By: Will Burchfield
Metro Detroit was whacked with snow on Sunday, but that didn’t stop a torrent of fans from making the trip downtown to watch the Lions beat the Bears.
Their loyalty wasn’t lost on Jim Caldwell, who broke from routine at his Monday press conference and issued a pair of opening statements – the latter of which concerned Detroit’s so-called 12th man.
“I have to certainly commend the fans for coming out to the game yesterday because obviously the weather was inclement and very, very difficult to get in and out, and our stadium was packed,” Caldwell said. “Not only that, they gave us great energy and great support and we certainly are appreciative of that.”
A total of 61,726 fans streamed through the turnstiles, filling Ford Field on a day when travel to and from the stadium was treacherous. It was the Lions’ second biggest home crowd of the year, trailing only their Thanksgiving game versus the Vikings (63,793).
The first big storm of the season dumped nearly a foot of snow on Metro Detroit.
“I didn’t realize exactly how bad it was until I had to drive home and it took me quite a while to get home yesterday evening,” said Caldwell. “So I want to tell the fans we certainly appreciate that and they did a tremendous job.”
The Lions have won eight of nine games and took over the No. 2 seed in the NFC on Sunday after the Seahawks lost to the Packers. Around the city, the excitement surrounding the team continues to grow.
“We can certainly feel it in our stadium, there’s no question about that. But our fans are always great, they’re always enthusiastic. That’s always the case. And I hear it more from you guys (the media), because you guys are sometimes, some weeks, maybe the only outside contact I have. That’s sad to say,” Caldwell said, laughing heartily. “Nevertheless, besides my family, I get most of that stuff from you guys, feeding me here and there.
“But I’ll tell you this, though. Our guys are excited about where they are too. Make no mistake about it. That’s why they look at each game and know how important each game is and they focus on that game, because they understand where we can be if we just kind of keep things rolling in the right direction and that we can’t get there unless we get ourselves really, really focused in on the game at hand.”
The Lions visit the Giants next weekend in a clash of 9-4 teams.