Every week, the NFL checks on the Lions to see if Ford Field is available…just in case.
Just in case it came this week.
As the Bills and Browns prepare to play Detroit today at 1 pm ET, originally scheduled as a Buffalo home game, it took an ongoing effort by more than 150 workers in Detroit to make it happen.
“Everyone just went to work,” Todd Argust, the Lions’ senior vice president of facilities, told NFL.com. “Everyone joined.”
Ford Field will be ready for Browns-Bills. Media crews were allowed in on Friday to set up the score as if it were a Bills home game. Buffalo will wear the road locker room to stay consistent with what it will wear on Thanksgiving when it plays the Lions.
There will be no Bills logos on the field: the timing of the conversion did not allow for this, and the league did not want a rushed attempt that could have caused problems. But Buffalo was invited to bring any team logo banners and signs for the field walls and the Lions would put them up.
Oh, and according to Argust, the game sold out in three hours.
“The tickets were reasonably priced, from $10 to $30,” Argust explained, “and they were all sold out. They were sent to the Bills season ticket list, then to Bills app users, then to Lions season ticket holders. They all sold out fast.”
Said Bills general manager Brandon Beane earlier in the week: “It really is the home team’s choice. We’re the home team. The only thing we want from a home team standpoint for this week is the fans.”
With epic snowfall in Western New York, up to 77 inches according to weather experts, the NFL decided to move the game in consultation with local authorities.
“The decision to move the game to Detroit has a lot to do with safety,” Bills executive vice president Ron Raccuia said.
But that led to a crazy fight from the Lions and their facilities.
As the league’s choice for neutral site contingency plans, they’re always ready. But this week was a little different.