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Username: Eric

Post Number: 315
Registered: 11-2004
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Posted on Sunday, January 29, 2006 - 9:46 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Adams: Motor City makes easy target
By John Adams, adamsj@knews.com
January 29, 2006

http://www.knoxnews.com/kns/sp orts_columnists/article/0,1406 ,KNS_303_4423937,00.html

DETROIT - As of this writing, I have been in Detroit for five hours and nothing bad has happened. Who says this is a dangerous city?
My wife for one.

"Where is the Super Bowl this year?" she asked last month.

"Detroit," I said.

"Detroit!" said my wife, who is a professional alarmist. "Oh my God.

"Where are you staying?"


"You better borrow one of (outdoor editor) Bob Hodge's guns and take it with you."

I settled for a New York City Police jacket and a pocketknife. So far, no show of force has been necessary. In fact, I haven't even heard a siren.

As for the weather, it wasn't much different from Knoxville's on Saturday - 50 degrees and sunny. The long-range forecast indicates this will be a warmer Super Bowl week than Atlanta's six years ago

But a mild, peaceful week won't deter the media from bashing Detroit. Ridiculing the host city is as much a part of Super Bowl week as predicting the winner, and it's much easier.

Sports columnists don't need an event with a Roman numeral to find fault with their dateline city. The late Jim Murray did it better than anyone as a longtime columnist for the Los Angeles Times.

He could carve up a city in a sentence. Sometimes he took on entire states.

A Murray column with a Vero Beach dateline read: "Florida is a body of land surrounded on three sides by sharks and on the fourth by Alabama and Georgia if you like to think of that as any better."

I can only guess how he might have sized up Detroit. This week's literary assaults might be harsher, but none will be funnier.

Granted, Detroit is an easy target. Its murder rate and unemployment rate are too high. Its temperature often drops too low.

But I prefer not to dwell on the negative. I'll leave that to my colleagues, some of whom didn't thaw out until spring after abandoning their media bus and walking to the Pontiac Silverdome when Detroit played host to the Super Bowl 25 years ago.

So go ahead and take your shots, guys, but my theme for Super Bowl week is "Detroit isn't as bad as you think."

Take the crime rate, for example. Despite its image, Detroit doesn't lead the country in murders every year.

It's still a top-five mainstay in murders per 100,000 inhabitants, but it's no longer the murder capital of America. In 1974, there were 714 murders in Detroit. Last year, there were only 374.

Recent statistics show Washington, D.C., is more dangerous. So is Iraq.

An Internet story compared murders in Detroit and Iraq between March of 2003 and September of 2004. In the 538-day period, there were 752 U.S. combat deaths, compared to 538 murders in Detroit.

See. Detroit is safer than Iraq - except, of course, the night before Halloween, affectionately known in Detroit as "Devil's Night" on which arson becomes a social activity.

If you don't have candy available when someone says, "trick or treat?" in Detroit, you better have a fire extinguisher handy. At least, that was the prevailing theory until the 1990s when Detroit's more responsible citizens began patrolling the city as part of "Angel's Night." Last year, only 16 arsons were reported during the Halloween celebration.

The city is improving in other areas, too. In 2004, Men's Fitness Magazine's annual survey ranked Detroit as the nation's fattest city. Last year, in the same survey, Detroit dropped all the way to No. 15.

A survey of NFL writers probably would rank Detroit as the nation's funniest city between September and January when the league's comedy store, a.k.a. the Detroit Lions, is open every Sunday.

If you want to date yourself, say, "I remember when the Detroit Lions were champions." Hint: It predates the first Super Bowl. Another hint: Matt Millen wasn't involved. If Millen isn't the worst general manager in NFL history, he's on the short list.

Millen's Lions might be struggling more than Ford's cars, but the Pistons have the best record in the NBA, the Red Wings lead their division, and the Tigers are improving. Not only does Detroit have four major pro sports franchises, it has University of Michigan football and basketball only 45 miles away.

Although Detroit is a great sports town, it's more famous for music. Aretha Franklin, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, and Kid Rock are Detroit natives.

The city has more than music and sports going for it. It also compares favorably to more acclaimed U.S. cities in other ways.

The air isn't as thin as Denver's, the precipitation isn't as prevalent as Seattle's, the humidity isn't as high as Houston's, and - as Murray might have pointed out - you're less likely to be attacked by a shark than you would be anywhere in Florida, and you aren't anywhere near Alabama or Georgia.

Angelique Chengelis, a former award-winning sportswriter at the Knoxville Journal, speaks highly of Detroit. Chengelis, who writes for the Detroit News, has lived in the area for 15 years and never been victimized by a crime.

She likes the city's architecture, sports, restaurants, and spirit - "grittiness," she called it.

Although I haven't been in town long enough to appreciate Detroit's grittiness, I'm impressed with its compact Super Bowl layout. The NFL is headquartered just across the street from my hotel. The stadium is only a half-mile away.

I could walk to Sunday's game.

"You're going to walk through downtown Detroit?" my wife asked. "What is wrong with you? Do you want to get killed?"

OK, OK. I'll take the media shuttle.

Sports editor John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knews.com.
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Username: Nuclearxwinter

Post Number: 16
Registered: 11-2005
Posted From:
Posted on Sunday, January 29, 2006 - 9:56 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hey, that guy is from where I live. I am glad to see that *someone* in Knoxville has good things to say about Detroit. I have trouble telling people that I am moving there because they seem so.. disturbed by the fact. Thank you Knox News!
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Username: Psip

Post Number: 972
Registered: 04-2005
Posted From:
Posted on Sunday, January 29, 2006 - 10:05 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

That was a good tongue-in-cheek article.
He does speak the truth about the Lions.

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