vs. Detroit Lions
Detroit Lions Stadium
October 28, 2012
24 - 28 Loss
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Capacity: 65,000 seats
Playing Surface: FieldTurf
Draft Beer: $8.75
Hot Dog: $6.00
Stadium Parking: $20-$50
2000 Brush Street
Detroit, MI 48226
Stadium Review - Tubgatin' in the Motor City
The Detroit Lions, under head coach Jim Schwartz, appeared to be a team on the rise. A product of the Tennessee Titans organization, Coach Schwartz brought a disciplined, hard-nosed defensive mentality to a Lions organization that was mired in a culture of losing since the early 1990’s. Shoring up both sides of the ball with a mixture of veteran leadership and investing in high draft picks along the offensive line and in the running game, Coach Schwartz and GM Martin Mayhew provided the tools necessary for a young Matt Stafford to flourish in an offensive system uniquely developed to make use of his talents. That was 2011, but for some reason, this year the Detroit Lion’s ascension into the ranks of the NFL’s elite seems to have hit a snag.
I was on hand for a game in late October to attempt to inspire a return to winning for the Honolulu Blue and Silver. Back when the Lions played in the Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan, an expansive blacktop surface allowed Lions fans to spread out across the parking lot, ushering in a golden era of Detroit Tailgating that many still fondly talk about today. These days, with Ford Field built in the downtown area, that golden era had been reduced to pockets of dispersed tailgaters dotted throughout the city. The best of them can be found at the Eastern Market parking lots located just north of Ford Field, so I make sure to setup there when I attend Detroit Lions home games.
I pulled into Lot 1 at the Eastern Market just before eight in the morning and was happily greeted by some familiar faces. Continuing the fine tradition of power grill tailgating are Vic and Gina from “The Tailgaters”. Vic trailers in his massive, custom-built, hard wood smoker and it’s a thing of beauty. With a grill surface measuring 24” x 72” Vic and Gina put out a gameday spread that is second to none in the Motor City. On this day, they slow cooked a marinated chicken and pork rib feast that was adequately accented by some amazing sides. Later in the day, as I was looking for some volunteers to help me learn the Detroit Lions fight song, “Gridiron Heroes”, Gina offered to lend her vocal stylings to my compilation YouTube video. Turns out that with a little liquid courage and some adequate Motown backup singers, Gina can belt out GridIron Heroes with the best of them. Vic and Gina have also paired with a longtime Eastern Market tailgating fixture known and DetroitTailgate.com. With Bob, Steve, Brenda and Lisa, the fine tradition of premiere Motown tailgating lives on.
My attention then turned to a seasoned group of tailgaters, a collection of men that have captivated the imaginations of many a Detroit Lions fan, since the days of the SIlverdome. Known as “The Tubgaters”, Denny, Mickey, Jerry, and Dave are continuing the tradition of Motor City Hot Tub Tailgating some twenty years after their initial plunge in those piping hot Hololulu Blue waters. Starting in the wee hours of the morning on gameday, Denny fills his Tubgaters hot tub with 115-degree water and trailers the covered bathing apparatus out to the Eastern Market parking lot just in time for an early morning soak. I can tell you that neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet or hail will discourage these guys from their gameday tradition that’s over twenty years in the making. Armed with a myriad of Jell-O shots including encapsulated maraschino cherries and crushed pineapple, they “chum the waters” by hurling free shots into the crowd beckoning them to join in on the Motown Hot Tub Experience. I couldn’t resist ….
Our last stop on a tour of Motor City Tailgating took us to one of the more recent additions to the Detroit Tailgating scene, a group called “The Suh Crew”. Founded in 2010, what started as a couple of guys huddled around a single hibachi grill and a few hotdogs, soon grew into a following of over 50 members strong. Led by front man “Little Dave” this group of Detroit Lions Diehards gathers under a blue beacon located in the parking lot on Mechanics Street, just a stone’s throw from the stadium. On this day the Suh Crew were grilling up Angus beef Detroit Sliders and serving up some refreshing adult beverages of choice.
