How Ford Field got ready for Bills-Browns: The turnaround, the challenges, the changes that made it happen | Rare Techy


Buffalo received up to 77 inches of snow this week, making things difficult for a game scheduled at Bills Stadium. It’s difficult to play a game in a snow-filled stadium so high it’s above the players, so the league decided to move the game between the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns for the safety of everyone involved.

This is where the hero enters: Ford Field. Lions Stadium is a backup plan for games that need to be moved and this week they were called in to save the day.

In order to welcome to the Bills and Browns, it was all hands-on, with over 150 workers in Detroit working day and night. Ford Field is a neutral site for any rescheduled games, meaning they are usually ready for the game, but this week presented a new challenge.

Ford Field hosted its annual Hob Nobble Gobble fundraiser Friday night to raise money for America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The field was paved and covered with structures and carnival rides, meaning that it would not be easy to convert it into a football field in such a short time.

The Lions asked for volunteers and by Saturday the field was ready.

“It was all hands on deck,” Lions senior vice president of facilities Todd Argust told “Everyone gathered.”

Since the Bills are the “home” team, even though they are 352 miles from their home field, they are allowed to bring any team logo banners and signs for the Lions staff to put up. Due to time constraints, the Bills logos will not remain on the field as the league did not want the rushed work to cause problems on the field.

As the game moves away from its original location, some may ask if they can fill the slots, and the short answer is yes, no problem. Argust said the game sold out in three hours, with most tickets going to Bills fans.

“We hope it’s still home-field advantage,” Bills GM Brandon Beane said. “Luckily [the snow] is not across the country. We know the Bills Mafia is over and hopefully the people in the Michigan area will definitely go down.”

Tickets were priced much lower than your typical game, $10 to $30, according to Argust.

“… they all got caught,” Argust said. “They were released to the Bills season ticket roster, then Bills app users, then Lions season ticket holders. They all did quickly.”

The Bills play at Ford Field again on Thanksgiving Day, so Buffalo will use the visiting locker room against the Browns to keep things even.

The game begins at 1:00 PM ET on Sunday.


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