Metrodome has been house of horrors for Lions

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 27, 2013 - 2:01 PM

Detroit plays in the final game in the Metrodome, carrying a 7-23 record of ineptitude vs. the Vikings.

The Metrodome’s Monday Night Football debut was supposed to feature the Lions and Vikings on Nov. 1, 1982. But that game never took place, thanks to a 57-day NFL players strike.

Unfortunately for Detroit, the next 30 meetings were played as scheduled. The Lions went 7-23, including a current 1-14 stretch heading into what will be the final game in the Metrodome’s 31-year history on Sunday.

“I know what an emotional experience that will be, and our players will be ready,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. “We want our last experience there to be a Lions win.”

That would be rare, to say the least. In fact, even at 4-10-1, the Vikings are three-point favorites against an even more disappointing Lions team that’s 7-8 and out of the playoff picture after losing three in a row and five of their past six games.

“Hopefully,” said Vikings fullback Jerome Felton, “we send them home 7-24. I know what that trip feels like.”

Felton was 0-3 at the Metrodome as a member of the Lions. The first loss, in 2008, was the doozy, a 12-10 decision in which the difference was a safety that came when quarterback Dan Orlovsky accidentally ran three feet through the back of the end zone while rolling out.

“Yeah, that one I know for sure made the football follies,” Felton said. “But we weren’t mad at him. Quite honestly, we had five quarterbacks that year, and Dan was the best one we had.”

The Lions still led 10-9 when cornerback Leigh Bodden was hit with a phantom 42-yard pass interference penalty with 2 minutes, 22 seconds left. That set up Ryan Longwell’s game-winning 26-yard field goal with nine seconds left.

“Obviously,” said Felton, “that was a case of the Vikings getting some home cooking at the right time.”

The Lions, meanwhile, fell to 0-5 en route to becoming the only team in NFL history to finish 0-16.

Paper Lions

The Lions lost their Metrodome debut 20-17 in 1983. They came back in 1984 and won 16-14. But even in victory, the Lions couldn’t celebrate because Billy Sims, their electrifying running back, suffered a serious knee injury that he blamed on the Metrodome’s notoriously bad turf at the time.

“I tried to plant — I saw the linebacker coming — and I tried to get my right leg out from under me,” Sims said in 1984. “But I just got caught in the turf. I couldn’t move.”

Sims, the No. 1 overall draft pick in 1980, had 103 yards on 22 carries in that game. When he left the field, he had played 60 NFL games and recorded 5,106 yards rushing, 7,178 yards from scrimmage and 47 touchdowns.

But Sims never would play again.

The Lions, of course, struggled just about everywhere they played for about a half-century. For the most part, Vikings coaches have feasted on Detroit’s misery.

Hall of Fame coach Bud Grant had an overall winning percentage of .620. Throw out his 26-6-1 mark against the Lions, and that percentage drops to .598.

Les Steckel was 2-14 against the rest of the league, but 1-1 against Detroit. Mike Tice was 24-33 against the rest of the league, but 8-0 against the Lions.

Only Norm Van Brocklin, 3-8-1 from 1961 to 1966, and current coach Leslie Frazier, 2-4 since 2010, have records below .500 against the Lions.

Ringing ears

Frazier’s 1-1 home record against the Lions includes a 2011 loss in which the Vikings blew a 20-0 halftime lead. That’s also the only Metrodome victory Schwartz owns.

“Sometimes, after those games at the Metrodome, it takes 48 hours to get that Viking horn out of your head,” said Schwartz, who is 1-3 at the Metrodome. “It just keeps ringing in your head. Every road game is loud. It just seems especially loud at the Metrodome.”

Seattle was quick to claim the league’s loudest venue when CenturyLink Stadium opened in 2002. According to the Seahawks, opponents have been penalized for false starts a league-leading 130 times at CenturyLink Stadium. No. 2, according to the Seahawks, is the Metrodome with 115 false starts.

“When this place is loud, you can feel the noise,” Vikings defensive end Jared Allen said. “That definitely gives you an advantage, when the other team can’t hear the snap count. I can remember countless times, when you put your hand in the ground and you can just feel the vibrations coming off.

“I can barely hear now, and I credit that to our 80,000 strong screaming at the Dome. I’m going to be 40 years old with hearing aids.”

