Martha Ford tells Lions fans: You’ve done your part, we must do ours

AP

Lions owner Martha Ford is asking fans to bear with her as she begins yet another rebuilding process for the franchise.

In a letter to season ticket holders, Ford noted that the fans have stuck by the Lions even as they’ve gone 58 years without a championship and had the worst record in the NFL in the 21st Century.

“The organizational changes I made last week reflect not only our disappointment with this season, but also underscore our commitment to each of you,” Ford wrote. “You deserve much better. Your support, loyalty and passion for the Lions over the years has been nothing short of remarkable. You have done your part. Now we must do our part. You deserve a Lions football team that is a consistent winner and one that competes for championships.”

The 90-year-old Ford has shown that she has less patience than her late husband, William Clay Ford, who in his decades owning the Lions was always very hesitant to make changes within the front office. Now the question is whether Martha Ford can find something her husband never did: A G.M. who can build a Super Bowl team.

61 responses to “Martha Ford tells Lions fans: You’ve done your part, we must do ours

  1. No question the Lions franchise was poorly run by the late William Clay Ford, but biggest current problem is one they are not ready to confront. While he may be a physical stud with a rocket arm, Matthew Stafford is uncoachable and not a leader. He is actually a coach killer with very poor mechanics. You can’t tell this guy anything. He has consistently insisted there is no problem, everything is fine. He has even opposed and blocked players only meetings. Things will not get better as long as he is their starter.

  2. If Martha Ford is serious, she needs to hire the best available person to change this team around, and get it headed in the right direction.

    No one is better at this than Bill Parcells.

    Show the Lions fans that you mean business.

  3. This is sad.

    FYI – I am an old coot and have been a fan of pro football since the mid 50s, when the Browns and the Lions were 2 of the rulers of pro football, and this is sad.

    The lions franchise is owned by a 90 year old woman whose ultra-rich family has owned it for what seems like forever, the franchise itself has been pathetic for almost that long, and she’s saying better times are coming.

    This is pathetic.

  4. Go figure that in a male-dominated sport, it takes a 90-year old woman to kick ass, show some attitude to win, isn’t threatening to move the team and is willing to put her ass on the line to prove that she is demanding a winning product. I want her as commish.

  5. wryly1 says:
    Nov 14, 2015 7:00 AM
    No question the Lions franchise was poorly run by the late William Clay Ford, but biggest current problem is one they are not ready to confront. While he may be a physical stud with a rocket arm, Matthew Stafford is uncoachable and not a leader. He is actually a coach killer with very poor mechanics. You can’t tell this guy anything. He has consistently insisted there is no problem, everything is fine. He has even opposed and blocked players only meetings. Things will not get better as long as he is their starter.

    ______________________

    He is the best QB the Lions have ever had and there is no one to replace him with. He is the fastest QB ever to reach 20,000 yards. (Not Manning, not brady, not marino, not farve, not aikman, not montanna no that was Stafford). They would be fools to trade him. If they built the O-Line and gave him more than 1-2 secs to throw he would surprise many (his line was decent in 2011 and 2014 and the team ended up winning 10 and 11 games). The simple fact is at many teams would be lining up for his services as QB next year.

    -Jets
    -Bills
    -Texans
    -49ers
    -Rams
    -Bears
    -Browns
    -Saints
    -Broncos
    -Eagles
    -Redskins
    -Chiefs

    All those teams have QB issues going into 2016 and at least you know what you are getting instead of a draft pick that has a high chance of busting out (see RGIII, Jamarcus Russel, Matt Leinart, Vince Young etc). I would much rather see Stafford get some O-Line help not any new TE, WR and RB but OL help that the former GM though was needed. Add a new OC that plays to his strengths and does try to fit a square peg into a round hole. Add some help on defense and boom the Lions can be right back in it.

  6. wryly1 says:
    Nov 14, 2015 7:00 AM

    No question the Lions franchise was poorly run by the late William Clay Ford, but biggest current problem is one they are not ready to confront. While he may be a physical stud with a rocket arm, Matthew Stafford is uncoachable and not a leader. He is actually a coach killer with very poor mechanics. You can’t tell this guy anything. He has consistently insisted there is no problem, everything is fine. He has even opposed and blocked players only meetings. Things will not get better as long as he is their starter.
    ————————————————————-
    You might be right, but given the lack of quality QB play in the league there is no way you can give up on Stafford unless you have a better alternative.

    If they did let him go via trade or whatever, there would be multiple teams happy to pay for his services.

