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Monday, January 26, 2009
Black and Blue all over: Town hall in Detroit


Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

The Detroit Lions are trying an old political trick that isn't always on an NFL team's short list of ideas to sell tickets.

Monday night, the Lions will hold a town meeting at Ford Field to give season-ticket holders a chance to ask questions of team president Tom Lewand, general manager Martin Mayhew and coach Jim Schwartz. There will be another gathering Tuesday. Both are private and by invitation only, according to Terry Foster of the Detroit News.

Many pro sports teams have barnstormed to drum up interest during the offseason. In this case, Lions fans will have a chance to ask questions of the decision-makers rather than mingle with a few of the players.

If handled right, this can be a good idea. After having four blackouts during an 0-16 season in 2008, the Lions need to take action to convince their season-ticket base they are on the right track. It's fair to keep the audience limited to season-ticket holders; they are the team's most loyal fans and customers.

But Mayhew and Schwartz, especially, are going to have to show some transparency during these events. They need to provide some level of detail about the team's direction and not give the type of non-answers that sports officials usually give the media in public situations.

Season-ticket holders who show up seeking answers and/or reassurance but hear only platitudes won't be sold. The Lions' new leaders are on the right track with this idea, but they need to follow through during the actual events.

Continuing around the NFC North on this fine Monday morning: