Thursday’s firings a sign of things to come for Lions?

NOTE: The views expressed in this EDITORIAL do not necessarily reflect the views of Detroit Sports Nation or a majority of its writers and should not be misconstrued as such. The views contained within are the views of the author and the author alone.


 

On Thursday, Detroit Lions owner Martha Ford and her family rolled into the headquarters of the team and decided to make some big, bold front office personnel decisions. President Tom Lewand and General Manager Martin Mayhew were unexpectedly fired from their respective positions. Head coach Jim Caldwell and the rest of his staff remains…..for now.

This surprised many around the football world, not just the Lions faithful. For the fans of Honolulu Blue, they were surprised to see their owner come out of her shell and make such a move you simply do not see during the regular season. Plus, her late husband and former owner of the Lions, William Clay Ford Sr., was one of strong loyalty and patience that often backfired on him when making moves regarding the team. In particular, when former Lions GM Matt Millen held his position questionably longer than many believed he should have.

For the general football fan, and most experts, they were only shocked to see a president and GM fired mid-season. Other than that, a majority would simply just shrug their shoulders and say, “Well, that’s the Lions for ya. They do this in cycles.”

Arguments like that can not be fought over. Sure, they’ve made two playoff appearances in the five seasons prior to this  2015 campaign. They had a respectable string of making the playoffs throughout the 1990’s, but could never get quite over the hump, having not won a playoff game since ’91 divisional round. Sandwiching those what seem to be now outlier and fluke playoff berths, are more seasons of disappointment and embarrassment. Most importantly, it is a culture of losing that fans have come to expect year in and year out.

Ford and her children are in year two of running the team since the passing of her husband. Last season there were few concerns. The team put out a stout defense, and an offense that was more balanced than the Lions are use to. This season? They resorted back to their losing ways. A puzzling 1-7 start to the season has led to five Lions’ personnel already being fired with the back half of the schedule to go still.

Is Martha Ford’s drastic move potentially a sign of things to come?

For the last few weeks now, there were rumbles in the rumor mill that there may be changes with the team itself, particularly around notable highly paid stars, quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson.

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A lot of fans speculate that in order for this futile franchise to turn in the right direction for good, and for both Ford’s actions and feelings about carrying out her promise of doing so to be truly validated, the Lions need to move on from both Stafford and Johnson, as well as fellow receiver Golden Tate.

Stafford is under contract through the 2017 season. Tate is a free agent after the 2018 season, and Calvin is eligible for free agency a year later. All three names were tossed around in trade talks over the last few weeks. I personally believe that part of the reason that Lewand and Mayhew were let go was because they never hinted at the idea of exploring potential trades. Perhaps Mrs. Ford would have liked to see the rebuild begin and see if they would pull the trigger. Instead, she decided to hit the big red button herself and can them.

We can sit here and complain about all the poor performances on the field over the years like a broken record. Yet, we all are guilty of tuning in every Sunday afternoon and Thanksgiving Thursday to watch them. In turn, we get angry at the new way they discover how to lose a football game week after week.

This is going to sound like something we’ve all heard before as well, but we need some “leadership and direction”, as Ford described Thursday afternoon in her roughly two-minute press conference announcing the changes. She showed something today that Lions fans likely would not have expected. A passion and care for her team and their success. With no disrespect to her late husband, and may he rest in peace, but God knows how Lewand and Mayhew and others would still be a part of this franchise that is merely the laughing stock of professional sports.

Lions fans get crazy drunk for a reason. Forbes warns teams to not be like the Detroit Lions for a reason. Without the trustworthy leadership, proper development, and thorough evaluation of personnel both on and off the field, the passion and care fans display towards their teams will always go by the wayside if the team is not putting out a winning product.

I commend Martha Ford for coming out and doing what she did. Whether it is right or wrong is irrelevant, it had to be done.

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