Detroit Lions fans did not get to attend any games during the 2020 season. And honestly, that might have been for the best because it was a cringe-worthy experience.
I should know. I was there.
The Lions granted Woodward Sports media credentials for the finals two games. And since I am the Lions beat writer and columnist for our network, it was my duty to attend.
Upon arrival, I was ecstatic to be one of the select few in attendance. Toward the end of the season, the Lions allowed more media outlets and family members to attend. The Detroit Lions prohibited fans from attending games at the start of last season due to Michigan’s COVID-19 regulations.
As state regulations began to relax, so did the Lions.
Covering those final two home games against Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings was brutal. And it wasn’t because Tom Brady and Kirk Cousin, respectively, decided to have their way with the Lions’ secondary.
No, that wasn’t it at all.
It was brutal because there were no fans in attendance. And by fans, I’m about the talking season ticket holders. I’m talking about the crazy fans who tailgate at Eastern Market. Lastly, I am talking about that devoted group of fans who suffered through the Quinntricia era.
It was weird covering a game without hearing them. It was strange to “social distance” from other reporters. And it was also wild to listen to players and coaches speak clearly. On a typical Lions home game, over 60,000 fans are screaming at the top of their lungs, blowing the roof off Ford Field. And they’re screaming whether the team is winning or losing.
That’s what I wanted to hear. That’s what I needed to hear. And after the announcement from the Lions on Monday morning, thankfully, that’s what I will be able to listen to this season.
The Detroit Lions announced that they’re allowing full capacity for home games this season.
“We have long awaited the moment where we can officially declare we will have 65,000 fans at Ford Field this fall,” said Detroit Lions Team President and CEO Rod Wood in an emailed statement.
“We’ve worked diligently with the NFL, as well looked to federal, state, and local guidelines to monitor what’s best for our team, staff, and fans. We’re thrilled to be at this point and to welcome One Pride back into the stadium. I can’t say it enough, [and] it hasn’t been the same without them.”
And to make it even better, don’t worry about any of those COVID requirements from last year. Fans will not need proof of vaccination, nor will they need face coverings. Additionally, the Lions are bringing back all gameday experiences.
Thank you, football God.
As much as I love my job, it would not have been easy to cover another season of Detroit Lions football without the NFL’s most loyal fanbase in attendance.
While fans can now plan their return to Ford Field, here’s hoping that Dan Campbell and his coaching staff will field a more competitive team than the previous regime.
Follow Kory Woods on Twitter at KoryEWoods.