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Nov 24, 2014 4:20 PM

Bills vs Jets a hot ticket in Detroit

The Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) Die-hard fans of the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets might be hard to come by in the hometown of the Detroit Lions. But there's certainly no shortage of fans of free tickets to an Empire State matchup in the Motor City.

More than 67,000 tickets were handed out for the Bills' home game Monday night in Detroit that was postponed a day and moved 250 miles away after heavy snow in western New York.

The price was difficult to beat football fans snapped up all available free tickets.

"Being free definitely sweetened the deal," said Jennifer Trimmer, a receptionist who got four tickets. She was making the roughly 80-mile drive from the state capital of Lansing to Ford Field with her boyfriend and meeting another couple there to tailgate and take in the game.

"It's an exciting thing to do, and not something that normally happens," said Trimmer, a self-described "regular watcher of all things football" but first-time visitor to Detroit's stadium. "Never again are we going to see the Bills-Jets at Ford Field."

Of course, the free ticket is a two-edged sword a fun thing to nab but not a guarantee of turnout to see two teams at the bottom of the AFC East playing hundreds of miles from their home turf, even in a climate-controlled facility that holds 65,000. It was also a Monday night game that's not on "Monday Night Football," played in a town that's snow-free but experiencing high wind warnings as a cold front moves through.

Bills President Russ Brandon said he was impressed by how rapidly the tickets were distributed and that the team is "looking forward to a robust house." Still, he acknowledged that with free tickets, the no-show rate tends to be higher.

It's the second time in four years Detroit has answered the call for another NFL team in need. In December 2010, the Minnesota Vikings' home game against the New York Giants was moved to Detroit a day later after the Metrodome's roof collapsed.

The Giants won 21-3 before an announced crowd of 45,910. Admission was free, with holders of tickets of the scheduled game in Minnesota offered opportunities to sit behind both team's benches. The Bills worked with Lions staff to offer similarly preferred seating for Buffalo ticketholders willing to make the trek.

Yvette Abela, a Lions regular-season ticketholder, said she was among the "lucky folks" to receive an email notification the day before everybody else about the giveaway, so she picked up four. She, her husband Tony and two children were planning to "cook up some burgers" while tailgating and then head into Ford Field.

"My son, Anthony, is 6, and he's so psyched about going to a Monday night football game," the Dearborn resident said. "He's a big New York fan, but he'd never root against the Lions."


Follow Jeff Karoub at https://twitter.com/jeffkaroub


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