Adam Sebastian ‘19: On Monday, October 6, 1975, a shiny, new stadium on the corner of Opdyke Road and Featherstone Road hosted its first regular season game. Broadcasted on ABC during its weekly edition of Monday Night Football, The Detroit Lions hosted the Dallas Cowboys, with the Cowboys coming out victorious 36-10. Since 1975, the Pontiac Silverdome housed the Detroit Lions (1975-2001), the Detroit Pistons (1978-1988), the NASL Detroit Express (1978-1980), and the USFL Michigan Panthers (1983-1984). It also played host to many events including Super Bowl XVI (1982), an NBA All-Star game (1979), the NCAA Cherry Bowl (1984-1985), Wrestlemania III (1987), a mass presided by Pope John Paul II (1987), a World Cup Match between the United States and Switzerland (1994), and countless concerts.=
Finished in 1975, the venue comfortably fit 82,000 people. The total cost of the project eclipsed $55 million in 1975, meaning the total project costs $248 million today. Barton Malow, the company responsible for building the new high school in Romeo, contracted the Silverdome when construction began in 1973.
On a sunny day, the stadium produces a silver-like reflection, hence the name Pontiac Silverdome. Now, after years of sitting vacant and abandoned, the once beautiful and iconic venue began the process of demolition by having the upper deck destroyed on December 3, 2017. The Adamo Group, a Detroit based company, oversaw the demolition.
Romeo High School senior Atticus Crimmins ‘18 attended the scheduled demolition.
“I heard about [the Silverdome] from my parents,” Crimmins said. “I’ve only been to the Silverdome for a few events when I was younger, but I knew it would be a huge event so I decided to go.”
However, things didn’t quite work out as planned. Ten percent of the explosives failed to go off, and the stadium remained standing. The company further investigated the issue and concluded that some of the wiring became disconnected and failed to set off the explosives.
“I am so disappointed it didn’t fall,” Crimmins said.
The Adamo Group placed additional explosives the following day, as the crew prepared to implode the stadium for a second time. This time, the implosion proved a success, taking down the upper deck of the jewel of Pontiac, Michigan. The demolition required around three-hundred pounds of dynamite. The dynamite discharged a sound heard here in the Romeo community.
To Detroit sports fans, the Pontiac Silverdome throughout time remained a place of enjoyment, disappointment, and most importantly hopefulness. The Silverdome played host to many iconic Detroit sports moments: Barry Sanders effortlessly evading defenders or Isaiah Thomas, Bill Laimbeer and Joe Dumars leading the Pistons to a NBA finals appearance, while building up to what became the iconic Detroit Bad Boys.
“I think [the Silverdome] was a piece of history for Detroit and I think a lot of people had memories of seeing their favorite teams play in the Silverdome,” Crimmins said.
Once one of the most innovative stadiums in the world, the Pontiac Silverdome became a place known for its unique style. A place where sports and architecture crossed paths. A place the community always found themselves proud of. Sports fans around the United States experience a feeling of emptiness after a landmark stadium disappears for good.