Detroit Gets Rare Positive NFL News
It has been 30 years since the Detroit Lions last won a playoff game, and before that win, it was another 30 years before their previous postseason victory. And other than every Thanksgiving Day, the rest of the NFL largely ignores the Lions.
But not this year, as HBO has announced that the Lions will be the featured team in this summer's version of Hard Knocks.
The expected star of the season is Lions head coach Dan Campbell, who has turned his press conferences into must-see TV. The second-year head coach has proven to be a fan favorite inside Detroit, and out, and his way with words is likely to spawn several new aphorisms for the 2022 season.
It could be the highlight of the season for the Lions who are predicted to be as miserable as last year. NFL odds have them finishing last in their division and conference, with Super Bowl odds better only than the Houston Texans.
Detroit Also Getting Upcoming NFL Draft
This year’s NFL Draft will be in Las Vegas for the first time, and in 2023 the NFL has awarded the draft to Kansas City. In 2024, however, Detroit will be at the center of the NFL universe, at least for a weekend, when the traveling draft makes a stop in the Motor City.
The other finalist cities were Green Bay and Washington, but Detroit was chosen because of the interest it has shown in hosting the event for several years.
Ford Field and the surrounding area will be the main location for the event, and city officials are expected to try and work in the historic Fox Theater for portions of the draft. The 1.2 acre Campus Martius Park, located south of Ford Field and three blocks from the Detroit River and the GM Center, is also expected to be a featured location.
Buffalo Building New Stadium for Bills
Call it "The House that Josh Built." And Stephon, and Tre'Davious, and Tremaine.
Actually, everyone who is a taxpayer in the state of New York and Erie County are contributing to the new stadium for the Buffalo Bills. Josh Allen has led the resurgence of Bills football that has the region once again mad for pro football. That has led state and county officials to contribute $850 million in taxpayer funds to help pay for the $1.4 billion stadium.
The $850 million is the most an NFL team has ever been given to build a new stadium, topping the previous mark of $750 million given to the Las Vegas Raiders.
A total of $600 million will come from the state’s coffers, $250 million will come from Erie County while owners Terry and Kim Pegula will contribute $550 million. Another $200 million will come in a loan from the NFL and $50 million will come from the sale of personal seat licenses. So the Pegulas, with an estimated net worth of $5.1 billion, will pay $300 million out of pocket for their new stadium.
The stadium is expected to be finished by 2026, and it comes with a 30-year lease, which, according to the governor, is “ironclad.” It’s also going to be an open-air stadium, so images of shirtless Bills fans in the frigid cold and snow will continue for generations.
This incarnation of the Bills enters the season with the best hopes of winning it all, based on Super Bowl odds. The Bills are +700.
NFL Updates Rooney Rule
As league owners meet in South Florida, there is a new update to the league's Rooney Rule, which was originally created in 2003 to encourage the hiring of minority head coaches.
Now, along with the desire to hire minorities, the NFL is adding women to the Rooney Rule. Beginning with the 2022 season, all 32 teams are required to have at least one minority or female employed as an offensive assistant. The reason an offensive assistant has been specifically designated is that the majority of new head coaching hires are coming from the offensive side of the ball.
The NFL is going to reimburse teams for the assistant’s salary for the first two years of the requirement.
The NFL has also created a diversity advisory committee or outside experts to help advise the NFL on its hiring practices, and they are looking to increase minority representation among ownership. In a released statement, the league said:
“When evaluating a prospective ownership group of a member club pursuant to league policies, the membership will regard it as a positive and meaningful factor if the group includes diverse individuals who would have a significant equity stake in and involvement with the club.”