Jump to content

Motor City Sonics

Silverdome Memories

Recommended Posts

So the destruction of the Silverdome is nigh.      What are your memories of that one-time gem?   I have a few.

1 -  I played soccer on that field...........Would have been either 1981 or 1982.   It was like a thin rug on a slab of cement - which is what it really was.  The ball bounced over our heads.  One guy went to do a slide tackle and there was a fair amount of blood so nobody else dared to do that the rest of the game.   I couldn't believe football players repeatedly got tackled onto that.   I went to a few Detroit Express games there............Trevor Francis was the bomb!

2 -  U2 Concert..................it was  a really good concert.   I could have done without the giant egg, but what stands out to me is that my friend worked for a radio station that carried the Lions and he introduced me to Juan Roque.  I never saw a mountain that could talk before that.   Very nice guy.  Glad I didn't have to sit or stand behind him,  he would have not only blocked out the view but probably the sound too.

3 - Two Pistons games.................1 was the game where they FINALLY eliminated the Celtics.  We were in the nosebleeds, the white dots were good, the green dots were bad.  Best sign was intended for CBS (Cripple Bird Severely)   All the way out of the building everyone was chanting BEAT LA..........BEAT LA...........BEAT LA..............I stole an orange parking cone that I used as a bullhorn and I still have it to this day.           The other was viewing their first championship.  The Pistons won it in L.A. but for something like $3 you got to hang out and watch and celebrate with thousands like you were there.   The Lakers had swept their way to the Finals and then got swept by the Pistons.  Best fan sign  LIVE BY THE BROOM, DIE BY THE BROOM.   

2 -  Ladies & Gentlemen, meet Eric Hipple -  My first-ever NFL football game (my dad was not a fan of the NFL, so my uncle took me) was the Monday Night game against the Chicago Bears.   It was Eric Hipple's 2nd or 3rd game and they beat the Bears, without looking it up I'll say 48-17.   Hipple had a MONSTER game and would one day lead us to a Super Bowl.   I thought that would be the loudest thing I'd ever be at -- I was wrong. 

1 -  Playoffs Or Bust/Barry gets 2 Grand -  Lions vs. Jets - December.   For both teams it was win and clinch a playoff spot, lose and go home, even though they were in different conferences.   It was insanely loud in there..........Louder than standing next to an actual Jet.   The fans were so loud that the Jets couldn't snap the ball.   The referees warned us the Lions would get delay of game penalties, that only made us louder.  Neil O'Donnell (Jets QB) got at least 2 Delay Of Game calls because of us.   Then after a rather ordinary 2 yard rush the PA guy says "Barry Sanders has just passed 2,000 yards" and the crowd cheered  loudly.   I turned to my friend and said "Watch him lose 2 on the next play" (something that did happen with Barry).   He broke the next one for 53 yards down to the 1 yard line and it was the loudest it had been all day.   A few minutes after that, I think the next series, Lions rookie LB Reggie Brown went down with an injury and the team was panicking..........guys were running to get help........You knew it was bad.........that place went silent..........He broke his neck and wasn't breathing but they were able to get him breathing, stabilized him and he eventually made a full  recovery, but never played again.  I think he's coaching now.    The Lions wound up winning that game 13-10.     My ears are still ringing.  

I won't miss trying to get to that place, and I won't miss the cloud of tobacco smoke that hovered over everything but I will always miss the crazy atmosphere.  R.I.P. Silverdome.    At least you got to look at Barry for a few years and host a championship Panthers team.  

*That Lions-Bears game was 48-17,  the stupid **** I remember. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I work in Pontiac and drive on M-59 past the Silverdome every day.  It was a marvel in its day, and I'll make sure I take one last picture of it tomorrow before it's demolished.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Monday Night Football -v- The Raiders who were my 2nd favorite team as a kid...Barry ran for like 170 (176 I just checked) and Bo Jackson ran for like 150 (129...not bad guesses after 27 years)...I did not appreciate it nearly as much as I should have at the time.  A friend I knew from HS had an extra ticket (well his dad did) and he asked if I wanted to go.  I do not recall a lot about the game TBH.

My brother who passed about 10 years ago used to work security there for a short period.  I recall hearing him talk about hanging out watching the games.

