If you can believe it, we are already celebrating the 20th anniversary of Ford Field, the downtown home of the Detroit Lions that officially succeeded the Pontiac Silverdome in 2002. While fans of the Motor City may look back fondly with nostalgia at the Silverdome the way they also do of Tiger Stadium, Joe Louis Arena, and The Palace of Auburn Hills, there's no denying that Ford Field has had its share of great memories – not only in sporting events but also in entertainment.
Let's take a look at the 20 best moments in the venue's 20-year history. How many of you were in attendance for any of these?
20. The Losing Streak finally ends
The 2008 Lions earned the unfortunate distinction of being the 1st NFL team to ever go winless in a full season, and their misfortune continued into 2009 as they dropped the first two games of the campaign. However, they'd finally break the losing skid in Week 3 at home against Washington, as rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford threw for 241 yards.
19. 2010 Frozen Four
The Frozen Four was played in the Motor City in front of 37,592 fans, the largest attendance for the event in its history. Boston College was crowned as champions with their 5-0 victory over Wisconsin on April 10, 2010.
18. Michigan native Madonna's first Detroit show in 7 years
Known as The Queen of Pop, Madonna played her first show in her home state in seven years as part of her “Sticky & Sweet” tour in November of 2008.
17. Taylor Swift's 1989 World Tour hits Ford Field
One of the biggest names in pop music, the superstar brought her “1989 World Tour” through the Motor City in May of 2015 in support of her fifth studio album, and was performed in front of a sold-out crowd of 50,703 fans.
16. The Rolling Stones hit Ford Field
One of the most iconic and legendary rock groups in musical history, The Rolling Stones first came to Ford Field in October of 2002. They would return in November of 2021, their first show in Detroit since the passing of drummer Charlie Watts three months prior. Frontman Mick Jagger joked to the sold-out crowd that he was in the mood for coney dogs, and that he sampled both American and Lafayette Coney Islands the night before the show.
15. Inaugural NFL game
The Lions moved back downtown for the first time since 1974, opening the brand new Ford Field with a matchup against the divisional rival Green Bay Packers in front of 61,505 fans.
14. Minnesota Vikings host the Giants on Monday Night Football
After a heavy snowstorm caused the inflatable roof of the Metrodome in Minneapolis to cave in, Detroit's divisional rival Minnesota Vikings needed a place to play, and they found it at Ford Field. The Vikings “hosted” the New York Giants for Monday Night Football on December 13, 2010, in front of a nationally televised audience.
13. U2's 1st Ford Field show
Legendary Irish rock group U2 commemorated the 30th anniversary of their iconic album “The Joshua Tree” by performing it in its entirety during their September 2017 concert at Ford Field in front of 42,905 fans. The tour featured a massive video screen measuring 200 feet wide by 45 feet high and had a resolution of 7,200 by 1,560 pixels.
12. Kid Rock's Star-Studded Birthday Bash
Detroit's own Kid Rock celebrated his 40th birthday in January of 2011 in front of 60,000 fans at Ford Field with multiple guests, including Sheryl Crow, Martina McBride, Anita Baker, Uncle Kracker, Run DMC's Rev. Run, J. Geils Band's Peter Wolf, and Cindy Crawford.
11. Beyoncé and Jay-Z
Two of the biggest names in music today, the superstar duo hit Ford Field on August 13, 2018, as part of their “On the Run 2” tour in front of 44,000 fans.
10. British star Ed Sheeran plays Detroit
One of the biggest names from across the pond of this generation, Ed Sheeran brought his ÷ Tour to Detroit on September 8, 2018, in front of 47,804 fans. They especially loved when he donned a Lions Matthew Stafford jersey as a nod to the Motor City.
9. Garth Brooks plays to 70,000 Detroit fans
There really was nothing quite like seeing veteran country star Garth Brooks perform in front of 70,000 fans at Ford Field in February of 2020 all while wearing a Lions Barry Sanders jersey.
8. Classic lineup of Guns ‘N Roses returns
The legendary American rock group Guns ‘N Roses stopped in Detroit as part of their “Not in This Lifetime… Tour”, and featured the full classic lineup of Axl Rose, Slash, and Duff McKagan – the first tour since 1993 that happened. And needless to say, fans of the Motor City were excited, as 44,439 packed Ford Field for the show.
7. Country star Kenny Chesney
One of the biggest draws in popular music today, country star Kenny Chesney has played Detroit's Ford Field multiple times, and usually includes several A-list guest acts with him. In August of 2015, he appeared at the venue along with Eric Church in front of 49,285 fans as part of “The Big Revival Tour”.
6. Eminem plays two straight sold-out shows
Fresh off the success of his latest studio album “The Eminem Show” as well as the film “8 Mile”, 45,000 fans packed Ford Field on July 12-13, 2003 to watch Detroit's own iconic rapper perform.
5. The Basketbowl
The original record attendance at Ford Field in December of 2003 featured 78,129 fans, the highest amount ever for a basketball game; the record would stand until the 2010 NBA All-Star Game. The Michigan State Spartans fell to the Kentucky Wildcats by a 79-74 score.
4. Wrestlemania 23
The landmark WWE event returned to the Motor City for the first time in 20 years, as 80,103 fans packed Ford Field and set an attendance record.
3. Monday Night Football vs. Chicago Bears
Not only was Ford Field packed with rabid Lions fans for their matchup against the division rival Chicago Bears on October 11, 2011, but the nation tuned in as well. Monday Night Football was a resounding success for the host Lions, who took down the Bears by a 24-13 score thanks to a pair of touchdown throws from Matthew Stafford.
2. 2009 Final Four
One of the biggest sporting events of the year was hosted in the Motor City in April of 2009, and it also featured the added bonus of a local team participating. The Michigan State Spartans would eventually be felled by the champion North Carolina Tar Heels.
1. Super Bowl XL
Detroit's Ford Field hosted Super Bowl XL on February 5, 2006, between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks. Pittsburgh would win by a 21-10 final score, earning the 5th championship in franchise history.
The halftime show featured the Rolling Stones, who performed a shortened 3-song set. The group's stage was the iconic tongue logo – a 600-member volunteer stage crew assembled the 28 pieces of the stage in five minutes and was viewed by a total of 89.9 million people.