  7. The NFL has gone way too far in their drive to expand the league; it’s clear that it’s severely diluted the talent and management pool to the point where it’s a league of 4-5 good teams, 15-16 utterly mediocre teams, and 10-12 really bad teams who are institutionally stuck in awfulness. It’s time for the league to contract, and fold some of these awful teams that will always be bad, and no one cares about. Like the Lions.

  8. Martha Ford says,
    “but also underscore our commitment to each of you,” Ford wrote. “You deserve much better. Your support, loyalty and passion for the Lions over the years has been nothing short of remarkable. You have done your part. Now we must do our part. ”
    ———————————————-
    I would be more impressed if she said that in the mean time, in consideration of the support and loyalty already provided, she is going to drop the price of season tickets by 10%, concessions by 15%, team merchandise by 20%, give 500 tickets per game to inner city families and challenge all the other team owners to do the same. And if she went one step further and initiated a process to fire Goodell and clean out all his minions, I’d nominate her for president.

  9. Block, this whole season was based on Hope. Hope the line improved waddle?lucas? Rookie Tomlinson ? Second yr. center Swanson, Reiff digressed. T.E’s always hurt. BLOCK

  10. Empty words on a sheet of paper, considering they’ve already screwed the process up. When you fire the president and GM, you have to fire the coach. The only alternatives are:
    1. hire a GM / President that will accept not being able to bring in their own guy, which means hiring a bad GM / President.
    2. let the Lions play out the season for an absolute sitting duck of a coach.

  11. You’re saying the right things, Martha. For decades we’ve been waiting for your family to put together a winning franchise. It hasn’t happened. You get one chance. No change, you need to go.

  12. @wryly1 says:

    I couldn’t agree more, and some people may not want to admit it because they paid him a ton of money and he’s had some productive seasons offensively. He’s also been surrounded with crazy offensive talent, numerous 1st Rd picks and even those productive years he was throwing WAY too much.

    He has regressed. He has been given a lot of room and time to grow and unfortunately is trending in the wrong direction. It’s time to move on. I admittedly am not a lions fan so I won’t pretend to quote his contract numbers, but if you can get out from under it with a relatively small hit this off season I would in a heart beat. He makes too much annually compared to what you get in return. Bottom line is he isn’t getting better as years go by.

    I am hesitant to say the same for CJ but given the team needs a rebuild of sorts, I may see what you can get for him in a trade perhaps. His cap hit is enormous.

    Detroit deserves better.

  13. “While he may be a physical stud with a rocket arm”

    I’ll give you the arm, but a physical stud? He looks like Corky from Life Goes On, and a pink flamingo lawn ornament is more mobile. The only difference between Stafford and Jeff George is Calvin Johnson.

  14. It might soothe the masses if the Ford family were a little more forthcoming and transparent with how exactly they are handling the process. All we get is “you deserve better”, while the interim gm (who has been part of the problem for waaaay too many years as well) gets to actually hire, fire, and extend current contracts!!! How laughable is that??? The whole organization needs a colonic!! If this were the manufacturing arm of the family, you can sure as heck bet that the proper management team would’ve been brought in YEARS ago!!!
    1 Playoff Win In 57 Years. That is their resume. Why should we have any faith or trust in that????!!

  15. The rookie salary cap came in just after the Lions had high picks & contracts with Stafford, Suh & Calvin. Those contracts crippled the team for years & they are still feeling it.

    Granted, they’ve been terrible anyways, but if the rookie cap had been put in 3-4 years earlier, I think we’d be watching a much more competitive Lions team.

    They need to blow things up and start from scratch. I like the response from management so far.

  16. “If they did let him go via trade or whatever, there would be multiple teams happy to pay for his services.”

    There are multiple teams who paid (and are still paying) for Matt Flynn, that doesn’t make him a good QB. There are a lot of stupid owners in the NFL, all I ask is that the Fords stop being one of them.

  17. Culture of winning starts at the top. I don’t think this is some fluff PR piece, it seems like the real deal. Please turn it around Martha, so many fans have waited too long.

  18. jimmysee says:
    Nov 14, 2015 6:48 AM

    Hope she does not poach Eliot Wolf from Green Bay.
    —————————————————————-
    Nobody wants him. Raiders got the brains behind Green Bay in Reggie McKenzie. Since he left Packers made no great moves in the draft or free agency..
    But I think his time in Oakland is coming to an end and will be a mutual agreement..
    He wanted to get Oakland out of the salary cap mess and go get them some players to build on for the future and that goal is done…
    Mark Davis can handle things from here as he has shown.. McKenzie will be The Lions new head coach. I can tell you one thing though. Stafford won’t be going anywhere when he steps in, at least not at first. McKenzie will draft a QB and have him under stafford for a year or 2.. This is how he operates.. That was the plan for Derek Carr but Carr was just so much better than the vets

  19. Lions should fire everyone who’s ever had or has anything to do with the lions. Fire the coaches, coordinators, assistants, ball boys, ball girls, stadium workers, hot dog vendors, beer slingers, custodians, maintenance, accountants, gum scrapers and then fire the owners and start fresh. Even the Browns are glad they’re not Detroit!

