Dad puts son's 'sad' Lions fan face on Detroit billboard

By Guy Gordon, Local 4 Anchor, @newsGuy4, guyg@wdiv.com
Published On: Feb 20 2014 05:49:09 PM EST
Updated On: Feb 20 2014 06:25:24 PM EST

A long-suffering Lions fan was surprised to see his own dejected face on a "Go Lions 2014" billboard in Detroit.

DETROIT -

The two-story billboard is the poster child for a Detroit Lions fan's frustration.

ESPN caught a shot of it during the Lions' Monday night defeat to the Baltimore Ravens. It was all over the Internet. Now it's back in larger-than-life form.

The now-infamous frowner, Niko Vlahakis, of Northville, learned about it from a friend in Arizona.

"I was like, 'That's Photoshopped,'" he said.

He walked two blocks, looked up and saw his sad face looking back.

"I turned the corner and before you know it there is a big picture of me that says, 'Go Lions, 2014,'" he said.

Vlahakis had no idea who was behind the billboard. He called his mom, seeking a clue. She told him to call his dad.

"I don't think he even said anything, he just started laughing. I'm like, 'What's going on? Are you serious right now? You put a billboard of me in Detroit? Now I gotta see myself everyday," he said.

Steve Vlahakis is a long-time, suffering Lions fan just as his son. He felt the ESPN shot needed an encore.

It overlooks the Compuware Building where Niko works for Dan Gilbert. His boss and coworkers see it everyday.

"All of our friends, we all think it's hilarious. We're all joking with him about it, but not too much hazing going on. Who knows, maybe he'll become a new spokesman for the Lions or something," said Niko's friend.

Niko hopes to get the billboard sheet once it is taken down. Meanwhile, he's plotting some revenge.

"Steve, I'm coming for ya, and this is what's going to happen: I'm thinking I'm going to talk to Mr. Gilbert, see if we can get one of his buildings down here and we'll go from there," he said.

His dad is not saying how much he paid for it, but that it was worth every penny.

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