Rush concert back in the early 90's with a couple other brothers....just tried looking this up...looks like it was The Palace and not the Silverdome...still a cool memory...I think it was one of my first concerts.

Training camp!  I used to go down and watch training camp in the mid 90's with a buddy.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thumbs up Mikey!  Mike Utley also broke his back on that field.  I recall that vividly..I was not there, but it was a thing my friend and I did in HS when we saw each other in the hallway...'thumbs up Mickey!'

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I did misremember something.........Reggie Brown went down right after the crowd noise delay with O'Donnell.........so it went from being insanely loud to quiet in a minute........then got loud at the end when Barry ran for 53 yards down to the 3 yard line, not the 1..............but I was close.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Silverdome hosted a few HS basketball games during Christmas Break of 1989, and the games were well-attended.  The high school hoops scene was on fire back then in Michigan, and my team was one of the best in Oakland County--we lived and breathed basketball.

The first game featured Shawn Respert's Bishop Borgesss squad against a team I can't remember, mostly because we all were in awe of Respert's stroke.  The kid was hitting NBA threes seemingly at will.

The Detroit Country Day squad was seated in front of us for part of the game, and of course their squad and ours had our varsity jackets on.  So we're kinda checking each other out, until Webber stands up--and then all eyes are on him.  Dude was thin back then, maybe 6'9" 220--but his high-top fade made him over 7'.  This was who we all came to see, even if Respert was a great opening act.  

Iyapo Montgomery was on the DCC squad, too, and his Kid-and-Play fade was also a factor.

DCC faced off against Detroit Pershing and Lorenzo Orr--arguably the best senior in Michigan.  Orr was a Clarence Weatherspoon clone--a thick 6'7" 240 and his game was as fierce as his scowl.  He was playing his last game of the year because he was too old to play the second-half.  Think basketball's version of Ogie Ogelthorpe, but no afro.  This was a man playing with boys.  Every dunk was hard, every rebound came with an audible slap, every blocked shot was personal.

Now, I know there have been better individual HS matchups (I guess?) but Webber vs Orr had the buzz of a Vegas heavyweight title fight.  Webber was introduced in pre-game to a universal applause, jogging out and greeting teammates with semi-genuine high-fives.  Orr is the last player introduced for Pershing and he slowly strolls past energetic teammates--head thrown back--who look ready to strap on pads and line up for kickoff.  I swear 1/4 of the crowd was booing him.

This is a high school game!!!

Our squad may have been ranked and undefeated, but we all knew what we were watching was above us.

Orr (27 PTS) played Webber (35 PTS?) to a virtual stalemate.  Neither guy could really stop the other, and neither team had any kind of success scoring over the marquee bigs.  DCC won the game, and Webber put the exclamation point on the win when he broke the rim with a breakaway reverse dunk as time expired.

Even though I had seen most of the best NBA players of the 80s come through The Silverdome, this was easily my best basketball memory from the place.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not a lot of memories for me. I recall going to a game on Christmas Day against the Broncos. Had front rows seats and the lions lost. That was the only lions game I attended at the dome. 

I went to a couple pistons games there. Nothing stands out. 

I also went there when I was working at a golf shop and there was some kind of golf equipment show or something that we had to staff. I recall standing down on the field and it “raining” from the condensation that accumulated inside the roof. 

Finally, I remember the sign they left up about the cherry bowl. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Mr. Bigglesworth said:

He was also no Terry 'All I do's is shoots the ball' Duerod

maxresdefault.jpg

I don't remember much about him, but the uniform and lambchops are killer

I still have an 80-81 Pistons autographed basketball given to me by Ron Lee before a game against the Kansas City Kings. 

25851438066_da21112c06_z.jpg

This was a truly awful game where I was one of about 4,000 people attending.

It was my first NBA game.

We were lucky enough be given tickets to see Boston and Philly that year.

Dr. J was still in his prime, still ultra-athletic.  The most impressive thing that happened that game was the breakaway dunk he bricked all the way back past the 3pt line.  Kinda like watching Bo Jackson break a bat in half after striking out--impressive even in failure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My dad is also a graduate of UD and always talked up the school.