  20. Oh hell no Martha! My Bears have only won one Super Bowl in 1985 and have been embarrassed year after year. It is OUR turn to move ahead Martha. Go back to your loosing ways the way everyone expects you to. It is the Lions’ proper place in the football world!

  21. In my opinion, she needs to fire Caldwell. Then, find your GM so that the GM can build a new coaching staff.

    If I am a GM candidate, you have to let me find the coach I want.

    What GM would take a job with a bad head coach?

  22. One of William Clay Ford’s greatest attributes was his undoing concerning the Lions. His loyalty to employees, although commendable, clouded his judgment regarding the effectiveness of the management of the team.

    Mrs. Ford appears to have less patience and is certainly more results oriented. I anticipate great improvement with the team. She’s my new hero.

  23. Maybe start with a playoff win.

    Oh, and thanks for being so bad as owners that Barry Sanders retired rather than play for you. I will never forgive you for that.

  24. I know its not going to happen, but I hope that the Lions shock the Packers.

    Aaron Rodgers was mocking the Lions, even after the Packers dropped 2 straight.

    I don’t know why people give the Packers a pass. They are as classless as the cowboys. Matthews, kicking Kaepernick when he is down, Rodgers mocking Wilsons faith.. etc.

  25. This was an 11-5 team a year ago. They lost 3 or 4 key defensive players from a top-rated defense. That’s why the Lions are where they are this year. Anyone who has been paying attention will have see that the offense was not up to the task of carrying the team this year or last. That falls on the OC/HC who where brought in to “fix” Stafford.

    Stafford is better than at least 50% of the starting QB’s in the NFL right now, though. Overpaid? Maybe. But it’s the lack of an OL and the predictable, turgid, scaredy-cat play-calling that has sunk the Lions offense more than anything else. And without that top-rated D, they have lost the games they might have won last year.

  26. @GO FOR TWO SPORTS
    “Mark Davis can handle things from here as he has shown.. McKenzie will be The Lions new head coach.”
    ———————–
    Uhhh, McKenzie has never coached. Might be the GM, but, definitely not the coach.

  27. fordmandalay says:
    The NFL has gone way too far in their drive to expand the league; it’s clear that it’s severely diluted the talent and management pool to the point where it’s a league of 4-5 good teams, 15-16 utterly mediocre teams, and 10-12 really bad teams who are institutionally stuck in awfulness. It’s time for the league to contract, and fold some of these awful teams that will always be bad, and no one cares about. Like the Lions.
    _______________

    The league may shoot itself in the foot with expansion soon but that isn’t what’s wrong with it now. The teams that have been most successful so far this millennium have enjoyed reasonable consistency in the front office. The Lions are actually the exception to that rule, mostly due to William Clay Ford’s misplaced loyalty and unwillingness to fire. Lions fans can take heart that seems to have changed, hope fully for the better

    It’s telling that you use the phrase “institutionally stuck in awfulness” for the habitual bottom feeders while decrying expansion, which hasn’t happened since 2002. Your second point hits the nail on the head. If the talent pool is so watered down how is it that the good teams for the past 15 years have for the most part maintained it while drafting lower than the traditionally bad ones?

  28. I’m a Packer fan for over 50 years and good grief I wouldn’t have ever wished this decades of misery on Lions fans. While no one in this life “deserves” anything, I’m gonna break that “rule” and say that the Lions deserve a Championship caliber team.

  29. chiadam says:
    Nov 14, 2015 8:46 AM

    Empty words on a sheet of paper, considering they’ve already screwed the process up. When you fire the president and GM, you have to fire the coach. The only alternatives are:
    1. hire a GM / President that will accept not being able to bring in their own guy, which means hiring a bad GM / President.
    2. let the Lions play out the season for an absolute sitting duck of a coach.
    _________________

    Patience. This is all pre-planned. Caldwell will be fired. Right after the season is over.

  30. liongator says:
    Nov 14, 2015 8:59 AM

    “While he may be a physical stud with a rocket arm”

    I’ll give you the arm, but a physical stud? He looks like Corky from Life Goes On, and a pink flamingo lawn ornament is more mobile. The only difference between Stafford and Jeff George is Calvin Johnson.
    ___________________

    I think “physical stud” refers to being a pretty tough guy. Funny how slappies have gone from labeling StafFORD a “china doll” in the past to a “coach killer” currently. And he’s neither. Give him a line that can protect him and you’ll be surprised at how good StafFORD is. Right now he’s getting hit hard and often. But he always gets back up.

