something that I always wondered about and I need your thoughts on it. see The Detroit Lions lost a lot over the years and ownership seemed to be fine with it. during the way back machine, when we lost and lost and lost? I always wondered how and why. I mean The Fords were immensely powerful and wealthy and “could have had” the best staff and winning , experienced, and most knowledgeable football minds money could buy for our staff WAY back. my question is , do you think that William and Martha disagreed on how to spend cash THAT way? because they did not make sure to do that or TRY because the team just lost. did they fight and argue about how to spend funds to ensure The Lions would be given every chance to win? I’ve been a fan since 1978 and we lost FAR more than won football games, and frankly --they had some real characters actually trying to run the team in my time…and it has been a circus ! The lead clowns were Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn. but there were many others who never one time lead this team to a bowl.

I do believe that WCF and Martha had a sizeable argument about the cost of putting thee most experienced, professional, game-winning individuals in the front office a very long while ago, and that is why it never happened. The team has never played like Lions “The King Of The Jungle” we have played like kittens or pardon my french… pussies far more often and 0-16 hammered that home. The Lions were the laughing stock of the league , and people gave you that “look” when you said “your a Lions fan” or cracked jokes. “your a Lions fan !?” …“why !?” It was an embarassment for a long time to be a ‘fan’ , I ask you…do you think WCF and Martha could have had the team winning way more AND why didn’t they !?

I know it’s not a popular opinion, but I don’t have a huge problem with ownership.

This is partially due to the fact that owners influence the result on the field far less than people imagine, partially due to the fact that the Fords are top-notch in the ways that owners really matter (building their own stadium, committed to the area, not cheap), and partially due to the fact that they’ve tried virtually every way of doing things.

Your assertion about the Lions not spending on the front office simply isn’t true. Millen the Doofus was among the highest-paid GMs, and I don’t think Batboy was acquired on the cheap.

I also don’t buy the argument people make about “demanding excellence” - as if all you need to do is put your foot down and say you won’t accept losing. Winning in the NFL is one of the few situations in this world that is truly a zero-sum game, and every owner wants to win.

Did Jerry Jones just stop “demanding excellence” once Jimmy Johnson left? Does Dan Snyder spend like a drunken sailor while forgetting to demand that his team wins? Was Bob Kraft so busy getting his butter churned by tug job professionals that he forgot to demand excellence until Bill B. showed up? I know you didn’t make this argument, Wolf, but it’s so stupid I wanted to nip it in the bud.


Why put more money into the organization when you fill the stadium every Sunday whether you win or lose?

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I believe WCF was too loyal to his people. A great trait in some ways, but the lack of accountability would have never been accepted in the auto company.

I also believe that WCF’s focus was not on the Lions. I believe he was hands off, another trait that can cut both ways.

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The Fords have always spent money. They have gone out and signed the free agents the coaches wanted, with no issues on the cost. They built a new stadium downtown, along with a state of the art practice facility. They have kept ticket prices low for the fans to ge able to afford them.

Shoot Jerry Jones is considered one of the best owners and how many playoff wins do the cowboys have since Jimmy Johnson left? 3 since 1996 and one of those was a PI no call that won the game for them


I’ve had my misgivings about ownership in the past but right now I’m doing the Hampty Hamp.



I also like my oatmeal lumpy.


William Clay Ford loved Russ Thomas. Russ Thomas was terrible at his job for decades, while other NFL teams built up their culture, fan base, and winning attitude during the dawn of the Super Bowl Era. Russ Thomas had to die for WCF to finally let him go. Although the Millen debacle extended it for another 20 years or so, that is the reason the Lions have won 1 playoff game in the past 60 years. It was a the proverbial blind squirrel finding a nut, and had nothing to due with top level competence.

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I was going to use this GIF but I thought some would not remember Digital Underground and find it crass


I can’t live in the past anymore!!!

Just give me a win on opening day and let’s take it from there!!! :crazy_face:

I think the front office was the Ford’s biggest failing.

I give Martha credit for admitting she didn’t know what she was doing, in that regard, and seeking assistance. Not really her fault the league pointed her in the idiot direction.

Senior figured if he gave people long enough in the position, they’d eventually become competent. That might work in corporate, as long as you don’t have too much competition, but it’s never going to happen in a winner takes all arena like the NFL.

I give Sheila the most credit thus far, for bringing in people to advise her that actually have a vested, deeply emotional, interest in wanting the team to succeed before she began hiring. Whether it works out or not, I give her full credit for stepping outside the shadow of her predecessors and trying something many on this board have been advocating for years.

