The Detroit Lions are under a mandate to win. If they don’t, it’s not the Ford family’s fault. Blame it on Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia.
The Detroit Lions don’t have a history of front office success. As a matter of fact, for many years William Clay Ford didn’t even have a general manager. He basically surrounded himself with yes men and did the job himself.
Needless to say, that wasn’t exactly a recipe for success. When he did break down and start bringing in general managers, that was no better.
We can easily blame Mr. Ford’s hiring decisions, most of which were worse in hindsight than any of us could have suspected. The biggest example of a poor hire, of course, being Matt Millen.
In his time here, Millen took a team that was close to playoff contention and deconstructed it into the NFL’s first 0-16 team. Since then the Cleveland Browns have joined the club. At present, there are no special jackets being made to commemorate the underachievement.
But the one constant that has been the case, is that no matter who has been the general manager, the Ford’s have owned the team. They have also been more than willing to have their say about how the team should do business.
Again using the example of Millen, while he was in over his head, he had the reputation of a smart, savvy player. That doesn’t automatically qualify him to be a good general manager, yet I still can’t help but to wonder how Millen, a former linebacker in the NFL, could have come to Detroit and seemed to forget about the importance of defense.
Selecting receivers three straight years in the first round of the draft and four out of five years overall was a disaster, but I can’t believe that Mr. Ford didn’t have a say in that happening. Especially since he always wanted exciting offense to help sell tickets.
Meddling ownership can certainly hinder a general manager’s ability to do his job well. Especially if that general manager is in over his head.