Team president Rod Wood said he already has gotten positive vibes from current players from the enhanced gameday presentation at the stadium in 2016, and he expects even more from the Lions’ $100-million renovation program for Ford Field.
Construction on the program has begun, and plans are for it to be completed in time for the Lions to play their first preseason game of the 2017 season.
The Lions got a taste of the stadium renovation in 2016, but that was like first bite in a feast compared to what is being planned for this year.
“They do like it,” Wood said at Wednesday night’s preview presentation at Ford Field. “They’ve mentioned it to me. While they’re focused on winning the football games, they like the energy in the stadium.
“They liked the way the fans embraced them in the introductions last year. They loved the video last year that I think was different, with the lights being down – all the things we could do last year.
“I think they really appreciate the investment we’re making this year, too.”
Lomas Brown, a seven-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle who played the first 11 of his 18 pro seasons with the Lions, laughed when he compared the environment at the Pontiac Silverdome in the 1980s and ‘90s compared to what the current Lions enjoy at Ford Field and the headquarters and training facility at Allen Park that has been upgraded in the last year.
“When you know the front office is committed and doing everything they can, you know the players feel it,” Brown said.
Brown attended the preview with kicker Jason Hanson and wide receiver Herman Moore.
“It’s like night and day,” said Brown, a Lion from 1985-95. “We had to go to the Country Kitchen down the street (for lunch). They’ve got a kitchen in their place (at Allen Park).
“One of the big things I see is that it (the upgrades) helps get free agents to come here. You’ve got to get all the frills and bells and whistles and frills to get them to come here, and to get them to stay.”