Orlando, Fla. – In his two years as Detroit Lions president, Rod Wood has had success campaigning for specific elements to be incorporated in the team’s schedule.
In 2016, Wood asked the league for a home game to close the year and got it, with the Green Bay Packers coming to Ford Field for the finale. Last year, Wood sought at least two home games the first quarter of the season. Again, his request was granted with the opener and Week 3 being played in Detroit.
“I think the schedulers have treated us pretty fair the past couple of years,” Wood said Monday, at the league’s annual meetings.
So when Wood ran into the league’s head scheduler, Howard Katz, this weekend, he did have one small request. The Lions have a pair of West Coast trips this year, against Arizona and San Francisco. If the league decides to put them back-to-back, Wood is asking that those games take place in the second half of the season.
That would open up the possibility of the Lions staying out west the full week, instead a pair of lengthy, round-trip flights in the short span.
“It’s a possibility,” Wood said. “We probably wouldn’t do that if they were scheduled back-to-back too early in the year, because it’s kind of too close to training camp. But if we could get those in the second half of the season, and they were back-to-back, we might stay out there and have kind of a midseason, mini training camp.”
Wood also offered some thoughts on the annual Thanksgiving game, which many have speculated would be against coach Matt Patricia’s former team, the New England Patriots. Wood would prefer a divisional opponent for the holiday matchup.
“I would rather not have the Patriots on Thanksgiving,” he said. “It might be good, giving them a short week to prepare. I think that’s going to be a big game, no matter when it’s played. I think on Thanksgiving, division opponents are fun.”
The Lions have hosted an NFC North foe four of the past five years, with the Vikings coming to town the past two seasons.
The schedule is expected to be released later this month. One thing is clear, the Lions will likely be opening on the road, thanks to a concert at Ford Field that weekend.
The Sunday of Week 1 of the NFL season is Sept. 9.
“We had a lot of concerts scheduled this year, so we had a few blacked-out dates,” Wood said. “I didn’t learn until I started talking to Howard, I think Ed Sheeran is in like half of the NFL stadiums this fall. So, every team had asked for a black-out (date) for Ed Sheeran.”
LIONS 2018 OPPONENTS
Away: Chicago, Green Bay, Minnesota, Arizona, Buffalo, Dallas, Miami, San Francisco
Home: Chicago, Green Bay, Minnesota, Carolina, L.A. Rams, New England, N.Y. Jets, Seattle