On Dec. 22, 1957, the Detroit Lions defeated the Cleveland Browns by a score of 59-14 to win their fourth NFL Championship. Lions fans celebrated and though I was not living at the time, I’ve been told it was the greatest time ever to be a fan.
Since that day, the Lions have won exactly ONE playoff game (1-12 total) and it seems like winning a Super Bowl is a pipe dream.
In 1963, William Clay Ford, Sr. purchased the Lions and though there have been plenty of incompetent people come through the organization, the buck stops with the person at the top. That person is now Martha Firestone Ford and she has done little to make Lions fans believe better days are ahead.
During Sunday’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a giant “Sell The Team” banner was held up for the world to see and you cannot help but to feel that sentiment growing amongst the Lions fan base.
Now, let me be clear. Due to financial reasons (capital gains taxes), I do not think the Ford family will sell the Lions any time soon, nor should they.
That being said, it is important for Martha Ford to extend an olive branch (or a few of them) to Lions fans to prove that she is willing to do whatever it takes to win a Super Bowl.
Here are 3 things Martha can do to win back Detroit Lions fans.
Fire Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia
This one is obvious. Since taking over as general manager of the Detroit Lions, Bob Quinn has made bad move after bad move and the roster is worse now than it was when he took over. He loves to come across like he is the smartest man in the room yet he has proven he is not.
Tied to Quinn is Lions head coach Matt Patricia, who was once seen getting out of a plane wearing a shirt featuring NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell with a clown nose.
Patricia came into Detroit guns blazing and demanded that just about everything change despite the Lions winning nine games in the previous season.
But the biggest knock on Patricia is that he was hired because he is a “defensive guru” and now the Lions have one of the worst defenses in the NFL and they are on pace to be one of the worst defenses in franchise history.
Hire a team president who actually has a clue about football
When the Detroit Lions hired Rod Wood to be their next team president, not many knew who he was so they were willing to give him a chance.
Well, that chance took a big hit when Wood revealed that he “is not a football guy.”
Wait, what?!?! Martha Ford hired Wood to be the team president of her football team but he admits he is not a football guy!?!?
It is time for Martha to prove to us that she cares about winning football games and not just making a buck off the fans.
Form a relationship with the fans and make management do the same
For a long time, everything has seemed to be a big secret with the Lions organization. Ownership almost never speaks to the fans and upper management (team president and GM) have followed suit.
I believe that it is time for Martha and the rest of upper management to start speaking to us fans on a regular basis to update us on the happenings in the organization. You know, make an attempt to form a bond with the Lions community that pays millions to watch her team.
Let’s face it, things absolutely suck right now but it would be a nice gesture to hear from the higher-ups in the organization to assure us they are doing everything they can to win a Super Bowl.
Just a start
Now, even if Martha does the things listed above, it will not turn things around immediately. She will have to continue to do whatever she can to make us fans feel like we are actually part of Lions Nation.
Martha Ford is not going to sell the Detroit Lions but that does not mean that the status quo is the way to go.