The Detroit Lions are ready to start playing the games that count when the team takes on the Arizona Cardinals Sunday at Ford Field.
The Lions head into the regular season armed with a rebuilt offensive line, the highest-paid player in NFL history in quarterback Matthew Stafford and a home stadium that has undergone a $100 million upgrade.
Lions Team President Rod Wood says Detroit fans will find a whole new Ford Field to enjoy the game in.
The team added new 40-foot video screens over each end zone, a new kitchen and eating areas and a state-of-the-art Wi-Fi system.
Wood says the upgrades should bring more fans to the stadium, helping create the kind of rowdy crowd that can give teams a true home field advantage.
“With the (stadium) renovations I think we’re ready (to host) a Super Bowl. But it’s gonna be a competitive process…There’s a lot of other cities that want (it) that have warm climates (and) new stadiums.” — Detroit Lions Team President Rod Wood
But Wood says Ford Field will not be drawing fans at the expense of other nearby venues like the new Little Caesars Arena.
“I think the more things that come to Detroit, whether it’s (Ford Field) or at Little Caesars or Comerica (Park) or the Fox Theater, the more national reputation hopefully the city can build upon and get other things to come back. And we want to do our part to be bringing big events to the city,” Wood says.
The team is using the stadium renovations as ammunition as it lobbies for Detroit to host the Super Bowl, the NFL Draft and the NCAA’s Final Four men’s college basketball championship.
But Wood acknowledges the competition for those events is fierce.
And he says cities in a warmer climate than Michigan have a built-in advantage.
“Realistically the Super Bowl is gonna be a tough thing to sell,” Wood says. “There’s a lot of other cities that want the Super Bowl that have warm climates (and) new stadiums. Los Angeles, obviously, is coming online in a few years. Las Vegas, when that stadium is built…It’s gonna be a competitive process.”
As far as the competition on the field, however, Wood tells WDET’s Quinn Klinefelter the team president believes the Lions are primed for a run deep into the playoffs.