The Pontiac Silverdome, once the home stadium for the Detroit Lions and Detroit Pistons, was scheduled for demolition on Sunday morning. But the implosion of the stadium didn’t go quite according to plan.

Considering we’re talking about the longtime home of the Lions, perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that the Silverdome couldn’t even get torn down right.

Here’s video of the failed demolition, courtesy of Detroit’s WXYZ-TV:

The Silverdome still stands! That old structure, which hasn’t had a regular tenant since the Lions moved to Ford Field in 2002, just won’t allow itself to be erased from memory. At least not yet.

“We just have to wait and let gravity do its job,” construction officials told WZYZ. “It’s going to collapse, we just don’t know when.”

According to construction crews, the implosion charges placed on the stadium’s steel beams worked correctly. But apparently, the Silverdome was “built a little too well.”

Shortly thereafter, the demolition company in charge of the implosion admitted that charges in eight locations did not go off as expected, which will be investigated. The site had trespassers on Friday night. (But if the expectation is for the stadium to fall down, should people really be sent back into the Silverdome to look at why those charges didn’t go off?) Demolition will be rescheduled for a later date.

As you might expect, the former home of the Lions refusing to implode drew many reactions on Twitter.

The Silverdome originally opened in 1975. With a capacity of 82,000, it was the largest stadium in the NFL until FedEx Field opened with 91,000 seats in 1997. The Pistons played there from 1978 to 1988, before moving to the Palace of Auburn Hills. (The size of the venue allowed the Pistons to set several NBA attendance records, including largest regular season and playoff crowds.) But the stadium is primarily known as the home of the Lions, who played there from 1975 to 2001.

Pontiac’s stadium also hosted Super Bowl XVI in 1982, the first Super Bowl held in a cold-weather city, and Round 1 World Cup games in 1994, which were the first held in an indoor venue. Other famous events at the stadium include a mass by Pope John Paul II and WrestleMania III, both of which took place in 1987 and attracted 93,000-plus spectators. Concerts by The Who in 1975 (75,692 fans) and Led Zeppelin in 1977 (76,229) set world records for indoor events.

After the Lions moved out, the city of Pontiac could never find a new permanent tenant for the Silverdome. There were rumors of a WHA or CFL team moving in, but those plans never developed. The site was also once considered for a MLS stadium, but those plans fell through as well, likely because developers preferred something closer to downtown Detroit.

Just in case you need to see what a proper stadium implosion looks like, Atlanta got it right a couple of weeks ago with the demolition of the Georgia Dome.

About Ian Casselberry

Ian is a writer, editor, and podcaster. You can find his work at Awful Announcing and Asheville's Mountain XPress. He's written for Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation.

1 thought on “Pontiac Silverdome, former home of Detroit Lions, fails to implode and jokes ensue

  1. Why did it take 15 years to bring this thing to the ground? It and the Astrodome, two old dumps that have not been used for over a decade. Why are they still standing?

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