The Lions have made a change in ownership, but it remains in the family, which the league office fully supports.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement saying he supports the decision of Martha Firestone Ford to step down as the principal owner of the Lions and hand the team off to her daughter Sheila Ford Hamp.
“Martha Ford has led the Lions with skill and grace for the past six seasons,” Goodell said. “I have appreciated her business insights, her love of the game, her deep commitment to the NFL, and her personal kindness. We are pleased that the Ford family will continue to own and operate this historic franchise. Sheila Hamp has become increasingly involved in team and league affairs over the past several years and we look forward to working with her and the rest of the club’s executive team.”
Martha Ford took over the team when her husband William Clay Ford died in 2014, and he had owned the Lions since 1963 (and was a minority owner even before that). So the franchise has been in the Ford family for well over half a century.
Some Lions fans have complained about the Ford family’s stewardship of the franchise, and as the Lions slumped to a last-place finish in 2019, chants of “Sell the team” could be heard at Ford Field. But Goodell’s statement makes clear that the league office believes the Fords are the right family to own the Lions.