Detroit Lions to host North Carolina A&T's marching band in home opener

DETROIT -- Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes delivered a surprise message to the North Carolina A&T marching band.

The Blue and Gold Marching Machine will perform at halftime of the Lions' home opener against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, Sept. 11 at Ford Field.

Holmes, a former Aggies football player, shared the news through a video message that was introduced by Dr. Kenneth Ruff, the director of bands for North Carolina A&T.

"What's up, Aggie family? This is Brad Holmes, general manager of the Detroit Lions and proud North Carolina A&T alum. Dr. Ruff and I have some really big news for you," Holmes told the band through a video. "On Sunday, September 11th, the Blue and Gold Marching Machine is going to perform at halftime at our game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Ford Field.

"You're coming to Detroit," he added. "I know you're gonna put on a show for Detroit and make us all proud. Our passionate fanbase is One Pride and I can't wait for them to see Aggie Pride."

Holmes, who is one of seven Black general managers in the NFL, has been a strong advocate of the HBCU community. He graduated cum laude from A&T in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science in journalism and mass communication before working his way into the executive ranks of the NFL.

In April, he drafted HBCU linebacker James Houston from Jackson State in the sixth round, 217th overall and hosted an event at Ford Field last season where he invited Detroit high school students to a Q&A discussion to highlight HBCUs in October.

The Blue and Gold Marching Machine is one of the premier bands in the nation.

"[North Carolina] A&T, the HBCU community and all my family that were A&T grads, that did so much for me and helped shape me that who am I to not pay it forward [and] give back when there's an opportunity to give back," Holmes told ESPN in October.