Beginning next fall, Albion will be home to a group of lions. That is, the Detroit Lions.
After a struggling 0-16 season, the Detroit Lions and the city of Albion have agreed to move the team from Detroit to Albion beginning next NFL season. The decision was approved by the NFL at the NFL owners’ meeting in Glendale, Ariz.
“Due to the poor economic climate in Detroit, we felt like we needed to relocate to a more economically vibrant city,” said Henry Clay Ford, the team owner. “The city of Albion seems like the perfect place for a multi-billion dollar professional football team.”
According to the Albion Economic Development Corporation (AEDC), over 1,000 new jobs will be created by having the Lions play in Albion.
“Ideally, we’d like to be known as the Detroit of Calhoun County,” said Patrick Kilkwame, chairman of the AEDC. “The Lions bring a lot of economic potential to Albion, and one day I think they’ll surpass Albion College as the leading employer in this town.”
Martin Rowan, director of athletics, believes that Sprankle-Sprandle Stadium will fit right in with the other stadiums in the NFL.
“Lambeau Field is right along the lake, and Sprankle-Sprandle is right along the river,” said Rowan. “Soldier Field may have luxury seats, but we have good old fashioned bleachers.”
Greg Runle, head football coach, thinks having a professional team share the same field with the Britons will benefit both teams.
“Last season the Lions really struggled on defense but we have a couple new formations we can show them in practice that’ll really help them,” Runle said. “Additionally, when we’re losing, the Lions players can empathize with our players, since they have a lot of experience dealing with defeat.”
Not all of the Lions players were happy with the team’s move to Albion.
“I thought we had some good things going in Detroit,” said Daunte Culsalt, the team’s quarterback. “I was really looking forward to losing every game again next season in Ford Field.”
Other players thought that Albion is an exciting town and have welcomed the opportunity to play for such appreciative fans.
“Downtown Albion is wild,” said Calvin Johnston, the team’s wide receiver. “I almost got a bear out of the claw machine at Relli’s. One fan was so excited to see me that he wanted to examine the rims on my car.”
According to new head coach Gym Schwatz, keeping players focused on football will be the toughest part of playing in Albion.
“Two players missed a Thursday morning meeting because they were playing midnight Frisbee on the Quad,” Schwatz said. “Another player missed a walk through practice Thursday night because he went to the bowling alley. This place really challenges my patience with the players.”
Geoff Bassus, the team’s left tackle, thinks the Lions will embrace Albion and play in the city indefinitely.
“We’re planning on participating in Mock Rock and Anchor Splash next year,” Bassus said. “It’s the little things that build the team-community relationship.”