The Detroit Post
Sunday, 05 December, 2021

Are Detroit Lions Allowing Fans

Christina Perez
• Tuesday, 24 November, 2020
• 7 min read

The Lions announced that the ramifications of COVID-19 and the restrictions imposed by the state of Michigan prevent the team from allowing any fans into the stadium until at least November. Whether fans can attend that or any other 2020 season games will continue to be evaluated while working diligently with healthcare officials at every level, as well as Governor Whitmer’s office.

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“The health and safety of our players, coaches and staff, has been a focal point for all facets of 2020 season planning as demonstrated by being one of the first teams to gain approval from the NFL and NHLPA for meeting training camp COVID-19 requirements. Lions fans have traditionally created an intimidating environment for visiting teams at Ford Field and, even in a reduced capacity, will be missed when we kick off the season against our division rival, the Chicago Bears.

The Lions offered several options for season-ticket holders, as well as indicating that all normal parking areas and tailgate opportunities are also off-limits through at least the first two home games. NEW YORK, Oct. 29 (Xingu) -- For the first time this season, the DetroitLions from the NFL will allow a limited number of fans to enter the stadium for a game at Ford Field.

During their two home games this month, including Sunday against Washington, they have been allowed to host up to 500 friends and family members inside Ford Field. But that will change when the Lions play at home on Thanksgiving after a trip to Carolina this upcoming Sunday.

The Lions did not immediately respond to a Free Press request for comment Sunday. As an email sent to season ticket holders Friday stated, the recent executive order signed by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer will not allow that to take place.

“As a result of the Governor's most recent Executive Order, we are unable to honor the 3-game ticket package you previously purchased. Wood has held out hope that fans would be able to return by November with the proper safety protocols in place.

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“Very hopeful that Weeks 8 for us and on for the rest of the season we can have fans,” Wood said at the annual Detroit Economic Club luncheon, which was held virtually via Zoom. While Detroit has canceled their 3-game season-ticket packages for November, the organization still has the option of issuing single-game tickets, but only if Gretchen Whitmer revises her current COVID-19 order.

Two days before the 2009 NFL draft, Matthew Stafford sat in the back of a league courtesy truck that drove him through Manhattan. 1 pick, about to agree to a contract worth $41.7 million guaranteed, about to head to the DetroitLions where he was confident he’d reverse the supposed “Curse of Bobby Lane” and lead the woebegone franchise to some playoff victories, if not a lot more.

Sports Matthew Stafford and the Lions were never really in playoff contention this season. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) Stafford was unconcerned, of course.

Plus, Stafford had gone to Lane’s high school in suburban Dallas. Mostly though, he had a cannon of an arm, a work ethic to match and all the leadership skills a team could want.

Most notably, there were no playoff wins, no NFC North titles, nothing of substance. It’s why Sunday represented not just the end of another lost season or another gutty Stafford performance, it might have been the 32-year-old’s last appearance with the franchise.

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Somehow it seemed fitting that Stafford might exit in a near-silent, pandemic-empty Ford Field following a defeat that saw horrific officiating, porous defense and assorted Same Old Lions calamities override 293 yards passing and three touchdowns. Detroit is in search of a general manager and a coach, which means it’s about to embark on a fourth reboot since Stafford arrived.

“... All those kinds of things will work itself out … I’m just going to look back on the season, hang out with my wife and my kids, cool out for a little and figure all of that out later.” Stafford has two years left on his deal, but if he wants out he could also likely force it.

He has remained popular due to numerous comeback performances and his willingness to play hurt. Nick Roles was named Super Bowl MVP.

Blake Bottles started an AFC championship game. Sports The Calvin Johnson-Matthew Stafford tandem was good enough to get Detroit into the postseason three times.

The best teammate he ever had, Calvin Johnson, simply up and retired rather than play for the Lions anymore, a franchise tradition started by Barry Sanders. At one point Detroit worked a deal to bring Rob Minkowski in, but Gonk nixed it by threatening to quit football.

