In 1975, Detroit Lions Played Their First Game At Silverdome
August 23rd, 1975. Where were you? Were you even born yet? It was the day the Detroit Lions played their first game at the then brand spanking new Pontiac Silverdome.
According to the Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University, "over sixty thousand fans gathered to watch the Detroit Lions play their first game in the new Pontiac Metropolitan Stadium, later renamed the Pontiac Silverdome. The Lions beat the Kansas City Chiefs in an exhibition game".
In case you were wondering, in those 26 seasons, the Lions were 179-238, and 1-8 in playoff games. (Playoffs? Playoffs?)
And, right there is a trivia question. I didn't grow up here, but I had no idea it was first named "Pontiac Metropolitan Stadium". This shiny new palace would be home for the team for twenty-six seasons, plus was home for the Detroit Pistons for a decade, hosted Super Bowl XVI in 1981 and a World Cup game in 1994, and Wrestlemania III. When it opened, it was the largest stadium in the NFL, with a capacity of approx. 80,000 fans.
The original cost of the building was about $55 Million. The Lions abandoned the building in 2002 with the opening of Ford Field in downtown Detroit, and despite an attempt to fix it up and keep it going, there weren't enough events to justify, not to mention the roof collapsed and it was finally demolished in 2017. It's now an Amazon distribution center.
According to wikipedia, when the team left the Silverdome for downtown, there was little if no emotion and Lions defensive line Robert Porcher mentioned the artificial turf being horrible. Two Lions players (Mike Utley and Reggie Brown) suffered injuries that left them paralyzed.
Right after the Silverdome opened it hosted two major rock concerts. The Who (in 1975, and Led Zeppelin in 1976 both drew over 75,000 fans. I remember seeing the Rolling Stones' Steel Wheels tour in 1988 at the Silverdome, and a football game in the late 1980s. What I remember most was entering the building and because of the air-supported roof, there is quite a whoosh of air as you entered through the doors.
Two of the best athletes to play at the Silverdome were Barry Sanders and Matthew Stafford. Stafford's home was up for sale earlier this year.