By Ashley Dunkak
@AshleyDunkak

ALLEN PARK (CBS DETROIT) – The Kansas City Chiefs will host the Detroit Lions in London in 2015, and as a result the Lions will avoid playing at Arrowhead Stadium, where the Chiefs have a home field advantage recognized as one of the best in the league.

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“It was an advantage to play the [Atlanta] Falcons on a neutral site this year and not play them at the Georgia Dome,” Lions president Tom Lewand said Thursday. “It’ll be an advantage next year to play the Chiefs on a neutral site instead of at Arrowhead.”

Many Chiefs fans, understandably, are less than thrilled with the arrangement, and many Lions would likely have a similar reaction if the situation were reversed. Lewand said the Lions would not have accepted the NFL’s invitation to return to London if Detroit would have been the home team there.

“We would not give up a home game in Detroit,” Lewand said.

“There’s a lot of reasons why people give up home games, and there’s a lot of incentive,” Lewand added later. “I know [Chiefs CEO] Clark Hunt is the chairman of the international committee, so there’s a lot of different reasons that people think about when they’re considering giving up a home game. I leave that to their consideration, and there’s lots of different lease situations. I know our situation here is such that we wouldn’t be in a position to give up a home game.”

Lewand suggested, however, that the lease would not be the only reason to play in London only as a road team.

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“There’s a lot of different reasons,” Lewand said, declining to go into detail.

The NFL approached the Lions about returning to London while the organization was in that city for its game against the Falcons, and Lewand said the dialogue resumed in earnest following the game.

“We were actually approached by the NFL about the possibility of coming back two years in a row, which is the first time an away team has gone back in back-to-back years, and I think we’re only the second game to play two road games over there, so that’s, I think, a testament again to our fans and to our players and the kind of job they did not just on the field in Wembley but also throughout the week,” Leand said. “It speaks volumes about our team and about our fans.”

The NFL has been open about its desire to eventually place a team in London permanently, and over the past several years it has tested the viability of that plan by increasing the league’s presence there little by little.

“We took a leap this year when we went from two games to three; next year we’ll take another leap when you have a division game over there and then you’ve got back-to-back games that will occur in week seven and week eight,” Lewand said, “so it’s another point of reference, a point of experience to continue to build that brand and again looking for whatever the right long-term solution is.”

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