On Thursday afternoon, the city of Windsor, Ontario held a flag-raising ceremony to show its support and solidarity with Detroit Lions fans ahead of the team’s Divisional Round playoff game. Located right across the Detroit River from the home of the Lions, the Canadian city has both social and economic links to Detroit and is home to many fans of the team.
According to the Windsor Star, Ward 3 (downtown) Councillor Renaldo Agostino came up with the idea to hoist a Lions flag outside City Hall and led the ceremony. The City of Windsor’s official Facebook page posted a great video featuring clips of remarks from Councillors Renaldo Agostino, Kieran McKenzie, Jim Morrison, Angelo Marignani, plus the flag-raising moment (hat tip to CBS News Detroit for linking this in their story).
As reported by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the Councillors had an upbeat message on the occasion. From Jim Morrison: “You know, what’s really great is how this is bringing Detroit and Windsor together, and we’re not thinking of all the bad things that are happening everywhere.” And then there was this from Councillor Agostino:
“We’re not Detroit — we’re South Detroit. We’re showing our brothers and sisters over the border that we’re supporting them. There’s a lot of Lions fans here,” remarked Ward 3 Coun. Renaldo Agostino at a special raising of a Detroit Lions flag at Windsor city hall on Thursday.
“The only thing we’re all united on,” Agostino exclaimed. “This is football country... This is a unique time for us, and we better be on board.”
Also from reporting by the CBC, local businesses in the Windsor area confirmed Lions fever and sales of Lions gear is rising after the playoff win last week over the Los Angeles Rams. Both the Windsor Star article and CBC story on Thursday’s flag-raising ceremony mentioned a news release from the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association that talked about the economic impact of the Lions’ success.
Chris MacLeod, chair of the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association, described the upcoming game as “history in the making for our U.S. neighbour,” as well as “a catalyst for downtown and regional economic vitality.”
“We’re excited to welcome visitors and fans to Downtown Windsor. This surge in economic activity will be a testament to our two-nation destination and the strong cross-border relationship between Detroit and Windsor,” MacLeod enthused in a news release from the DWBIA.
MacLeod noted that many Windsor businesses have extended their hours and staffing in anticipation of more customers on Sunday.
You love to see such enthusiasm, and we hope to see a great turnout this weekend from the international contingent. We leave you now with this fantastic interview from last week (before the Rams game) by CBC Windsor’s Amy Dodge of some season ticket holders who broke out in Gridiron Heroes at the studio.
We salute our fellow Lions fans in Canada and will see you all on Sunday in a roaring Ford Field. Now, on to the rest of your Weekend Notes:
- If you haven’t already watched the latest All-22 film videos posted by Meko and Morgan to our Pride of Detroit YouTube channel, watch them. Right now.
- On Thursday, NFL analyst Bucky Brooks posted his 25-player All-Rookie team for the 2023 season. Jahmyr Gibbs, Sam LaPorta, Jack Campbell, and Brian Branch all made the list. A little over two weeks ago, Brooks rated the Lions’ rookies as the top overall class in the league in 2023.
- Really interesting bit in this article by MLive’s Kyle Meinke about the Sam LaPorta score on fourth down against the Rams:
LaPorta scored on a fourth-down touchdown pass from Goff in the 24-23 wild-card win against the Rams. As it turns out, LaPorta improvised his route on that play thanks to a bit of coaching advice from Friday’s practice.
“Fridays are our red-zone day,” LaPorta said. “So Jim Hostler, one of our pass-game coordinators, and works a lot with the tight ends, he’s in our room quite frequently. He just hinted to me, like, ‘If you don’t get the ball on the initial route, what do you think you’re going to do?’ I was like, “I guess I never thought about that, Hos. I’ll probably tuck it in.’ He’s like, ‘Yeah, that’s perfect.’ But yeah, he just mentioned that to me, gave me a little hint.”
That hint proved to be worth seven points in a one-point win that will never be forgotten.
What’s pretty neat is LaPorta drew an amazing coverage matchup on that play:
That left LaPorta in a one-on-one matchup with a 310-pound edge rusher named Michael Hoecht.
That’s a bit of a mismatch, and Goff fired a bullet that hit LaPorta running free along the back of the end zone.
“Then of course the first person I see on the sideline is Hos, looking at me out of the side of his eye,” LaPorta said, smiling. “I was just like, ‘It was just like you said, Hos.’”
Michael Hoecht dropped into coverage 19 times (!) for the Rams last night and was targeted six times.— AJ Schulte (@AJSchulteFB) January 15, 2024
All six targets went for 1st downs+touchdowns. No other defender allowed more YAC. pic.twitter.com/EfNQYlDEfy
Thank you, Coach Hostler. Thank you so much.
- Joe Kania and Erik Schlitt have their Divisional Round preview episode of the Detroit Lions Breakdown podcast up. You can listen to the entire 107-minute audio in a web player on their site or on various podcast services.
Jared Goff to Penei Sewell. What a catch. pic.twitter.com/3OItEWB0PC— Eric Woodyard (@E_Woodyard) January 19, 2024
- FTN’s Scott Spratt posted their DVOA-based preview for the Lions-Buccaneers game on Friday, and their numbers point to a Lions win.
- A previously paywalled article by the Detroit News’ Justin Rogers explaining the influences on offensive coordinator Ben Johnson’s system is now available to all readers. Although the article is from September, it has a lot of detail. Much thanks to Rogers for getting his higher ups to unlock it. Rogers also wrote about safety Tracy Walker’s tough season in a new article that went up on Friday; again this one is free to all readers.
Before this season, I sat down with Lions OC Ben Johnson to unravel the influences on his scheme and his coaching approach.— Justin Rogers | Detroit News (@Justin_Rogers) January 20, 2024
It was a subscriber piece, but given the current national interest, we've unlocked it. Lions fans, it's still worth your time. https://t.co/tn5W45PwkZ
- Both Eric Moody and Seth Walder at ESPN believe the Lions will prevail on Sunday over the Bucs.
- CBS’ Pete Prisco expects both NFC home teams to lose in the Divisional Round. On the other hand, CBS’ Tyler Sullivan thinks the Lions will blow out the Bucs at home.
- In their Game Picks article, four out of the five Around the NFL staff panel’s pickers are taking the Lions over the Buccaneers.
- MLive’s Kyle Meinke hear from Lions fans to learn more about what last week’s playoff win meant to them. He wrote about their “stories of heartbreak and triumph.”
- This is pretty cool. Chad Smith from the Red Hot Chili Peppers was on hand to play a solo during the pre-game portion of Lions-Rams last week.
- In their latest Dungeon of Doom Podcast episode, MLive’s Kyle Meinke and Ben Raven brought on special guest Dan Miller. The voice of the Lions discussed the playoff win against the Rams, the upcoming playoff game against the Buccaneers, and told the hosts what his favorite moment was from the Lions’ win over the Bucs in Week 6 (hint: it’s a monstrous block). You can listen to the entire 54-minute audio on Spotify in a web player.
- Unsurprisingly, NFL.com’s Marc Ross believes the Lions should exercise their fifth-year option on All-Pro right tackle Penei Sewell. OverTheCap currently projects the fifth-year option for Sewell as a one-time original ballot Pro Bowl selection (he was an alternate in 2023) will be a little over $19.7 million.
- Ifeatu Melifonwu has the most magnificent lock screen ever: