOT making this up): "BOYCOTT THE LIONS!" A little while later I looked back over there and saw them being escorted out by stadium staff.
Another ironic thing is that for all the fuss they made about getting Daunte Culpepper, he wasn't on the field for either of the Lions' two touchdowns. Those came on plays by second-year QB (and Michigan State alum) Drew Stanton.
One fun thing about the game was that at halftime the Lions presented the members of their 75th Anniversary team, so I got to see a bunch of legendary NFL players, including Barry Sanders (who I saw play for them back in '98).
Over all, I have to say that it was probably the least spirited regular-season NFL game I've ever been at. But then Lions fans don't have a lot to be spirited about, and I give them credit for sticking it out.