As far as arguments between Senior and Martha, over the Lions, I just don’t see it. Had Martha been that invested in the Lions, I find it rather doubtful she would have been reaching out to the league for advice. Even a casual investor does their homework and develops favorites amongst the CEO’s of the companies they’re invested in. That’s not to say Martha wasn’t keeping tabs on family investments, but I think the Lions were seldom more than a high profile, rounding error, on their balance sheet. :thinking:


Their loss. Some of us are big like a pickle, and still getting paid.

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With the one constant

And watching how much ownership makes a difference to other teams.

Even if in other sports

I’d say look at Warriors who then got smart aggressive ownership who saw value in winning.

While as fans we can see lions as top notch fir some things

Think how BQ upgraded the weight room … so how long was it outdated ?

I remember a story in lions not having in house nutritionist

Ask nfl agents that represent players off the record what professional opinion is on lions ownership too

I’m not saying they’re evil ownership , or everything is bad

Since community wise
It seems like they’re all in for Detroit and Michigan. They have a hiring record that the nfl is striving for in teems of giving qualified and diverse candidates an opportunity in lead roles ….
They didn’t hold the tax payers ransoms fir stadium.

Not giving your good players second contracts might be seen as cheap imo

I do wish Martha would give an in depth on her feelings from her era.

She had players and coaches she obviously cared about and moved in from. She was maybe better off not listening to the league anc trusting her gut.

@wolfcub36 nice post btw !

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I think moving on from Mayhew, and rightfully so, was a huge step into the unknown for Martha. Mayhew, and the entire Millen holdover front office, was not built to produce a winner. I’d bet if Mayhew had it all over to do again, he’d bring in someone like Dorsey and take a meat cleaver to the rest of the front office.

Unfortunately, by bringing Quinn in, they hired a marionette locked into one way of doing business.

That’s where Martha failed.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who is the most optimistic about this front office than any in the last forty years.


Stadium revenue is only a fraction of the revenues for the NFL, and they split the receipts between home/away teams and redistribute at the end of the year.

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Really? I thought gate, concessions, parking, etc. was all exempt from profit sharing in the NFL. I thought it was only TV and merchandise that was shared.

I know the totality of revenue is used for collective bargaining (at least for the current and recent past labor contracts), but I thought the owners were all kind of “on their own” for locally-generated revenue.

This has been gone over ad nauseum, and the truth is always the same. WCF wasn’t cheap. He invested plenty of money in stadium and practice facilities over his tenure. The Lions were never lacking in resources. He wasn’t stingy. He was willing to spend the money (and did, on more than one occasion).

His issue (and Martha’s, to a lesser extent) was his inability to find good GMs/coaches and/or cut ties with the bad ones. WCF clearly cared, he just picked the wrong horses and rode them too long. Hamp looks like she’s better at picking her stable at this point- we’ll see how she is at cutting ties when (if) things go south.


It’s not necessarily lack of spending money. To me, what you focus on, you find. WCF appeared to be a nice old dude that was proud to own a football team. To him, the Lions are a prestigious place to take friends and family after church, as well as a profitable business. In his eyes…win/win. It’s not as much lack of money spent as it is lack of ENERGY spent. He was content to let it ride, and was not determined to win. He was happy to be an owner.

Martha had twice the balls WCF did, in getting bold with decision making. She tried…and it was a few twists of the Rubik’s cube that didn’t work…Sheila was watching. As someone that’s never seen a franchise win, Sheila has learned a lot about what it takes to create a winner. She’s putting more effort and energy, layers of accountability, football minds in place, etc than has ever been done in the past. We can all see this is different.

Martha, IMO, was attempting to kick ass, and learned that it took even more effort than she thought. I believe she truly did what she thought was right.

Sheila has learned from Mom’s mistakes, and is implementing what appears to be any amount of change that is necessary to create a winner. Simply put, she cares more. She hasn’t been as distracted by running a massive company as the Fords were. She has more energy, more relentlessness, more determination, and a much higher “give a shit” factor.

Sheila is a good owner. Loving this. I think she’ll try her ass off in ways that WCF never did.


Alot of the things you touched on are kept by the home team as “local revenue.” Ticket sales are not one of those things. The home team keeps 60% and the other 40% gets thrown into a pot and distributed amongst all teams. That’s why you see someone like Jerry Jones fighting to get some unrelated team a new stadium or to relocate. If the Buffalo Bills suddenly start getting more attendance, Jerry gets more money in his gate receipt split.

Luxury suites and different mechanisms teams use to drive up costs to attend games are also kept as local revenue. So if Doctor Love Enterprises wants to pay $2M to have a suite at Ford Field, that will go to Sheila and she’s not going to share it with Jerry. :joy: