Ever since the NFL schedule was announced back in April, most Detroit Lions fans have had one game circled on their calendars: the Monday night showdown against the Chicago Bears. After months and months of anticipation, it's finally here. Monday Night Football has returned to Detroit.
I know a lot of opposing fans are probably wondering why this is such a big deal. Although it is a nationally televised game, what's so special about being playing on ESPN on a Monday night? For the Lions, it's about much more than simply playing in primetime.
For one, just getting the Monday night game was a statement that the Lions were headed in the right direction as a franchise, and the fact that they're 4-0 going into tonight validates that notion. Beyond that, the city of Detroit and Lions fans see playing on MNF as hitting the big time. After going 10 years without a Monday night game -- the last one was a 35-0 loss at home to the Rams on Oct. 8, 2001 -- the Lions have finally returned and fans are excited, to say the least.
To some franchises playing on Monday night doesn't mean anything other than having a game a day later than usual, but for the Lions it's different. This game has been hyped up so much that ticket prices have been in triple digits essentially ever since the game was announced. Despite this, there could be a bigger crowd than Super Bowl XL at Ford Field. That's how much fans want to be at the game, and the atmosphere that is expected is one that will rival the glory days of the Silverdome.
Despite all of the fanfare, the main thing for the Lions is beating the Bears to improve to 5-0. Monday night will be about so much more than that, though, and I can't wait.