The evolution of the Ford family’s ownership
I think all of us can agree that William Clay Ford was far too patient with his employees and had no ability to find winners who could turn this franchise around. It can also be said that while Clay Ford was truly considered one of the great owners in the NFL to work for, he did have an agenda of his own that he followed.
Many fans have said that William Clay Ford didn’t care about winning, but I think it’s more accurate to say that he didn’t understand winning as much as an owner of a professional sports franchise should. He wanted to get explosive offensive players because ‘offense sells tickets’ and maybe it could lead them to contention. An idea many teams are trying today, but it led him to interfere with the decision making of his front office.
Yet the fans would have filled the Silverdome or Ford Field every week supporting the Lions with fervor if they had a dynamic defense which strangled opposing teams scoring efforts and propelled Detroit to consistent contention, even with a bland but effective offense.
Winning cures all ills and the fans will flock to support their team if they win. Regardless of how the equation works. While Mr. Ford did want to win, he just didn’t seem to see the big picture well enough to allow those he hired to make the decisions they were hired to make without his interjected opinion.
There is much for Sheila to learn from her late father’s stewardship over the franchise. Unfortunately, much of it is ‘how not to’.
Martha’s short time at the helm was about departing from her husband’s methods. Was it any more successful? Well, in the six seasons she ran the team as the principal owner the Lions made two playoff appearances and had three winning seasons.
Is that good enough? Maybe not, but it was better than her husband’s record. So the evolution of the Ford family ownership has already begun. Now we can’t help but wonder where it will go from here.