DETROIT — Are you ready for some free football at Ford Field?
Fans are being offered free tickets to the NFL game between the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets on Monday night that was moved to Detroit from snow-plagued western New York.
The game was originally scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York, but the league relocated it to the Lions’ indoor stadium after a lake-effect storm dumped about 7 feet of snow on the Buffalo area since Monday.
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The Lions announced Friday that their season-ticket holders and those for the Bills can use Flash Seats — a digital entry ticketing system — for general admission seats to the game Monday night. Fans who had tickets for the game at Ralph Wilson Stadium and travel to Detroit will be admitted with their original tickets.
The Bills also announced that full refunds will be given to all original ticket holders and season ticket members, whether or not their ticket is used to enter the rescheduled game.
The general public can get tickets beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday via Flash Seats at Detroitlions.com, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at Ford Field’s box office.
”We are pleased to be hosting the Bills and Jets for their game Monday night,” Lions president Tom Lewand said. ”While our thoughts are with the people of the Buffalo area during this difficult time, our team at Ford Field will do everything we can to be good hosts to their team this weekend.”
The NFL has offered fans free tickets in similar situations in the past, including in December 2010 when the Giants and Vikings were relocated to Ford Field after the roof of Minnesota’s Metrodome collapsed after a blizzard. Vikings quarterback Brett Favre’s streak of 297 regular-season starts came to an end that night because of shoulder and hand issues.
A wildfire in Southern California in 2003 moved a game — also with free admission — between the Miami Dolphins and San Diego Chargers to Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona, because Qualcomm Stadium was turned into an evacuation center for displaced residents.
Jets coach Rex Ryan thought the potential of less crowd noise at a neutral-site stadium could help Michael Vick and New York’s offense.
”Instead of having 70,000 screaming (Bills) fans, I would say it’d be easier,” Ryan said. ”I don’t know who’s going to be at the game.” Then, he added: ”I hope there are a lot of Jets fans.”
Detroit’s ESPN Sports 105.1 radio called for fans to wear green to the game in support of the Jets — and against Bills defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, who was fired last December after five seasons in which he went 29-51 as the Lions’ coach.
Using the hashtag GreenMonday, the station wrote on Twitter: ”Monday, we all become Jets fans in Detroit to give Jim Schwartz some payback. Wear green and be loud.”
The Lions, in a partnership with Henry Ford Health Systems, will also be operating a 50/50 raffle when gates open, with proceeds benefiting the American Red Cross of Western and Central New York Disaster Relief Fund.