The Detroit Lions recognized their most dedicated fans at their preseason home opener against Cleveland on Friday night.
Ninety loyal fans consisting of season ticketholders, sponsors and suite holders gathered to cheer on the team as they ran onto the field before standing along the goal line during the national anthem.
The Lions wanted to show their sincere appreciation to the fans that have stood by through the franchise's ups and downs. The fans were presented with an autographed jersey and greeted by President Tom Lewand.
The Lions see their fans as the best in the country. No gesture can show how much they mean to the organization.
“My favorite moment was when Billy Sims ran across players’ shoulders to get into the endzone back at the Pontiac Silverdome,” said long-time ticket holder Tim.
These are the fans who hold on to the memories and continue to make new ones every season.
“I most look forward to the home opener. I’ve been collecting the magnets from that game for 20 years,” said Mike, a season ticket holder for over 30 years.It’s the little things that draw these fans into coming back each year.
“This stadium is beautiful. We used to sit in the freezing cold rain in trash bags and we still never missed a game. But we don’t have to worry about weather anymore,” said Mike.
For some fans it’s the environment that draws them back.
“Christmas Eve last year we played the Chargers. That was like a playoff game here. The environment was great. After that game it seemed like it was all uphill from there,” said “Superfan” Matt.Matt and his brother Earl haven’t missed a home game in eight consecutive years and they don’t plan on it anytime soon.
There is one thing that keeps these fans loyal and that is the hope they hold on to. “We’re hoping for really big things this year. I’m hoping they go to the Super Bowl,” said Dr. Abbiah, 20-year ticket holder.
There are many ways to show Lions fans what they mean to the organization but they all agree, a Super Bowl would be the greatest sign of appreciation.