I had a few observations as a Lion's fan in Ford Field for Detroit Lions 2023 home opener against the Seattle Seahawks, but our budding Fandom stood out, especially when compared to our opponent's fanbase. The rules are simple, right? Make as much noise as possible while the opposing team is on offense. Make as little noise as possible while your team is on offense. As you'll read below the members of the 12th Fan that were in attendance on Sunday took those rules the next level.
From my vantage point in the back of section 132, I had a close view of the pylon tippig over as Tyler Lockett sealed the walk-off win with a TD from Geno Smith. Overall, I thought the Lions' fans did an admirable job in the home opener. We were fairly quiet when Detroit had the ball and we made some of Seattle's communications on-the-field a challenge. There was a few noteable exceptions that I'll get to later. We made some serious noise once the Seattle offense broke from the huddle. If we want the Lions to truly have a home-field advantage, we do need to step-up our game on on defense and here are my recommendations to those in attendance going forward.
1. The Seahawks' offense did not have any problems communicating during breaks and we were largely quiet when the offense was in the huddle. This was especially true on 1st and 2nd downs. I know...yelling and screaming during the entire defensive stand is difficult. It'll wear down your vocal chords and you'll struggle in the 4th quarter to make any noise. But don't go completely silent during the breaks as this is the optimal time for the opposing offense to get on the same page. The break period is great time for that one fan to start a "LET'S GO LI-ONS!" chant.
2. Take a break at the snap. The Lions' defensive backfield needs to communicate after the snap. Pre-snap this is mostly non-verbal, but after they head into coverage this switches to verbal and non-verbal. It is more important for the DBs to hear each other than it is for the offensive players who are just running their pre-determined routes.
3. Don't get trapped into making noise on offense. I mentioned earlier of Seattle's 12th Fans being outstanding. Here's where they excelled. I think it was everytime, but on at least 4 occassions, when Detroit had the ball near or in the Red Zone near me the stadium burst out in "LET'S GO LI-ONS!". I couldn't figure out why they would suddenly violate one of only two fan rules. Make as little noise as possible while your team is on offense. After the second such occassion, I shifted my focus to watch the stands for our 3rd trip to the Red Zone. A few rows in front of me and a couple of sections over I watched as a group of Seattle's 12th Fans clapped and stomped, in unison "Boom Boom Boom", then they started the chant. Again, we fell for it and started a 20 second chant just as our offense was getting into the huddle.
I don't know if it had any bearing on the outcome of the game, but I was impressed at the expertise in Fandom that those 12th-Flag-Waiving fans from the West Coast brought into Ford Field. The Seattle Seahawks' 12th Fans are outstanding and some of the more ingenious were in attendance this past weekend. They took advantage of Lions' fans who are still learning their role on a successful team.
Well Done, 12's.