Will Sheila be less patient than Martha?
I always find it amusing and interesting that national pundits believe that they can predict what the Lions will due based on what generally happens league-wide. If the Lions operated like every other team in the NFL then they probably wouldn’t have such a pathetic history over the last 63 years.
The thought process is fair. If the Lions are struggling and they aren’t playing meaningful games in December and Mrs. Ford Hamp wanted to lower the boom, then it would certainly be an appropriate move almost any other team would do in these circumstances.
However, the Ford family doesn’t operate like the rest of the league.
Let’s start with the fact that when the mandate was given to be in the playoff race, Sheila Ford Hamp was a part of the decision and even went on to answer questions from the media about how important she thinks continuity is. So I find a knee jerk reaction during the season to be at odds with the character she has displayed.
That being said, I do believe that if Matt Patricia leads the Lions to another abysmal record that she will follow through and make changes. Moves that could certainly include brushing general manager Bob Quinn out the door as well.
But unless the Lions start 0-7 or something ridiculous like that, then I don’t believe that Sheila will make a decision until after the season.
It is true that she learned more about running the team from Martha than William Clay Ford before he passed away, and Martha did clean house of general manager Martin Mayhew and team president Tom Lewand, who was a very close family friend, back in November 2015 during the season, but I still don’t see Sheila making a final decision on Patricia’s job until the season is over.
It has never really been the style of the Ford family to be impatient. The decision-making process has always been just that; a process.
When it was announced that Martha Firestone Ford was stepping down as the principal owner of the Detroit Lions and Sheila was taking her place, there were plenty of questions about both Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia’s job security. Sheila’s answer did nothing to clear up the issue.
After mentioning how strange this year has been, which we are well aware of, she simply stuck to the mandate of seeing how things shake out. In other words, at this time not even she is sure what will happen.
Martha did display more urgency than her late husband and it is entirely possible that Sheila Ford Hamp could be even less patient than Martha. But only time and actions will tell us for sure.
With an additional playoff position up for grabs, the Lions have every chance, even with a mediocre season, of still being in playoff contention in December. Meaning that the chances of Matt Patricia being pushed out the door before the year is over are even more remote.
The long and short of it is simple; unless the Lions slump to epoch lows for even them, then Matt Patricia will finish the season as the Detroit Lions head coach. But if he isn’t able to meet the mandate put before him, then he could be finished as soon as the next day.