Detroit Lions: Expect more of the same under new ownership

Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Lions have a new owner, but don’t get too excited; it’s still a Ford family member.

It’s been the worst kept secret throughout the city of Detroit over the last two years. Still, it’s finally been formally announced today that Sheila Ford Hamp, the daughter of William Clay Ford and Martha Firestone Ford, will officially take over as the Detroit Lions principal owner.

For everyone who saw the headlines today stating the Detroit Lions were getting a new owner and immediately got excited, I’m sorry.  Expect more of the same, but it’s not all bad, folks.

Martha Firestone Ford hasn’t been a terrible owner during her tenure, succeeding her late husband.  It was William Clay Ford that refused to move on from General Manager (GM) Matt Millen.  Martha was involved in the decision to cut ties with head coach Jim Caldwell after producing back-to-back 9-7 seasons that included a playoff appearance.

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We can use the same example as a negative stating, why move off of a coach that provided the city with a competitive team for a coach that at times looks clueless on the sidelines.  The narrative was that Caldwell peaked.

As much as I’m not a huge ‘fan’ of Matt Patrica for various reasons, but I do feel he deserves another chance to prove himself. I’m tired of the coaching carousel that includes complete roster tear downs and Patricia was operating without star quarterback Matthew Stafford last season, as the team limped their way to the concussion of the 2019 season.  Bob Quinn entered his role with Caldwell already in place, finally afforded the opportunity to express his vision for the franchise when he hired head coach Matt Patricia.

It’s been under Martha’s watch the Detroit Lions as an organization ramped up their community involvement.  A lot of the credit for this should be directed to team president Rod Wood, who Martha brought in to oversee the business side of things.  Wood himself mentioned he’s not a ‘football guy.’  He’s good at the business aspect of things, but shouldn’t the team president be involved in football decisions along with the general manager?  Two minds are better than one.

The common denominator with all of these decisions is now new team owner Sheila Ford Hamp.  Sheila was present when the Detroit Lions hired GM Bob Quinn back in 2016.  Sheila, currently 68-years old, was heavily involved with Martha’s December memo stating the current regime is on the hot-seat to ‘compete-now,’ and the franchise needs to see significant on-field success or changes will be imminent.

Don’t expect the expectations surrounding the Detroit Lions to change.

Sheila has had her hands in the mix for the entirety of her mom’s tenure as principal owner.  As many of us expected, it’s been Sheila’s vision the organization inherited after the passing of her father.  I will say, it’s been much better over the last six years than in years’ past.

When you think of the Ford’s, most of us link the organization to the underwhelming William Clay Ford model, which provided the city with generations of losing culture.  It’s clear since Martha/Sheila started running things, the loyalty throughout the organization has shrunk, and building a winning culture is at the forefront of their mind.

Winning has eluded the franchise, but it appears Sheila is at least trying to right the ship.  Whether it is Quinn and Patricia or someone else, I hope the Detroit Lions stick to their guns and don’t settle for a 6-10, 7-9 record as being good enough.

Next. Mike Ilitch would be ashamed of the empire he built. dark

If those sanctions Martha mentioned last year are indeed still in place for the 2020 season as Sheila reinforced again today, changes could be on the horizon. If those comments about winning-now were just an organization trying to buy time or just a way to keep the fans engaged, we’d know in a year from now.  If that’s the case, Shelia may be more like her father than I initially anticipated.