Lions owner Martha Ford upset with NFL over bad calls

AP

Lions owner Martha Ford has maintained a very low public profile since becoming the sole owner of the franchise following the death of her husband, William Clay Ford, last year. But privately, Ford is speaking up about NFL officiating.

That’s the word from the Lions’ website, which is highlighting a statement coach Jim Caldwell made during his weekly radio appearance about Ford’s frustration with the bad call that went against the Lions on Monday night.

“I think people were kind of expecting our organization to put out a public statement about how egregious that particular no-call was, and all those kinds of things,” Caldwell said. “And don’t think Mrs. Ford is not upset. Don’t think that she doesn’t tell them [NFL officials] and give them a piece of her mind, because she is there at the league meetings – this week or yesterday. And without question, that’s done. We have a protocol that we go through.”

The NFL has told teams not to criticize the officials publicly, but the Lions are tiptoeing around that directive with Ford complaining privately and the team website spotlighting Caldwell’s confirmation of Ford’s complaints.

However they’re expressing their concerns, the Lions have every right to be miffed. Their 2014 season ended with a bad call in a playoff loss to the Cowboys, and now their 2015 season has been dealt a crippling blow in Seattle. Ford absolutely should complain to the league about that.

89 responses to “Lions owner Martha Ford upset with NFL over bad calls

  1. The bottom line is if $132 million dollar receiver Calvin Johnson doesn’t fumble the ball on the goal line, the Lions win.

  2. She may have to stand in line behind millions of fans who have been complaining about the league looking the other way, or seeming to, to benefit Seattle for the last 2-3 years. It’s been enough to make me seriously consider the fact the officiating could be fixed to benefit certain teams.

  3. She does realize the Lions had no business even being in that game, right? And that her player fumbled the ball into the endzone? And also that even if the refs gave her team the ball again that they were still trailing with no guarantee of winning that game, right?

  4. Good for her! The owners need to understand that poor officiating is undermining the integrity of the game and eroding the fan base. Once upon a time, I would watch every prime time game, and two games per Sunday including my favorite team. Due to inconsistent understanding and application of the rules by a group of part time refs, I make a point of watching my team and one other game.

  5. I wanted the Lions to win but the ref made a great call. The ball was going out of bounds anyway and Wright didn’t ‘bat’ the ball. It was a gentle nudge and you can’t give the Lions a win on that great defensive play.

  6. Sadly, the impetus for change comes AFTER the Lions get hosed on these calls, especially when it subsequently affects “marquee” teams. Eg once Dez Bryant/Cowboys were affected by the Calvin Johnson rule. Eg AFTER Jim Schwartz threw the challenge flag on the scoring play vs Texans and got the 15 yd penalty. NOW batting a ball in the end zone will become reviewable. It is hard cheering for this team despite Lion’s organisational blunders and also officiating mistakes that never go the Lion’s way

  7. Two thoughts:

    1 – That is why everything should be reviewable, as least with a challenge (even if in the last two minutes).

    2 – This isn’t “crippling blow” to the Lions. They are bad and would have been 1-3 at best if the call was called correctly. They are not good enough to challenge for the playoffs, regardless. So, if you already stink, nothing short of a death can be a crippling blow to your season.

  8. She looks like she just called the front desk, “So you are telling be there is no alcohol? What the hell are we suppose to do for two days?”
    Lucille Bluth would be proud.

  9. Maybe she and her fellow owners should pony up a little more cash and make the officials full-time employees.

  10. No one involved in the Lions ownership has a talking room regarding “bad calls”.

    This is the organization that kept Matt Millen as GM for a decade. And made Barry Sanders quit too soon. And has been to less playoff games in the last 50 years than the Jets have won.

  11. I’m absolutely convinced the NFL is rigged. Some of these calls are just sooo bad there is no other explanation. I wish the FBI or someone would start an investigation on these refs. It’s ruining the NFL and people are getting fed up with it. I refuse to buy anymore NFL related products until something is done about this. It reflects very,very poorly on the league, and I’d be willing to bet almost everything I own there is something shady going on, it’s just becoming too obvious.

