Barry Sanders Honored By Detroit Lions With Statue At Ford Field
At halftime of the Detroit Lions 2022 week eight-game against the Miami Dolphins, the Lions announced that they are building a statue of Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders outside of Ford Field. The eight-foot-tall monument is set to be unveiled before the 2023 NFL Season.
The statue of Sanders will be the first of its kind a Ford Field. Sanders is one of the best players in the history of the NFL and is by far the best player to ever play for the Detroit Lions. If anyone deserves a statue outside of Ford Field, it’s Sanders.
“I can’t believe the jokes have already started among my teammates about the height of the statue. Can you believe that?” Sanders joked. “Thank you so much to the Detroit Lions and the entire Ford family. I’m truly honored and humbled by this, but I’ve got to say I’m truly blessed to play here in front of these amazing fans in this great city since 1989.”Quote via ESPN
The announcement of Sanders’ statue was made by Lions Special Assistant to the President/CEO and Chairperson Chris Spielman. Spielman is another Lions legend and was a teammate of Sanders.
“Never more beloved by Lions fans, never more deserving of a monument here in Ford Field,” Spielman said. “Barry, on behalf of the Ford family, and the Detroit Lions organization, it is my pleasure to announce that we will unveil an 8-foot bronze statue of you here in Ford Field ahead of the 2023 season.”Quote via ESPN
Sanders spent his entire 10-year career in the Motor City. In that time, he rushed for 15,269 yards and 99 touchdowns. That is good enough for fourth and tenth, respectively, in the all-time record books. In addition, Sanders won the 1997 MVP award alongside Brett Farve and made the Pro Bowl in each of his 10 seasons.
Sanders was the star of the Lions’ most successful stretch during the Super Bowl era. During his career, the Lions made the playoffs five times and won one playoff game. That marks the Lions’ only playoff win during the Super Bowl era.
The announcement of Sanders’ statue at Ford Field is a strengthening of an already strong tradition in Detroit. In downtown Detroit, Ford Field neighbors Comerica Park, the home of the Detroit Tigers. Outside of Comerica Park, there are a handful of statues of Tigers’ legends including Ty Cobb, Al Kaline, and more. It appears as if the Lions are following the lead of the Tigers as they continue the same tradition.
Sanders is far and wide the best player to ever play for the Lions. He deserved a statue in his honor. I will add, if the Lions continue this trend of building statues of former players at Ford Field, a statue of receiver Calvin Johnson would be a good addition.