10 Biggest Sporting Events in Ford Field History
The Detroit Lions renaissance of sorts this season has brought their home stadium of Ford Field to heights it has rarely seen in its young history.
With the Lions struggling throughout most of the last decade, their home turf has borne witness to empty seats and booing fans.
But even through all the trials and tribulations, Ford Field has stood out as a beautiful facility.
The stadium is now receiving some great games out of the Honolulu Blue and Silver, but other sports have come to Ford Field and offered up memorable events.
Here are the 10 biggest of those sporting events since Ford Field opened in 2002.
10. 2010 Frozen Four
The NCAA Frozen Four has been played in a football stadium only one time; that was the 2010 edition at Ford Field.
It was the largest attended Frozen Four in history, with 37,592 fans.
The actual games were not that exceptional, as each of the three games were decided by a minimum of five goals.
But hosting an ice hockey event showed just how versatile Ford Field is and how the stadium is willing to go beyond the realm of football with its booking.
9. Matthew Stafford's First Game
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Matthew Stafford's first game at Ford Field was almost like a scene of deja vu for the city of Detroit.
Fans remembered the drafting of Joey Harrington and the potential he brought to the franchise.
Now they got to see the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, Matthew Stafford, take the home field for the first time as a Detroit Lion.
The Lions lost to the Minnesota Vikings that day by a score of 27-13.
Stafford was not great, only throwing for 152 yards.
But the foundation was laid for change. There was an energy around this team that had not been seen in a long time.
And Ford Field was buzzing because of it.
The Basketbowl was a college basketball game held at Ford Field on Dec. 13, 2003.
Hosting the Final Four in 2009 may of been a great accomplishment, but it was made possible because of how well Ford Field hosted this game.
The matchup was between the Michigan State Spartans and Kentucky Wildcats.
The game was attended by 78,129 people, which at the time set the record for a basketball game (the record was later broken by the 2010 NBA All-Star Game.)
The Basketbowl was won by the Kentucky Wildcats by a final score of 79-74.
The game was later followed by a less memorable "Basketbowl II" between the Spartans and the North Carolina Tar Heels.
7. The First Monday Night Football Game
Leon Halip/Getty Images
When the Metrodome saw its roof collapse on Dec. 13, 2010, where did the NFL turn to for the Minnesota Vikings' upcoming game?
The city of Detroit and Ford Field.
The stadium was dressed up in Vikings colors complete with a mid-field logo and and Viking end-zones.
It was technically the first game played on Monday Night in the history of Ford Field.
The New York Giants went on to blow out the Vikings by a score of 21-3.
The contest is perhaps best remembered for the end of Brett Favre's consecutive games started streak at 297.
6. Breaking the Losing Streak
Scott Boehm/Getty Images
To lose 19 consecutive games is a remarkably pathetic feat by NFL standards, or by any standards really.
Out of that kind of misery comes one sign of hope: you have to win eventually.
The Detroit Lions did just that against the Washington Redskins in Week 3 of the 2009 season.
Matthew Stafford threw for 241 yards, Kevin Smith rushed for 101 yards, and the Lions showcased the potential the city had been hoping to see.
Ford Field had once again become a place where the Lions could win games.
5. 2009 Final Four
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Hosting the Final Four is enough reason for inclusion on this list, but featuring the hometown Michigan State Spartans made the event truly memorable.
Ford Field did not put the court at one end of the stadium as was the tradition. Instead the court was placed in the center of the field, and it made for remarkable results.
The sea of Spartan green and white that engulfed Ford Field in the final two games was a sight few Detroiters will ever forget.
The added bonus of having Magic Johnson and Larry Bird deliver the game ball in the final game provided a welcome dose of nostalgia to the proceedings.
4. The Real Monday Night Football Game
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
The Detroit Lions Monday Night Football meeting with the Chicago Bears was a spectacle for the nation to see.
For the first time in over a decade, Monday Night Football had come to Detroit to see the resurgent Lions.
It was a chance to showcase the Lions' skills to the country and prove their validity as a contender.
Detroit won that game 24-13 and did so in dominant fashion.
The pre-game video from Barry Sanders energized the crowd.
Lions fans were in such a frenzy that they contributed to nine false start penalties against the Bears.
The Detroit Lions had proven that football was back (or had finally arrived?) in the Motor City.
3. Inaugural Ford Field Game
Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images
The opening of a new stadium is always an event.
Ford Field's inauguration was no exception.
The Detroit Lions lost their game that day against the Green Bay Packers, but that was not the real story.
The team had new found optimism.
They had drafted Joey Harrington and were ready to turn around the fortunes of the franchise.
Of course, things didn't go as planned for that bunch, but it's always nice to be optimistic.
2. WrestleMania 23
WrestleMania 23 brought the WWE's biggest event to Michigan for the first time in 20 years.
WresteMania 3 was held in front of 93,173 fans at the Pontiac Silverdome in 1987 and set a world indoor attendance record.
The 2007 version proved record breaking in its own right. 80,103 fans filled in to set the attendance record at Ford Field.
The sheer spectacle of WrestleMania gave Ford Field an event on the type of scale it had not yet seen.
Wrestling's grandest stage showcased the stadium's ability to host the biggest events the world could provide.
1. Super Bowl XL
A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images
There is no bigger event than the Super Bowl.
To bring the most important game to Ford Field is an achievement that the city of Detroit should cherish.
Antwaan Randle El's reverse pass to Hines Ward immediately comes to mind.
Yet what stands out most is the story of Jerome Bettis. The game was hyped as a homecoming of sorts for Bettis as he came home to Detroit for the final game of his career.
In the end "The Road to Forty" proved a memorable one for the NFL, and was without a doubt the biggest event in the young history of Ford Field.