  12. They don’t care about football in Detroit. They wasted one of the greatest running backs (Sanders) in the history of the league up there.

  13. Ya’ll act like the lions would have won if not for that call. Remember who your team is. Remember what QB and defense you were playing against. Both are quite capable of goal line stands (defense) and making last second clutch plays (QB). Bottom line is the Lions didn’t play well enough to win: bad call, no call or good call.

  14. Quit talking about the playoffs. I think that horse is already been beaten to death already. They didn’t lose because of that call. Stop Romo from throwing the game winner and keep Stafford from fumbling twice on the final drive.

  15. I think any fair-minded fan wants the refs to get it right all the time, the first time. And when they don’t we have replay for that. In the case of judgement calls , there’s not anything you can do but ignorance of the rules is as much a fault of the Lions coaching staff as it was the refs.

    So two different situations, one of which they can partially blame themselves.

  16. The league seems rigged to me. I don’t mean an agenda like X team wins the super bowl. I mean an agenda towards making money. $ drives the league, not the game. Calls are made with a financial benefit in mind. The odds of a call favoring a team seem directly related to 1) how close the game is and 2) how profitable a team will be to the league as the season progresses. Close playoff races and close games brings ratings and that brings money. With direct involvement by the league office on replays, it is much easier for the league to get the most profitable result. That is probably why the explanations tend to be ridiculous and/or vague whenever something that seem obvious to most fans are ruled the opposite way. Controversy sells also so no matter what they do, it will end in profit. Unless, of course they are caught with irrefutable proof of altering calls for monetary gain.

  17. What the NFL should fear above all else is the Las Vegas odds makers .If any game ever gets taken off the board than the Golden Goose is cooked .Just think about the fact that Pro Wrestling (wrastling) is entertainment and
    not sport .
    Integrity of the League ,protect the Shield my ass .Full time officials are too expensivefor an 11 billon business as are HD cameras for the goal line /back of the endzone. Replay /review for anything/everything at the discretion of the coach –is too hard to implement .
    For all the haters just think the NFL was willing to allow the possibility of out of reg balls in the AFC championship just to sting the Pats.
    The NFL was also willing to rig the entire 2015 season by forcing Brady to sit all based on faulty data .
    Clowns and more Clowns ruining not running one of the greatest games ever invented .

  18. I never understand the logic behind “well he shouldnt have fumbled… or Kam made a great play so what if KJ Wright knocked it out of the end zone.

    Rules are part of football. While bad calls are also part of the game, they shouldnt occur cause the ref doesnt actually know the rule. No one’s buying that he knew the rule but decided it wasnt an intentional bat. Thats inane.

    We see it all the time. A kick returner breaks one for 60 yards but wait, there’s a flag, a hold, away from the play drew a flag and the great runback gets called back. If the ref made the call he was supposed to make, he wouldnt have nullified Kam’s great pla, KJ Wright would have, cause neither he, nor his coach apparently know the rules of the game.

  19. It’s better for business if franchises from certain cities win. Detroit is not viewed as one of those cities/franchises.
    As we all were reminded this past offseason, there is no level to which the NFL will not stoop in order to keep its chosen franchises in the spotlight.

  20. I don’t think a big enough deal is being made about this issue.

    The referees single handedly gave the ball to the other team which entirely effected the outcome of this game.

    And in doing so violated the rules they are supposed to uphold and follow.

    Somehow on live TV, referees were allowed to completely change the possession of the ball and disallow the other team from scoring.

    It’s either rigged by gambling or the biggest embarrassing blunder I can recall since Ed Hoculi gifted Jay Cutler a win in Denver.

  21. To those who don’t think the NFL is above fixing results I give you that doozie formally known as deflategate. Now it’s referred to as Brady embarrasses Goodell and his merry band of followers.

