The packed house and huge home field advantage that was Ford Field were beyond importance as the Lions trounced the Chargers giving the Lions their first playoff berth in over a decade. The loyalty of the fans of the Detroit Lions is nothing short of astounding. Remember looking at the news stories every week of a home game, trying to see if you would be watching the game on TV or some shaky internet feed? (for those of us in the blackout zone)
Even in the 0-16 season, there were still games that sold out Ford Field. The average attendance still topped 45,000. During an 0-16 season!! Winless! -- And despite not having a winning record since Bill Clinton was playing the blues on his sax and chasing interns around the white house.
As the Lions kept showing improvement over the last 3 years, tickets went from easy and cheap, to easy to get, to you could get them early in the season, but you were going to pay more than you were used to as a playoff run became more and more apparent. I'm sure no matter how they do, next season is going to be a surefire sellout of the home games.
Imagine my shock and downright stunned surprise when I read that the Bengals are having trouble getting fans to show up to their games. During a push for the playoffs where if they win their final home game against a struggling Baltimore team they are in!
The attendance as they played a meaningful game to eliminate Arizona? Just over 41,000. More Lions Fans showed up to see if the team could avoid infamy (or be part of it) for the final meaningless games of 2008. Bengals fans, that is just plain pathetic.
The article blames 20 years of mediocre play and no postseason wins since 1990. At least they have been to the postseason AT ALL since the Millennium changed and years start with "20" instead of "19"! They had a few years where Carson Palmer was on fire and tossing long bombs to Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson and TJ Howeverthehellyaspellit. Lions fans had Matt Millen that whole time. At least the Bengals got a couple high draft picks for Palmer - and a young quarterback with potential (Andy Dalton) to replace him. Lions fans got Barry retiring and being replaced by guys like Sedrick Irvin.
I'm ecstatic the Lions are in the playoffs - but even if they were in a situation like the Bengals are I have NO DOUBT that the house would be sold out and rocking. Detroit Lions fans have supported their team in the worst of times, and sure aren't about to miss out on the best of times!
As I picked up some Biggby Coffee for my wife and myself Christmas Eve morn, I was wearing my Lions leather jacket (of course). The barista was telling everyone that came in the Lions were going to win by 20+ over the Chargers -- just wait and see. (Even I thought that was a long shot, but I stuck by my 8-8 season til they were over 9-5 and I was the one decked out in Lions gear) That is the type of fans that the Detroit Lions have -- Proud and Loyal, just like a real Lion.
Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!! With the Saints beating the Falcons (barring a late 22 point comeback in the next 9 minutes as of this writing) the Lions can earn the #5 seed and a chance to face either Dallas/New York Giants in round one, and likely the 49ers to get to the NFC championship game -- a much preferred route than Saints round 1 and through the Packers at Lambeau to get to the NFC Championship game. If the Lions beat the Packers week 17, there is a better than decent chance the NFC Championship game could once again feature two teams from the NFC North.