The Detroit Lions may have a new head of their organization, but vice chairman Bill Ford Jr. told reporters Monday morning at the NFL owners meetings that nothing is going to change when it comes to how the team operates.
“I always felt that ownership, at all levels, is really there to provide support to an organization,” Ford Jr. told the Detroit Free Press and others at the owners meetings. “And so whether it’s my father, whether my mother, whether it’s me or anyone else, it’s to put the resources in place, hire the best people, make sure they’re well supported and then do reviews on the performance to make sure they’re all held accountable to a high standard. And that won’t change.
“I think that there are different ownership models around the league. I’ve never felt that a terribly hands-on model fit our organization well.”
This can be looked at as both positive and negative.
In the positive, continuing the same type of ownership offers stability and structure during a time when the organization needs it following the death of William Clay Ford Sr. earlier this month at age 88. This can give a level of comfort to everyone in the franchise -- from those whose jobs depend on winning and losing to those employees whose job has nothing to do with the on-field results.
The negative, though, would represent the argument that stability is not what the Lions need right now. It has been that stability and decisions made that led to the Lions being one of the worst teams in all sports from a win-loss perspective during the Super Bowl era. This is still a team that has yet to make a Super Bowl and has won just one playoff game in the modern era of the league.
So perhaps they needed more of a hands-on owner than what the Fords have been in the past.
It would seem, though, that Bill Ford Jr., in his role as vice chairman, will have more say than he did before. He already met with free-agent wide receiver Golden Tate days after his father's death and has been increasing his activity with the team over the past few years. He certainly would represent a more public face than William Clay Ford Sr., who had the ear and the respect of the league's owners but did not often speak publicly.
The realist perspective for Detroit would be for the owners to stay hands-off in decision-making but to take more of an active role in the day-to-day of the franchise, and that is something that could end up happening as Ford Jr. continues in his same role with his mother as the head of the team instead of his father.