  22. 1. Kam Chancellor made a great play, which has totally been lost.
    2. Megatron FUMBLED, which has totally been lost.
    3. Does anybody really think the Detroit team would have scored a TD against the best defense in the NFL in the last 20 years?
    4. Seattle had 2 timeouts left. If Detroit did score, there would have been over a minute left for Wilson to lead a comeback win. He has after all, scored the most 4th quarter and OT comeback wins since he joined the League. He would have again.
    5. So was that a bad call? Absolutely! Did the bad call deal a “crippling blow” to the Lions’ season? Not at all because they still would not have won.

  23. Seahawks fans are upset about the poor officiating too. Make no mistake, Seahawks fans (the ones that matter) want the team to win on merit, NOT because of crummy calls. One person made a comment above that there have been calls that seem “to benefit Seattle for the last 2-3 years”. I don’t know about that, but I can admit that Seattle has benefited from at least the Fail Mary and now This bad call (which I think the rule is the problem, but the rule exists and we need to live within the rulebook until the rulebook changes). There have probably been a few other games that had bad calls go our way, but I CAN attest to the FACT that a lot of bad calls go against the Seahawks too. So, if we are owning bad calls, we have to be honest about all bad calls. My point is that as fans, NONE of us want our team to win based on bad calls. So, as a Seahawks fan, I wish the ref would have known the rule and enforced it properly. Then the Seahawks would have had a chance to stop the Lions with a goal line stand. But, anyone saying the Lions “would” have won, is going too far. The Lions “probably” would have scored at least a field goal. And “maybe” they would have scored the touchdown to win. But, in either case, it’s not a given that the Lions would have won. I just wish the game had been decided based on the quality of play instead of blown calls. No fan should ever want that.

  24. Typical mentality in today’s world: blame others for your own problems. Watch, if the team goes say 5-11 this year then people will still look at that call and try and act like it caused the team to go 5-11.

    I also like how people just jump to conclusions based on blown calls. So the Lions would have FOR SURE won that game against Dallas and they would have FOR SURE won on Monday? Riiiight.

    The stupidity and simplistic thinking of so many is truly incredible.

  25. The refs screwed the packers and the Cowboys s few years ago. Game winning or losing plays should be reviewed. Most important, the refs should know the rules inside and out. If they screw up that bad then they should be suspended for several games without pay. Not sending a letter saying, we’re sorry.

  26. If every owner steps up to indicate that they would like to see the officiating process change so that missed calls, mistakes, errors, or oversights are reduced or eliminated, then that will have a positive effect on both the quality and profitability of the sport going forward, but nothing can change the result of any game in the past.

    I applaud her for any effort she contributes towards inspiring the league to adapt and adjust to any changes that benefit all parties, and for the next 3 months all that matters is anything that sharpens the focus on making our best effort to win as many games as it takes to make the playoffs.

    Go Lions! 🙂

  27. No. The bottom line is that of the refs do their job, that fumble is irrelevant. Thanks for trying though.

  28. I’m glad that Martha has the balls to say what Jim Caldwell avoids..

    But as has been said before, it still means nothing. As long as the Lions have the “image” of being the loser team, they will continue to get the short end of officiating, announcing, and public perception.

    The way I see it they’ll never be a winner, they’ll always just be that team that’s in the way of more popular teams. You can’t have a Packers, Patriots, and Steelers without the Washington Generals to lose to them.

  29. Everyone understands (NOW) that the flag should have been thrown and the Lions should have been awarded the ball, but I can guarantee you at the moment when the play just happened She wasn’t upset that the ref missed the call because she didn’t know he missed the call. No one (besides some rare fans here and there) really realized it till the two Head of Officiating guys told the nation that it should have been flagged…. Let’s all jump on the bandwagon after the game that the refs keep screwing up games on blown calls once everyone has a chance to really review the game multiple times! Hush up and feel lucky you were even competitive in that game.

