Sheila Ford Hamp Makes Significant Change to Lions Ownership Philosophy

Sheila Ford Hamp Makes Significant Change to Lions Ownership Philosophy


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Sheila Ford Hamp looks on before a 2019 Lions game.

The Detroit Lions are trying hard to turn over a new leaf with the direction of their franchise this offseason and ownership is taking a more hands-on approach to help get them there.

Sheila Ford Hamp committed to big change this offseason and has delivered upon that promise. Now, the owner is staying involved as the team shifts its focus to the offseason. This week, Detroit advisor Chris Spielman went on WXYT 97.1 The Ticket and spoke about what’s been taking place. As he said as summed up by a tweet of Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, both he and Ford Hamp have been involved, if only from the periphery.

As Birkett says, suddenly there’s tons of folks sitting in the room helping to making decisions. Even though that is the case, the final calls come down to what Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell want to do, which should always be the case given they are the general manager and head coach respectively. The fact Ford Hamp and Speilman are in the room does not necessarily indicate that they are controlling what direction the team goes or making demands.

Having a team owner understand the direction of their franchise is a good move, and this level of involvement should only be seen as a positive by fans who might finally be witnessing a change in thinking from what’s been one of the worst franchises in sports.


Why Sheila Ford Hamp’s Involvement Isn’t a Concern

For decades, Lions fans have begged and pleaded for ownership to act interested in the team. They have been frustrated by the lack of success on the field and mystified that the bosses don’t seem to have the same level of care in the product. They’ve desired more communication and involvement from ownership in the process. Finally, the team seems to have an owner who understands that, which is a great sign for the future of the team.

Another advantage for the Lions? Ford Hamp might learn the inner-workings of football quickly, allowing her to become a more well-rounded and better manager of the franchise. There’s long been a temptation to label the Ford family absentee owners, but with this news, that is likely no longer the case.

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Martha Ford’s Ownership of Lions

Ever since her husband William Clay Ford passed away in 2014, Ford, 95, was the primary owner of the Lions. The team has been in the family since 1963, and most fans would admit that through the years, there hasn’t been a ton of good that has played out while the Fords have been primary owners. The Lions have just one playoff win in that span, and famously haven’t won a division title since 1994. Misery has been the most common emotion associated with the Lions during the family’s tenure as owners.

Since taking over from her husband, however, the elder Ford did show more of a propensity to shake things up rather let things sit and get stale. She hired Quinn from outside the organization a few years back. She also allowed the team to be aggressive in their pursuit of Matt Patricia. She’s allowed the team to spend to lure free agents to town and keep their own stars. Mr. Ford was more inclined to sit back and let his trusted associates run the show however they saw fit for however long. Ford maintains her drive is strong to be able to win, and her ultimate goal is to win a Super Bowl. At her advancing age, that might be difficult unless the Lions get things right in a major hurry.

This past offseason, Ford effectively passed the torch to her daughter, who is now calling the shots as it relates to the big franchise decisions.

So far, Ford Hamp has hit all the right notes as owner. Even though some might worry about her being more involved, it could only help the team try and find the right mix they have lacked moving forward.

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