DETROIT -- Ford Field was jammed Sunday, Honolulu blue Lions colors everywhere, thousands of Matthew Staffords and Ndamukong Suhs and Calvin Johnsons filling every seat, their roars of approval almost deafening.
But with the game in its final seconds and the big crowd headed for the exits, one elderly gentleman sort of stood out. His souvenir jersey had No. 28 on the back and the name up across the shoulders was Yale Lary.
Now, there's a man with a memory.
It's not true that the Lions have been dreadful ever since Lary, a defensive back and punter in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, helped the team win three NFL championships in the 1950s. It just seems that way.
But there has been considerable suffering, both by old men who wear souvenir uniforms and an old man who wears the real thing.
Detroit beat Kansas City 48-3 Sunday, the 45-point margin of victory equaling the largest in franchise history. The crowd sang that silly "Lions victoreeee" song so many times the guy in the hard hat with the microphone -- Theo "Gridiron" Spight -- was getting raspy at the end.
It was 27-3 and the Lions were bearing down on the end zone yet again when the third quarter ended. The 60,040 in attendance rose and roared and gave their heroes a standing ovation that lasted for almost the whole break. The end of the third quarter is usually last call for the exits on Sunday afternoons at Ford Field. The Staffords and Johnsons and Suhs stuck around this time.
The real Stafford threw for 294 yards and four touchdowns, two of them to the real Johnson on about the only two times he was given single coverage by the Chiefs. The Lions had 23 first downs and 411 total yards. The defense had three interceptions and recovered three fumbles.
The Lions, who finished last season with four wins and won all four preseason games, are now 2-0. If somebody does the math and comes up with 10-0, well, it ain't really true but it's OK. It is understandable. It has been a long decade. Why not enjoy it?
Jason Hanson certainly will.
The Lions' 41-year-old kicker set an NFL record Sunday, one that may never be broken in this era of free agency, by playing in his 297th game for the same team. He surpassed Hall of Fame center Bruce Matthews of the Oilers-Titans franchise.
"That's a great, meaningful record," Hanson said, before adding that in comparison to a lineman like Matthews, "my years are kind of like dog years. What he did is amazing. But I'll take it."
Early in Hanson's career with the Lions, which began in 1992, he played on some decent teams. He dressed a couple lockers down from the great Barry Sanders and Detroit made six playoff appearances in 10 years. But the last decade has been a different story. What was Hanson's term? Dog years. As in the Lions have been dogs? Yes, that says it.
Since the start of 2001, Detroit is 41-121 and six of the wins have come in the last six starts. There was the infamous 0-16 season. Ah, there was so much of so little.
So let Hanson enjoy a day that included a 51-yard field goal -- his 46th of 50-plus yards and the 17th different season in which he's accomplished it, yet another NFL record. Let him enjoy a day where he got to slobber-knock a Chiefs' kickoff return man who made the mistake of trying to run one back.
Which did he enjoy more?
"I could feel my face after the 51-yarder," he said, laughing. "The other thing, I think that's the hardest I've ever been hit."
And, just maybe, vice versa.
When he ran off the field after the tackle, the big video boards following his every step, the crowd produced another standing ovation.
"I've always said God has blessed me to play and one of the great blessings is to be in the same place, the same team, all these years," Hanson said. "And, you know, we're good. Whether we're going to be really good or just good, we'll find out in the coming weeks. There's still a lot to prove.
"But there's an energy. It's been lame for awhile. You can start to hear the buzz again. The fans have always been great, but it's starting to be different. So if we hold up our end of the deal we could get this thing rolling and Ford Field could be awesome. It's going to be fun. I've been waiting."
So has the gent in the Yale Lary jersey.
Heck, so has Yale Lary.