First, just read a post in which someone says the Fords are to blame and jokes we need to pass the hat to buy them. I tend to agree with “the Fords need to sell them before anything changes” point of view. I mean, it’s the only reasonable conclusion. It’s nothing personal against them, they’ve tried. But it always blows up in their faces, even when they go asking the league for help.
But sale of the team won’t happen while Aunt Martha is still with us. I am not going to wish a nice old lady to pass away so I can have the team I root for sold. But, that’s the reality. See the article below on the tax implications for the Ford family if the team is sold while Martha’s alive.
Which leads to my second point. Look at the date on the article. That was mid-season in Jim Caldwell’s second campaign. And there was yet another uproar among fans and calls for heads to roll, including at the very top (ownership).
This is when Jim Schwartz’s failure (another coach some here pine for) was still fresh in fans’ minds. Jimbo went 4-12 in 2012 and 7-9 in 2013. Then Caldwell took what was surely the Lions most talented squad in recent memory to 11-5 in 2014 before falling back to earth in 2015, leading to more calls for change. Yeah, 2014 was the year we got jobbed by the refs in Dallas, you’ll recall. But, let’s not forget that was the year Stafford made all those crazy last minute comebacks to boost the team into the playoffs. While the corpse of nice Mr. Caldwell looked on from the sideline silent and expressionless.
Yes, Jim Caldwell is a fine man and a good coach. But after the big year in 2014 (by Lions standards, LOL), the team kept its head above water while Jim muddled through a couple of 9-7 years. This three-year stretch of 29 (non-playoff) wins is the highlight (in terms of success) of this century, and easily one of the most successful epochs for the franchise since the Fords bought the team in 1963. Sad but true.
But I don’t pine for either Jim. Yep, time for another clean sweep. Yep, time for another spectacle of Lions ownership playing ring toss in hiring a new GM and head coach. Anyway, here’s an article from the Caldwell era outlining why the Fords won’t sell while Martha’s around. So save your breath
I don’t really think it’s the Ford’s fault at all. They’ve done just about everything any organization would do. They spend huge amounts of money on coaches and GM’s trying to get it right. They allow the GM to spend big in FA. IMO I think they should find the coach of the future first and then find a GM that fits the HC. I don’t want a GM to come in and give his buddy a first shot at being a HC.
Two names that might convince you the Fords are blameworthy.
Russ Thomas, GM (1967-88). Unlike the rest of the Lions organizational history, Thomas WAS indeed cheap. He ran it like a mom and pop store, pinching pennies. Mind you, this is still only 10 years removed from the glory days. And WCF let Thomas rule the team for 21 years until it was bad enough they were in position to draft Barry Sanders. Then Chuck Schmidt was bad enough to waste Barry Sanders career for the next decade afterwards.
Matt Millen. Bill Ford Jr’s hire. No other team has made such a blunder in a GM hiring. No need to go over this one.
So, when you say you don’t blame the Fords at all, you are just being nice I assume. Because they are indeed responsible for millions of Lions fans suffering since 1963.
Agree - Remember when COKE decided to change to New Coke - It was a disaster (the CEO’s Robert Goizueta’s idea). 79 days after going to NEW COKE they started back with the original formulation at Robert Goizueta’s leading.
My point is great leaders all make bad decisions. What separates them is the ability to recognize a bad decision and correct the course quickly. I would rather change management every year till we get it right than wait multiple years in hopes it will turn around.
If you look at my post two years ago you will see I was calling for MP to be replaced. I believe you can tell within 4 -5 games of a new coaches tenure if the team will perform well for him. Football history generally supports this theory. MP’s teams play flat, look unprepared and players are consistently out of position. They have been that way from the first game he coached. You show patience when you see players playing hard and getting better week in and week out. That has not been the case here. If the same problems persist after two years something is wrong. Put a tourniquet on it already. The fan base is almost a corpse now.
That’s shaky at best “they tried hard because they spent huge amounts of money.” If you were fortunate enough to own a NFL team YOU want your team to WIN period.
