Has this decision already doomed the Lions GM search?

Detroit Lions president Ron Wood (Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports)
Detroit Lions president Ron Wood (Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports) /

Is the search for a new GM for the Detroit Lions doomed from the start?

With the recent firing of general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia, fans of the Detroit Lions might believe the root of all the team’s problems have been pulled. But that may not be the truth.

In fact, before Patricia was hired in 2018, and Quinn came to the Motor City in 2016, there was the controversial hiring of Ron Wood as the Lions’ Team President and CEO in November of 2015. Wood himself admitted at the time that he wasn’t qualified to run any other NFL team as a non-football hire.

But for a man who has spent his career managing private equity, Wood believed his relationship with the Ford family made him uniquely qualified to manage the Lions. And despite him being in the forefront of the hiring of both Quinn and Patricia in Detroit, a duo who sunk a back-to-back 9-7 team into the NFC North basement for three straight years, Wood will maintain his position within the organization.

That’s cause for concern. And not only for a franchise that’s posted a 14-29-1 record over the last three seasons, but for prospective general manager and head coaching candidates who likely don’t view the Motor City as an ideal landing spot.

Here’s what Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press wrote on Monday about the decision made by owner Shelia Ford Hamp to keep Wood on as team president that might have already damaged the organization’s search for a new general manager.

"“Hamp said last week that she has no plans to replace Wood as president, but at least two of the aforementioned candidates have reservations about coming to Detroit without a change in power structure, where either they or another more football-oriented team president is in place.”"

Birkett followed that up by mentioning the possibility of shifting Wood’s title and responsibilities in order to land a concerned GM candidate if needed. Still, having a non-football team president that’s responsible for two of the worst hires in franchise history still at the heart of all decisions, regardless of his title, is a major concern.

And one that potential general manager and head coaching candidates may choose to avoid altogether. Undoubtedly, these two positions are highly coveted around the league and Detroit will find someone to take them both. But will they be the best possibly candidates? Probably not.

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It seems very likely that potential candidates for either job would view openings with other franchises like the Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Atlanta Falcons more favorably based on those respective team’s recent success alone.

Throw in the Detroit Lions’ history of losing, the lack of postseason victories, ownership, and their remaining faith in Ron Wood as team president; and this organization has given themselves little chance of landing the top candidates for either vacancy.