'Detroit Rams' gear 'flying off shelves' as fans embrace Stafford's journey to Super Bowl
He wears a different uniform these days, three time zones away.
But former Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford continues to be good for business in Michigan, where many fans have taken up fandom with his new team, the Los Angeles Rams, as they prepare to play in Sunday's Super Bowl against the Cincinnati Bengals.
A local sports apparel and memorabilia store in Livonia has even started selling "Detroit Rams" t-shirts, hoodies and other collectibles.
"We got them in yesterday and they have been flying off the shelves," said John Yu, owner of Pro Sports Zone in Livonia. "A really hot item."
The line of "Detroit Rams" clothing has been mocked by many on social media and on local airwaves — on 97.1 The Ticket, former Green Bay Packer and Lion guard T.J. Lang said, "I hope that store goes out of business," which was met by a laughing emoji posted on Facebook by Yu — but the sellers are laughing all the way to the bank. Yu said he placed an original order of 100 shirts to see how they'd sell, and quickly realized he'd need to place another order.
The shirts were designed and produced by a local clothing company called The D Line, which has a history of spotting popular trends in the Detroit sports sphere and quickly capitalizes when the market is hot.
The blue t-shirt features a logo similar to the Detroit Lion, albeit facing the other direction — right, instead of left — with a Ram head similar to the one used by the Rams. There are slight differences, of course, to avoid copyright and trademark issues. The "Detroit Rams" font is also unique. The shirts are available for $20 at TheDLine.com, or 23 at Yu's store. The t-shirts also come in black, and the hoodies come in blue and black. Also available in the "Detroit Rams" line are long-sleeved t-shirts, tank tops, baseball caps, stickers, flags, post cards, magnets, even a blanket and a child's onesie.
A spokesperson for The D Line said Friday shortly after noon that they've sold about 500 "Detroit Rams" t-shirts, and expect to sell several hundred more this weekend, before Sunday night's Super Bowl.
It's the second-best-selling short by TheDLine, behind the "Second Deck" line, which played off an on-air home-run call by former Tigers TV analyst Rod Allen.
Several national media outlets jumped on the "Detroit Rams" story Friday, including Bleacher Report and Barstool Sports' "Pardon My Take" podcast. The story took off so swiftly on social media Friday that the owner of The D Line had to turn off his notifications on his cell phone.
Stafford, 34, was the No. 1 overall draft pick by the Lions in 2009, and played 12 seasons with Detroit before he was traded to the Rams for Jarred Goff and draft picks in January 2021. Stafford played in and lost three playoff games with the Lions, but has guided the Rams to the brink of the NFL championship.
And many fans of the Lions — who, perhaps you have heard, have never won a Super Bowl, or even played in one — remain all-in on No. 9
"It is exciting for Detroit fans to see one of their favorite players doing well and making it to the Super Bowl," said Yu, whose store also has found success selling officially licensed Rams gear, including Stafford and Cooper Kupp jerseys and autographs.
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