The Detroit Lions are rebuild ready barring a miracle

Detroit Lions, Martha Firestone Ford (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Detroit Lions, Martha Firestone Ford (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /
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Sheila Ford Hamp, Detroit Lions
Sheila Ford Hamp, Detroit Lions (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images) /

Detroit Lions ownership

This period of time is often the most frustrating time to be a Detroit Lions fan specifically because the ownership often takes many weeks, months, or sometimes years to figure out that they need to move in another direction. As Bradshaw indicated, the ownership, the Ford family, and team president Rod Wood need to find better general managers and coaches.

The Detroit Lions ownership, now headed by Sheila Ford Hamp, has traditionally vacillated between their desire to be loyal to “their people” and doing what is best for the competitive outlook of the team, their players, and the fan base that supports them. They often have chosen poorly between the two and have acted like loyalty and being competitive are mutually exclusive.

Martha Firestone Ford, the previous majority owner, clearly did not want to fire former head coach Jim Caldwell and seemed fine with never winning a playoff game as long as he was around. She has been cited for her love of Caldwell and the two obviously share a close relationship. While there’s nothing wrong with strong relationships, many business partnerships have needed to split for the success of one of the parties.

The Fords have a problem divorcing themselves from these kinds of attachments even when their team and fans suffer from the on-field results. Professional football teams are supposed to attempt to win championships; we read that somewhere.

Perhaps Mrs. Hamp will be decisive and have a plan to find more effective leadership. The truth is that we don’t know or have much of anything to go on but her lineage to predict how she will handle the first crisis of her tenure as majority owner. We can only hope that she is up to the task of navigating this complex failure of leadership that started with her father, included some bold yet ineffective moves by her mother, and has now been passed on to her.

Mrs. Ford fired the previous regime for the same reasons that we are having this discussion, they were not producing wins or titles and were frittering away draft picks. An inspection of her chosen recruits shows that while she gets points for being bold, her willingness to put inexperienced people into meaningful positions has gotten us back into a similar predicament that she was trying to remedy.

Rod Wood is a finance banker by trade but his appeal to Mrs. Ford was that he was running the finances for the family. Upon his arrival in Allen Park as the team president, he admitted to having no knowledge of the NFL, football operations, or any pertinent experience to speak of other than knowing the family well.

The decision to hire Bob Quinn was a team of people which included then principal owner Mrs. Ford and her four children, Bill Ford Jr., the current principal owner Mrs. Hamp, Martha Ford Morse, Elizabeth Ford Kontulis, Mr. Wood, and former NFL general manager Ernie Accorsi as a consultant. They interviewed no candidates with general management experience and settled on Quinn who was the head of pro scouting and who helped Belichick with personnel decisions for the Patriots.

Of note was that Quinn was one of the only people allowed to be in the Patriots war room during the draft and that, combined with the winning culture that he was a part of in New England, were said to be the strongest arguments for Quinn’s candidacy.