  30. the worst thing about the nfl is the way its officiated…nothing kills a game quicker than a bogus 47 yard PI call & those shady penalties they never show on tv that negate a score or a big play.

    refs ruining the damn game

  31. kamthechancellor says:
    Oct 8, 2015 4:08 PM

    She does realize the Lions had no business even being in that game, right? And that her player fumbled the ball into the endzone? And also that even if the refs gave her team the ball again that they were still trailing with no guarantee of winning that game, right?
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Waaaaaaah. And if the Lions won, YOUR team would ALSO be 1-3. “No business being in the game”, indeed.

  32. azarkhan says:
    Oct 8, 2015 4:00 PM
    The bottom line is if $132 million dollar receiver Calvin Johnson doesn’t fumble the ball on the goal line, the Lions win.

    _______________________________________

    Bottom line: Refs make the call, the probability of the Lions winning goes to over 95%. Without making the correct call, it goes , to under 16%. So yes, by the refs not making the correct call affected the outcome of the game.

    Yet, Blandino, the henchman of Goodell, defends the ref.

  33. There is a rule book that everyone agrees on before the game starts. If you don’t like the rules, change them prior to the game. The refs blew the call and that cost the Lions the game. It’s not the ref’s fault. In college, replay would have overturned the call. There is a lot of money being bet on NFL games. Maybe the league wants to hold on to a little more control over the outcomes.

  34. The officiating has been horrendous. I can’t stand Rex Ryan but the officiating in their game last weekend made it look to me like the NFL is rigged. The calls that went against the Bills were absurd. The holding call on the long run by Tyrod Taylor was a totally phantom call. Either the ref had money on the game or he has a personal vendetta against the Bills organization. Then you look at the Seattle game and see that terrible call. It’s like the NFL has the teams they want to succeed for ratings or whatever and the officiating reflects the NFL’s quest for those ratings.

  35. chargerdillon says:
    Oct 8, 2015 4:49 PM

    I don’t think a big enough deal is being made about this issue.

    The referees single handedly gave the ball to the other team which entirely effected the outcome of this game.

    And in doing so violated the rules they are supposed to uphold and follow.

    Somehow on live TV, referees were allowed to completely change the possession of the ball and disallow the other team from scoring.

    It’s either rigged by gambling or the biggest embarrassing blunder I can recall since Ed Hoculi gifted Jay Cutler a win in Denver.
    ————————————————-
    So Johnson didn’t single handedly lose the game for the Lions by fumbling the ball…….Or was it the Lions entire offense who failed to score to keep the game close. Yes the refs missed a call at the end of the game that had an effect on the possession of the ball. But so did 99% of people watching the game at the time. No one knew it was an incorrect/blown call before they came on after the game was over to say it was a blown call. Stop whining about the refs. The lions lost the game before that happened.

  36. chargerdillon says:
    Oct 8, 2015 4:49 PM

    I don’t think a big enough deal is being made about this issue.

    The referees single handedly gave the ball to the other team which entirely effected the outcome of this game.

    And in doing so violated the rules they are supposed to uphold and follow.

    Somehow on live TV, referees were allowed to completely change the possession of the ball and disallow the other team from scoring.

    It’s either rigged by gambling or the biggest embarrassing blunder I can recall since Ed Hoculi gifted Jay Cutler a win in Denver.
    ————————————————-
    So Johnson didn’t single handedly lose the game for the Lions by fumbling the ball…….Or was it the Lions entire offense who failed to score to keep the game close. Yes the refs missed a call at the end of the game that had an effect on the possession of the ball. But so did 99% of people watching the game at the time. No one knew it was an incorrect/blown call before they came on after the game was over to say it was a blown call. Stop whining about the refs. The lions lost the game before that happened.

    __________________________________

    Or you could say by scoring a whopping 13 points at home, Seattle deserved to lose.

  37. I disagree about bashing the Lions talent level and drafting. Even with poor drafting, statistical luck would lead to more wins. Ridiculous calls against small market teams such as the Lions and Browns occur at an alarming rate. The NFL is about to get exposed for ensuring certain teams always remain on top and certain teams always remain in the cellar. Role the tape back in the last 10 years on bad calls for all 32 team, and then lets look at the data. Data doesn’t lie.