The Fords starting with William Clay Ford were millionaires IF not Billionaires off the Auto Industry. but my point is EVEN IF The NFL Team you aquired is a hobby, you want your team to win football games-right. But since before I was alive , has been losing. early?? wasn’t TOO bad, but that quickly dried up. IF you want your team to win…you make damn sure that you have experienced and able individuals to run the team !
so, you have a far greater chance of winning. WCF didn’t do that and the Lions began their downward spiral of loss…even way back then , nothing was changed ONCE the team was losing. It was a shoulder shrug in the face of Lions fans…and The Ford family did whatever else it wanted besides fixing the losing. This team has had almost 30 HC’s , I have no idea how many different GM’s and DC’s and OC’s BUT we kept losing more than we won and became a joke . I don’t know what Shelia will/won’t do , but before her??? we know it’s been a nightmare. Here in 2020 Lions fans are calling for heads to roll again ! Martha impressed me in The Caldwell era , firing a handful of people, that was a quality moment , BUT she didn’t throw here weight around about how this team better start winning…because it didn’t…soon—Caldwell was fired, and now we are in Patricia hell with Quinn and it’s still a clown show.
These people cannot build a “decent-level” defense and we have lost each game we have played in 2020 so far.
Bro you act like winning in the NFL is something you can just decide to do and the Ford’s haven’t. That’s not the case. Winning in the NFL is hard and I don’t believe the Ford’s don’t care if we win or not. If they didn’t care Millen would still be the GM. They’ve asked experts to help them find the right guy. They fire management and still have to pay them millions of dollars all because they are trying to get it right. If you were the owner what would you have done differently over the last 50 years? And no I don’t think we beat the Cards.
Um, WCF let Russ Thomas take a once-proud franchise (not far removed from multiple championships) and run it into the ground FOR TWENTY-ONE FREAKING YEARS. 21. Then he gave Schmidt 11 years. And Matt Millen 7 - until the total destruction of the franchise was complete.
You’re out of your mind if you think the Fords only had bad luck. Their incompetence is criminal.
Only ten years removed? That’s literally an entire career for most players. The Twenty One years you are talking about that Russ Thomas ran the organization the way he did was because WCF would’ve lost money if he hadn’t. The Lions were already bad when he took over and lost an exhibition game to an AFL team. This wasn’t the NFL where teams made billions on tv contracts. The NFL was nowhere near what it is today. The Lions have always been one of the worst teams selling tickets and still are. Chuck was a front and not an NFL caliber GM. He had very little to do with the product on the field. Millen wasn’t a great GM either but he was a football guy that had won championships and was respected and connected around the league. That’s a move to try to change things. Quinn was literally hired because the Ford’s were willing to listen to experts. They may have been lackluster in the past but that doesn’t change the fact that they have tried to change things up to win some football games. Paying a coach or GM millions of dollars to stay home because we aren’t winning should be all the proof you need. If they weren’t trying to win Russ Thomas would still be the GM trying to make as much $ as he could.
The Lions were the kings of the NFL in '57. 1963 is not far away. The Lion literally went with THREE loser GMs until 2000. And then they hired MATT MILLEN, who is widely regarded as the worst GM in NFL history. AND THEN they hired Martin Mayhew, his right hand man.
They finally asked for outside help and they wound up with Bob Quinn. I can finally say, well, at least they went outside to get a GM. But still…FAIL.
No doubt they keep failing, I just think they are trying. They know what an NFL championship would do for the city of Detroit. Lord knows the fans deserve it. I don’t think it’s all luck but I think it comes into play. I’ll always be a Lions fan and when they do ultimately win it’ll taste so muther eFing good. And you can’t compare some of those other franchises. Also, The Lions have always been far behind other teams at the gate. That was extremely massive in the 60’s and 70’s.
I want people to appreciate Thomas and Millen…but then appreciate what happened next for each. Thomas chit the bed, but when he got to retirement his understudy (Schmidt) got the gig. So a guy who mismanaged a team for decades, got the guy working under him promoted. Unreal. Schmidt wasn’t even a football guy, he was an accountant. And whats worse? We did it again with Millen. He mismanaged the team, and then promoted his understudy.
And for the grand finale, I would like to point out that between those 4 GMs (Thomas, Schmidt, Millen and Mayhew) that covers most Lions fans lifetimes. So what else do all 4 of them have in common? Not a single one of them spent a single day in the front office of another team. Not even as a low level scout. If we had a winning history that would make sense. But when we suck, it means we are just tripling down on suck. Of all the years we have rooted for this team, it never had a chance. We just didn’t know it…or were not willing to admit it.