Duerod had a monster game, probably in 77 or 78.  they interview him after the game and  Terry says 'All I do's is shoots the ball'.

My dad lost his ****.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My Junior year of High School I got to play regionals there.  We got destroyed and I played like **** for like the dozen plays I was in there for but it was still cool to be out there.

Wrestlemania III.  Being a pro wrestling nerd I remember my Dad taking me and my brother to this, I was only like 6 years old but it is known as one of the most famous wrestling events of all time so it was cool to be there.

Thanksgiving game 97.  Most of my family is from Pittsburgh so a bunch of them came in for the game and Thanksgiving.  It was great being able to throw it in their faces after we won, even if it was in completely controversial fashion.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Mr. Bigglesworth said:

My dad is also a graduate of UD and always talked up the school.

Duerod had a monster game, probably in 77 or 78.  they interview him after the game and  Terry says 'All I do's is shoots the ball'.

My dad lost his ****.

Oh man, that's good stuff!

Vitale should have never left, especially to coach the Pistons!  :)

FWIIW I was really sad when Tony Tolbert transferred to UD.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used to watch the football state championship games there with my dad.

Watching Jerome Bettis play running back was super-crazy to see.

"Dad, is that the DT playing tailback?"  LOL.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, mickeyb105 said:

I used to watch the football state championship games there with my dad.

Watching Jerome Bettis play running back was super-crazy to see.

"Dad, is that the DT playing tailback?"  LOL.

Drew Henson played the same time I did and I remember being in awe watching him.  The zip on his ball was like nothing I'd ever seen.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, RandyMarsh said:

Drew Henson played the same time I did and I remember being in awe watching him.  The zip on his ball was like nothing I'd ever seen.  

I recall many thinking that Henson had the biggest arm to come out of the NCAA since Elway. I remember him throwing a couple back across the field to the side line opposite a roll out where no one in the stands or on the defense could process it. If the arm was all it took to be a star at QB, he'd be in the HOF already.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, Gehringer_2 said:

I recall many thinking that Henson had the biggest arm to come out of the NCAA since Elway. I remember him throwing a couple back across the field to the side line opposite a roll out where no one in the stands or on the defense could process it. If the arm was all it took to be a star at QB, he'd be in the HOF already.

I wonder how much he regrets choosing baseball instead of football when he did, or going back whether he wishes he would have committed fully to football when entering college. I don’t know that his minor league baseball negatively affected his development as a football player, but it sure seemed like it would have been a better choice to stay at Michigan another year when all the talk was that he would have been the top pick in the draft.

maybe he would have failed at football, but those years away from the game pretty much ended much chance of succeeding. 

With all the money available to football players right out of college, and with the ability to pad stats playing for a big college program, it seems like anyone choosing to pursue baseball rather a football career is making a big mistake. You can flame out in football and still have made millions as a high draft pick. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe if he stayed at UM he would've been draft eligible during Vick's draft.  Vick was the only QB drafted in the 1st, with Brees going with the first pick in the 2nd.   If he stayed for his senior year and he didn't have any hiccups I don't doubt for a second that he would've been picked over David Carr or Harrington.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
40 minutes ago, RandyMarsh said:

I believe if he stayed at UM he would've been draft eligible during Vick's draft.  Vick was the only QB drafted in the 1st, with Brees going with the first pick in the 2nd.   If he stayed for his senior year and he didn't have any hiccups I don't doubt for a second that he would've been picked over David Carr or Harrington.  

IIRC, Henson was touted as a top-5 pick had he come out after his junior year.  Brees was really good in college, but Henson was the superior prospect (then).  

Whatever the case, Carr creating no competition for Henson lead us to the John Navarre era.  Ugh.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Gehringer_2 said:

I recall many thinking that Henson had the biggest arm to come out of the NCAA since Elway. I remember him throwing a couple back across the field to the side line opposite a roll out where no one in the stands or on the defense could process it. If the arm was all it took to be a star at QB, he'd be in the HOF already.

Brighton was in our conference in HS, and I've probably played five separate times on the diamond Henson played on.  Drew hit a ton of HR there, and it was easy to see why--the fence was super-short in the alleys and CF.  I know scouts are smarter than to trust high school totals but his power numbers were super-inflated in HS.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×