  38. scrp2 says:
    Oct 8, 2015 4:09 PM
    I wanted the Lions to win but the ref made a great call. The ball was going out of bounds anyway and Wright didn’t ‘bat’ the ball. It was a gentle nudge and you can’t give the Lions a win on that great defensive play.
    ——————
    Even Blandino called out the ref for not making the call. A gentle nudge IS batting the ball and IS against the rules. The Lions wouldn’t have been given the win; they would have been gotten the ball back and given another chance to win it without the refs help.

  39. Yes Calvin Johnson did fumble the ball but this is not the end of the play.

    The play ends with the Seattle Seahawks batting the ball out of the endzone which by rule is a penalty and should have made it Detroit first down.

    I’m neither a Lions nor a Seahawks fan, but the rules of the NFL were egregiously broken by the referees on the field themselves.

    Nobody in the booth even corrected them even though it’s their job to BACKUP the officials. They all entirely failed and in the process took the ball away from the Lions and gave it to the Seahawks on their own blind decision.

    That is a real problem.

  40. Probably she is too old for the guys running the Lions to have passed the memo on to her, that the NFL has determined that certain predetermined games will be decided by the officials. She just wouldn’t understand.

  41. Reverse the teams and all the “If Megatron doesn’t fumble…” posters would be “The refs can’t stand to see Seattle dominate….”. If it was your team you’d be pissed,and rightfully so. Saying ANYTHING else is a complete and utter lie.

  42. I’d be more sympathetic toward Mrs Ford if it weren’t for the fact that the NFL owners are the crooked ones.

  43. Its completely irrelevant whether the Lions could have won that game. Yes there was about 1:50 left in the game, if Detroit scored on that drive and the recovered an onside kick they most certainly had a chance to win. Even if the Lions didn’t recover the onside kick, at least they would have an a chance but when the ref looking directly at the player who batted the ball out of the end zone didn’t throw the flag, he decided the game, even if you don’t like the rule its there and should have been enforced.

  44. Geeze – it’s just a blown call

    You gotta wonder how she’d feel if Roger Goodell blatantly attempted to frame and slander her team’s starting QB

  45. The Lions “2015 season has been dealt a crippling blow in Seattle” only because they also lost their first 3 games. No team should rely on the Refs getting the call right to protect their season. If they win the other games the Lions record is 3-1, with a hiccup in Seattle.

  46. She should be upset with her parents for naming her Martha!

    Is there a Martha that isn’t a cranky old bitch?

    “Martha, Martha, Martha!!!” said Cindy Brady…

  47. zack2482 says:
    Oct 8, 2015 4:25 PM

    Quit talking about the playoffs. I think that horse is already been beaten to death already. They didn’t lose because of that call. Stop Romo from throwing the game winner and keep Stafford from fumbling twice on the final drive.
    _____________________

    And Suh cried on the podium after the game. Cried. He was being held by two Dallas offensive linemen play after play at the end of the game. It was so egregious. Yet no calls.

  48. Crybaby fans

    Crybaby players and management

    Crybaby owners

    Detroit just needs to come to terms with the fact that they’re in FULL Swing Decline and have failed miserably at trying to contend!

    Hyzers knows what I’m talking about! 8)

  49. If one of the favored teams, ie. Green Bay, New England or Seattle would have been jobbed like the lowly Lions were, NFL brass would be all over this, clamoring for a rule change.

    The NFL, home of the privileged few..

  50. The Detroit Lions will continue to be the laughingstock of the NFL until the Ford family sells the franchise.

  51. 1smoothoperator says:
    Oct 8, 2015 6:09 PM

    Its completely irrelevant whether the Lions could have won that game. Yes there was about 1:50 left in the game, if Detroit scored on that drive and the recovered an onside kick they most certainly had a chance to win. Even if the Lions didn’t recover the onside kick, at least they would have an a chance but when the ref looking directly at the player who batted the ball out of the end zone didn’t throw the flag, he decided the game, even if you don’t like the rule its there and should have been enforced.
    ________________________

    Onside kick? What game were you watching? Detroit scores and they’re up 17-13. Seattle would have had to score a TD to win.

