You guys. Guess who got a tour of Ford Field?
Oh . . . that's me!
It all came about through a work-sponsored event . . . and while I expected some free food and a walk-through of some secret rooms (nice, but not the biggest "wow," right?), this tour was a lot cooler.
You ready? Let's take a little tour . . . right here, right now.
|Hanging out with Roary the Lion during lunch (in a private suite!)|
The tour begin in some part of the building that I normally would never be allowed in, on some floor I wouldn't normally step out of the elevator onto. Our group was escorted to the press area, where we saw the same view of the field that's usually reserved for journalists ("more important" writers/reporters get to sit near the 50 yard line, while other--we'll call them "less experienced"--observers tend to find their tables on the far ends, closer to the 10-yard lines). At each station was a chair, personal phone (for calling editors, etc.), and placard holder for easy seat identification on game day.
Down the hall, we passed by locked rooms where instant replay review, local radio, and other top-secret stuff happens on game day. We weren't allowed in these areas, but that didn't stop us from peeking inside the windows. Then, it was on to the Press Room, which we learned was much smaller in person than it appears to be on TV. My favorite part, though (other than posing for a quick photo on the platform) was discovering the prop Gatorade bottle that was velcroed to the podium. Sponsorships--gotta love 'em!
Top: Outside and inside look at the Lions Radio Network room.
Bottom: Press Room podium and secret product placement discovery.
Fun Fact: Ad Agency Lowe Campbell Ewald (formerly headquartered in Warren) now calls Ford Field its home. Housed inside the indoor venue, LCE is encompassed in its own separate structure in a part of Ford Field that used to be the warehouse for Hudson's Department Store.
On to the main attraction! Traveling to the basement (at least, I think it was the basement), we got to snoop around both the visitors' and the Lions' locker rooms! Surprisingly, "locker room" is synonymous with "giant play room surrounded by grownup-sized cubby-holes for storing chairs" when you visit Ford Field. Each "cubby" features a player's name on game day, with players like Matt Stafford scooping up prime spots near the front of the room.
|*Note: Because it wasn't game day, the name placards above the chairs feature visitors' names, not players' names.|
Then, we walked through a tunnel. A long, creepy, dimly-lit tunnel that's wide enough for limos, SUV's, and whatever else top-name athletes and celebrities feel like showing up in when they arrive for games/concerts/etc. Which leads me to what was at the end of the tunnel:
Ford Field is cool to look at from the stadium seats, but it's even cooler when you're standing on the freshly-painted, artificial turf. Pics or it didn't happen.
I quickly learned how amazing it must be for every Lions player that gets to run out on that field on game day. I think it's pretty safe to say I'll never be an NFL quarterback, but a field of this magnitude speaks a universal language: it's all a stage. And if you've got a stage of your own, never forget to stand back and soak it all in.
Want to see Ford Field the way the Lions do? Click here to schedule your own VIP tour and experience this Detroit landmark up close and personal!