  31. Wow, it seems like we have a couple of vaudevillians here. To poke fun at a 90 year old lady takes a lot of gumption. The Lions have had to over pay a couple of players to try and make a competitive team. And Mrs. Ford is addressing the issues, but it will take a few years to undo what seems to have been going on for years. Matt Millen killed this team years ago and they haven’t been able to right the ship…yet. I don’t think she’s just firing people and saying things to keep fans happy. She knows they’re not and really wants to award a good fan base with more than mediocre management and players. Good luck to you and the fans in Detroit. And no, I am not from the area nor do I support them as my team. I just know football is better when you see fresh teams involved in the playoff instead of the same 5 or 6 teams that seem to be in it every year. No disrespect to those teams as they have earned it, but it doesn’t help expand the fanbase of the game.

  32. screamingyellowzonkers says:
    Nov 14, 2015 10:03 AM

    In my opinion, she needs to fire Caldwell. Then, find your GM so that the GM can build a new coaching staff.

    If I am a GM candidate, you have to let me find the coach I want.

    What GM would take a job with a bad head coach?
    __________________

    And who will run the team for the second half of the season? The staff for the offensive side of the ball is gone. They’re already shorthanded. Caldwell will be gone at the end of the season and he knows it. Patience.

  33. You don’t fire the coach now. It would serve no purpose whatsoever and would most likely hinder the search for a new GM. A good guy isn’t going to want to go in there feeling “stuck” with whatever guy they put in place if they fired Caldwell now.

    The first hire needs to be a new team president and this guy needs to be more businessman than football guy. A good president will (should) know how to find and hire a good GM and he will then stay out of the way, allowing the new GM to hire “his” coach.

    If the first coach doesn’t work out, the GM gets a second shot at it. If the second one doesn’t work out either, the GM goes down the road and the president gets a second shot at a GM. If the second GM doesn’t work out, the president goes and you start over again.

    It all has to start at the top and there has to be clear cut accountability, right down the line. If you look at the teams that have struggled long term, they’ve followed a similar pattern. They’ve tried to keep the same GM through 5 different coaches or keep the same president through 5 different GMs or however many. It just doesn’t work.

    President>GM>Head Coach>Coaching Staff.

  34. Please don’t humiliate my Green Bay Rodgers. If we lose to the Lions, I’ll cry. Again.

  35. Got to think Caldwell is gone after the year. Maybe the thinking was it would do no good to change HC’s mid year. Or, inversely, they dont WANT to improve too much and jeopardize getting the first draft pick.

    Nightmare scenario for Lions fans is that Caldwell and his nice guy act convinced the lady he should be brought back next year and that players like him. He’s not head coach material at all.

  36. teddybear9 says:
    Nov 14, 2015 9:47 AM

    Oh hell no Martha! My Bears have only won one Super Bowl in 1985 and have been embarrassed year after year. It is OUR turn to move ahead Martha. Go back to your loosing ways the way everyone expects you to. It is the Lions’ proper place in the football world!

    ___________________________________

    The Bears are not nearly as bad as the Lions and I don’t think a Bears fan would utter this nonsense. Anyways, the Lions are more comparable to the Vikings. Except for the fact that the Lions actually have 4 Championships in the history of the team.

    The Vikings have ZERO Championships.

    54 years of failure and counting and the Lions are not even that bad.

    ZERO.

  37. WFC and Martha weren’t the owners of the Lions. WCF was and he made the calls. Martha wasn’t sitting in the owners box every week.
    Martha owns it now and she will make the calls. She sits front row in the box, and she is the one answered to.
    I’m waiting to see what she does, cause Lord knows she can’t do worse.

  38. Heres a memo to the fans of bad teams. Stay home. Dont go to the games. If you keep going to the games then its your fault for condoning ineptitude.

    Owners care about 1 thing and 1 thing only MONEY. And if they move the team so what. I actually enjoyed more when the Browns were gone than this garbage that has been going on for 16 yrs. No teams fans deserve anything.

    If anything you deserve the garbage teams you have if you keep showing up

  39. The guy who really needs to pay attention to this is Bob McNair in Houston. He has Houston firmly on the same path as Detroit, Tennessee, Cleveland, etc…

  40. She’s kicking butt and taking names. The players have been put on notice that they are playing for their jobs. And I like that (unlike Matt Millen) she respects the Lions fans enough to give us credit for supporting them all these years.

    As I recall … Millen blamed us for his failures.

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