  • related content

  • Video: Access Vikings: Final game at the Metrodome

    Friday December 27, 2013

    The Vikings play the Detroit Lions on Sunday in a game that means nothing to NFL standings, but much...

  • Vikings working to deflate chance of melee Sunday at Metrodome

    Friday December 27, 2013

    To ensure that calm is kept, the Vikings are bringing in extra security for Sunday’s noon finale. The Vikings also hope to slake fans’ thirst for historical tokens by handing...

  • Peterson admits he was uncomfortable against Bengals

    Thursday December 26, 2013

    Adrian Peterson admits he was “uncomfortable” in Sunday’s loss at Cincinnati. Groin and foot injuries have limited his ability to...

  • Video: Allen wants to close Dome the right way

    Friday December 27, 2013

    Vikings defense end Jared Allen could play his final game in purple on Sunday, but he’s more focused in...

  • Scouting the Lions

    Thursday December 26, 2013

    ABOUT THE LIONSRECORD: 7-8• The Lions were eliminated from the playoffs after a 23-20 loss to the Giants last week....

  • Vikings-Lions injury report

    Thursday December 26, 2013

    VIKINGS-LIONS INJURY REPORTVikings: LB Audie Cole (ankle), RB Toby Gerhart (hamstring), DT Letroy Guion (quadriceps) and CB Shaun Prater (ankle)...

  • A classic Lions moment of Dome futility from 2008: Quarterback Dan Orlovsky inadvertently rolled right out of the end zone for a first-quarter safety.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets - Z. Wheeler 12:10 PM
Miami - H. Alvarez
Philadelphia - C. Hamels 12:10 PM
Atlanta - J. Teheran
Boston - R. De La Rosa 12:10 PM
Tampa Bay - D. Smyly
Minnesota - P. Hughes 12:35 PM
Baltimore - K. Gausman
Pittsburgh - G. Cole 1:15 PM
St. Louis - L. Lynn
Milwaukee - J. Nelson 1:20 PM
Chicago Cubs - J. Turner
Detroit - D. Price 3:05 PM
Cleveland - C. Kluber
Seattle - C. Young 3:05 PM
Oakland - J. Hammel
San Francisco 2 Suspended
Colorado 2
Arizona - T. Cahill 3:10 PM
San Diego - T. Ross
San Francisco - T. Hudson 4:40 PM
Colorado - F. Morales
Washington - G. Gonzalez 7:10 PM
Los Angeles - R. Hernandez
Texas - C. Lewis 7:10 PM
Kansas City - Y. Ventura
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
Troy 10 FINAL
UAB 48
(7) UCLA 28 FINAL
Virginia 20
Western Mich 34 FINAL
Purdue 43
(5) Ohio State 34 FINAL
Navy 17
Appalachian St 14 FINAL
Michigan 52
Ga Southern 23 FINAL
NC State 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Massachusetts 7
West Virginia 23 FINAL
(2) Alabama 33
Rice 17 FINAL
(17) Notre Dame 48
(10) South Dakota St 18 FINAL
(24) Missouri 38
Fla Atlantic 7 FINAL
(22) Nebraska 55
California 31 FINAL
Northwestern 24
Marshall 42 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 27
UC Davis 0 FINAL
(11) Stanford 45
Arkansas 21 FINAL
(6) Auburn 45
(16) Clemson 21 FINAL
(12) Georgia 45
Liberty 29 FINAL
(23) North Carolina 56
Ohio U 17 FINAL
Kent State 14
Louisiana Tech 16 FINAL
(4) Oklahoma 48
Stephen F Austin 16 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 55
Fresno State 13 FINAL
(15) USC 52
Southern Miss 0 FINAL
Miss State 49
Texas-El Paso 31 FINAL
New Mexico 24
North Texas 7 FINAL
Texas 38
(1) Florida State 37 FINAL
Oklahoma State 31
(14) Wisconsin 24 FINAL
(13) LSU 28
Idaho 0 Postponed
Florida 0
South Dakota 13 FINAL
(3) Oregon 62
(25) Washington 17 FINAL
Hawaii 16
Utah State 7 FINAL
Tennessee 38
SMU 0 FINAL
(10) Baylor 45
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 30 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
Toronto 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 3:30 PM
Calgary
Indiana 3:00 PM
Chicago

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How many fantasy football teams do you draft?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close