  52. Officiating, commercials are making the NFL unwatchable. They call the dumbest penalties that have no impact on the play, then they screw up way too much on calls that do affect the outcome of the game.

    The bottom line of replay should be to get the call right. No blah blah blah this play isnt reviewable by replay non-sense, no the whistle blew the play dead garbage call, no out of challenges non-sense rule.

    With how bad officiating is getting there should be no limit on challenges. And save it disrupts the flow of the game copout by the NFL. Your 9 million commercials disrupt the game and u dont care about it

  53. Come on Lion fans…this is ridiculous.

    #1. The ball would’ve bounced out of bounds. He gave it a love tap and easily could have picked it up without any struggle if he knew about the rule.

    #2. Why is this a rule? Player safety??? I think not. It’s completely arbitrary. Let’s not create more rules to throw more flags. No fan watching that game was like, “Oh no he didn’t! In section 231.6, paragraph A, line 7, it clearly states a defensive player cannot tap a loose ball out of bounds when in the endzone”. Nobody knew that rule until the next day because it’s completely absurd.

    #3. This takes the spotlight away from a dominating defensive performance from the Hawks & a QB who played amazing.

    Lions lost because their offense played terrible for 57 minutes. Their D was solid though.

  54. At hire each ref should be asked which is his (or her) favorite team and not be allowed to ref those games.
    And you cant tell me some teams don’t get calls favoring them, Packers at home are the worst!
    seems the refs beleive they OWE them or something.

  55. I’m convinced they’re not”bad” calls as much as strategic calls. The NFL would like a certain result. No better way to achieve that than strategic calls.
    Guaranteed. They’re putting the fix in. Have to make the product popular.
    It’s entertainment now. Like WWE.
    It’s all BS in other words. If you’re buying season tickets these days, you’re a sucker.
    Period

  56. Every fan will say the same thing over and over about how you should not let the refs decide the game, but guess what this is the NFL and nobody is going to lay down for you.

    When the officials cannot even do their jobs properly and seemingly do not enforce rules they should know why the heck do we tolerate half – assed excuses from the league office saying “Yeah, we screwed up. Sorry”

    The games might not be rigged entirely, but anyone with a working brain has to see that some of these calls are contrived and in favor certain teams and players.

    If it ain’t about the money…….

  57. For all the ‘Hawks fans saying the batted ball rule is stupid and obscure anyway, so is the rule that gives the ball to the defense if an offense fumbles the ball and it goes out of bounds through the end zone. You can’t have it both ways. It’s okay that the mother of all ridiculously arbitrary rules was in your favor but Detroit fans are whiners because another obscure (but just as valid) rule was not applied correctly? Did I get that right? Honestly feel bad for the real fans of that team that have to put up with being lumped in with all the know nothing band wagon fools that will be crying in a year or two and gone in five.

    I also feel for Lions fans that such a pivotal call was blown after their team had fought the defending conference champs to a stand still and were in position to not only get off the snide but also go a long way towards giving their team something to build off. That said, your best player let the ball get punched out and had it never been touched in the end zone it would have been Seattle’s ball. Give the devil his due, Chancellor made a great play

  58. It truly is a sad when officials don’t even know what they are officiating. What’s even worse is that it’s not even their fault. The NFL is entirely to blame for this mess. Pure and simple. The NFL could and should start by employing all of it’s officials YEAR round. When they are not actually officiating games they should be training by reviewing the rules, performing situational awareness drills and whatever other duties deemed necessary in an effort aimed toward providing the best officiating possible. It’s certainly not like the NFL can’t afford it. And by all means hold officials accountable. While nobody is perfect there has to be a higher standard than what presently exist. Where is the NFL’s sense of pride?

  59. I don’t like the Seahawks, and I think that referees should make whatever calls are necessary to ensure that they lose. Any other result is unfair.

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