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Interim coach Darrell Befell praised a speech Stafford gave to the team Saturday about why competing, even in a pointless game, is important. We’re part of this group that gets to call themselves NFL players and coaches.

Every time I come to work, I bear that responsibility and I want to uphold my end of the bargain.” He once expected that his end of the bargain would include playoff triumphs and championship banners, not merely dutifully playing hard and hurt when many others would have packed it in on the season.

Everything as uncertain as a fortune-teller's vision, the kind of stuff that makes curses seem real and a dozen years fly by. In all likelihood, Camp isn’t going to hit a home run her first time out hiring a GM and a coach.

Please make sure you understand this franchise’s abject failure over the past 60 years. As unfair as it may seem, that failure is going to be part of the built-up resentment you’ll inherit and have to face from fans and media your first day on the job.

But it can work in your favor, because if you understand where fans and media are coming from, you can avoid unnecessary conflict and misunderstandings; something the past two coaches struggled with. You can believe in your own methodology, but fostering a healthy dialogue with the people who judge you and support you am important.

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If the new GM can get good trade value for Stafford and thinks he can pick one of the quarterbacks he likes in the draft, the timing would be right. And with the receiving corps almost empty, Holladay will have to be the central piece of the passing attack if the Lions have any hope of being a good offense.

Prater turns 37 in August, and I hope he can straighten out any issues he’s had because the Lions don’t need to go into a rebuild looking for a new kicker. And I also want Prater to hang around so that he can hook me up with more smelling salts to make Dave Barrett cry one more time in our Free Press videos.

It was a pleasure watching the young punter work this season on his way to the Pro Bowl. And to think he narrowly won his punting competition with Arron Si poss.

Let’s hope he continues to perform at such a high level and doesn’t worry about the pressure of trying to live up to the expectations of being a Pro Bowler. I hope the rest of the NFL sees the Lions defensive end's value as he enters free agency and rewards him with a fat contract.

No one has a metric for this, but Square probably led the Lions in pats on the back every time he came off the field. Let’s hope the Lions best defensive player gets a full year of health.

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Flowers’ injury-shortened season has flown under the radar as one of the big reasons the defense struggled so much. He turns 28 in August and shouldn’t have a hard time producing around seven sacks next season like he did the previous two years.

No real off season at a position with a very steep learning curve didn’t bode well for Judah. He’s one of the most studious and determined young players I’ve covered, which should be an asset as long as he doesn’t put too much pressure on himself to be great.

Swift and the Lions should resolve for him to have a great second season that ends in a 1,000 yards rushing, which would be the first for the team since Reggie Bush accomplished the feat in 2013 (and the first for a Lions draft pick since Kevin Jones had 1,133 yards in 2004). Swift bounced back from a terrible season opener and then concussion issues.

If he can stay healthy, he could take another step toward becoming the Lions version of an elite versatile back, such as Alvin Samara. But how about this: Let’s hope this franchise starts moving in the right direction with steady progress.

“I didn’t know that until you just told me, so, (expletive), I got to go out there and play a little harder, and we got to go out there and do our job because you don’t want to be a part of that team (that) they go back and look up 100 years from now and your name’s on it,” linebacker Reggie Raglan said. “However, you guys, this didn’t really come up that much this year, but there’s only one stat that I really care about and that’s how many games I win.

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The Lions rank in the bottom five of the league in rushing (29th), passing (30th), total (31st) and scoring (32nd) defense. “It never crossed my mind (that we would be this bad on defense) because in my eyes, we played good at times and at times we’d give up stuff, but we showed what type of group we could be,” Raglan said.

My head, I’ve always thought of us as a high-level team, which we got a lot of good players, but we could just never put it together and be consistent about it.” Romeo Square has a career-high nine sacks this season, but the Lions have been without injured vets Trey Flowers and Desmond Truant much of the season, got little out of first-round pick Jeff Judah and lack blue-chip players on defense in general.

That should change this off season, when a new coach and new general manager overhaul the entire unit and try to re-sign Square before he hits unrestricted free agency. “It’s rough, but, man, you’ve still got to play the game at the end of the day,” Raglan said.

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