LIVONIA, Mich. (AP) — A sports apparel company is capitalizing on Detroit Lions fans' loyalty to Matthew Stafford, the Super Bowl-bound Los Angeles Rams quarterback who for 12 years prior made an appearance in that game seem possible for their home team.
A store in a metro Detroit mall is selling the Lions-colored clothing with the phrase “Detroit Rams" featured above a logo that resembles a lion, only it's a ram.
“We got them in yesterday and they have been flying off the shelves,” John Yu, owner of Pro Sports Zone in Livonia, told the Detroit News on Friday. “A really hot item.”
Stafford's split with the Detroit Lions following more than a decade of play that earned him a reputation as a tough gunslinger on a struggling football team was painful for some fans, who watched with a glimmer of hope when No. 9 was on the field.
Stafford was traded to the Rams before the 2021 season, as the Lions took on a new identity under a coach who promised to “bite a kneecap off” his opponents.
There's a shirt for that, too.
A spokesperson for the company selling the clothing, The D Line, told the Detroit News they’ve sold about 500 “Detroit Rams” T-shirts as of Friday afternoon, and expect to sell several hundred more this weekend, before Sunday night’s Super Bowl between the Rams and Cincinnati Bengals.
Stafford, 34, who has made donations to his former team's community, including financial help for nurses during the pandemic, said Monday he's “always gonna have a soft spot for Detroit in my heart.”
“They had an expectation of what I was going to do when I was out there, what it was going to look like when they came to the Detroit Lions game, and I wanted to make sure that that was their experience more often than not,” Stafford said at a news conference.