Soon it was time to head into Ford Field to watch as the underdog Lions set out to put themselves back into playoff contention with a win against the visiting Seattle Seahawks. From the opening kickoff, the Lions fell behind and trailed for most of the game. Costly penalties and miscues seemed to put them in a hole, as the Seattle Seahawks took an early lead. However, this young team showed the resiliency of a more mature Lions club as Matthew Stafford lead the Lions offense on a last game rally to push them ahead of Seattle and knotch a 28-24 win. Lions Win! Wow, that’s virgin territory for me on the Quest for 31. Go Lions!.
For more information on the city of Detroit, MI check out my other reviews by clicking on the links below:
NFL: October 11, 2009 - Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Detroit Lions
NFL: October 26, 2008 - Washington Redskins vs. Detroit Lions
NFL: October 15, 2006 - Buffalo Bills vs. Detroit Lions
NBA: Detroit Pistons, Palace of Auburn Hills - General Information
NHL: April 9, 2009 - Nashville Predators vs. Detroit Red Wings
NHL: Detroit Red Wings, Joe Louis Arena - General Information
|City of Detroit Local Information|
Top Tourist Attractions:
Henry Ford Museum / Greenfield Village
Motown Records Historical Museum
National Coney Island Hot Dogs, Michigan Cherry Salad, Middle Eastern Cuisine, Pasties, Mackinac Island Fudge, Sanders Bumpy Cake
What They're Drinkin':
Miller Lite, Bud Lite, Bell's Oberon Ale
Lot 1 Eastern Market
Detroit Lions Pre-Game Tailgate on Brush Street
Pocket Map of Detroit
Stadium Parking Map
Fan Forum: The Lions Fanatics.com
Local Sports Media:
Detroit Free Press
97.1FM The Ticket
Downtown (Old Shillelagh, Detroit Pub, Town Pump Tavern, Foran's,
Centaur, Cliff Bell's)
Royal Oak (Luna, Royal Oak Brewery, Gusoline Alley, Mr. B's)
Pontiac (Liberty Bar, Green Tavern, Sevin Night Club, Tonic, Tiki Bobs, JD's
Key Club, Mill Street Grill)
Mount Clemens (Emerald, The Bank, Orleans, Your Mother's)
Hockey Town Cafe (Sports Bar & Food)
Bad Brad's BBQ (Best BBQ in the City)
Pizza Papalis (Local Pizza)
Fishbones (Creole, Cajun)
Pegasus Taverna (Greek)
Bangkok Cuisine (Thai Food)
Getting to the Stadium:
Ford Field is located in the heart of Downtown Detroit. There are many ways to get to the stadium. It's a 10-15 minute walk from the Eastern Market where the best tailgating is going on. Some folks park in Greek Town and take the People Mover monorail to the stadium. There really isn't one great big parking lot. Most people park in lots all over the city and walk to the stadium.
Where To Stay:
Detroit’s downtown area is filled with museums, waterfront, history and an excellent nightlife. Be sure to stay downtown and stay central to the action. I would suggest staying at the Ramada Inn Downtown Detroit or the Crowne Plaza Hotel Pontchartrain Detroit. The Westin Cadillac and the Holiday Inn Express are also both excellent hotel choices.
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Forward down the field,
A charging team that will not yield.
And when the Blue and Silver wave,
Stand and cheer the brave.
Rah, Rah, Rah.
Go hard, win the game.
With honor you will keep your fame. Down the field and gain,
A Lion victory!
|Incentive never taken ...||Denny and I prepping the waters||It's the Great Pimpkin on ESPN|
|Jerry and Denny with some friends||Quest for 31 Tailgatin' Tubgater Style||Marion (my cameraman) Finally Showed Up|
|Brenda, Bob, Steve, where's Lisa?||Only Hardcore Fans Allowed||Myself, Natassia, and Marion|
Please feel free to post any suggestions or comments you might have for my journey to Ford Field, including the following:
- Local Hotspots (Bar Districts, Restaurants, Clubs)
- Local Foods (Traditional Cuisine, Micro Brews)
- Tailgating Traditions
- Your Experiences or Helpful Hints
- If you saw me let me know!
All commentary will be moderated. Your e-mail address will not be published.