For decades, Detroit Lions fans have blasted ownership for things they have and haven’t done, but it seems there is more than a little bit of light beginning to form at the end of the tunnel.
This offseason, the Lions have committed to some huge changes within the franchise and that change has been driven by Sheila Ford Hamp, the team’s owner. That’s not a fact that has been lost on the team’s new head coach Dan Campbell.
Joining the Pat McAfee Show, Campbell was asked about what he could tell loyal fans about why the direction of the team will be better this time around and why they should have hope. The answer revolved mostly around ownership and what they have done so far.
“The short answer is Sheila Ford Hamp, if you want hope, she’s the one who’s bringing the hope. This all started with hr. She took over last summer and she knew exactly what she wanted. She wanted a collaborative effort starting at the top with the owner. Ultimately in the simplest terms you would say she wanted us to work as a legitimate team up top between her, Rod Wood the president, myself, Brad Holmes and let’s do this thing together where everybody knows we’re all in the same boat and rowing the same way knowing those player downstairs will feed off of that and fall right in line. One of the things that bothered me as an ex-player was at times when you’re being preached to about being a team, and all about being unselfish and working as one with no egos and yet it’s not happening at the top. That’s the biggest killer of any team is when it’s not working at the top and you’ve got an ownership telling you what to do and a president saying you can’t spend this money. That and having a GM and head coach that are not on the same page. This thing has started exactly where it should start for us to have success. That started with Sheila. She set the tone. She made the hires and here we are.”
It could be a tough sell to get scarred Lions fans interested in supporting ownership, but reality says that folks would probably be smart to embrace what Campbell is saying since he is an honest guy and is in the building constantly. He should have a good understanding of the lay of the land, and that’s great news as it relates to the direction of the team.
This offseason, there seems to be a whole new attitude, and according to Campbell, it’s coming straight from the top.
Sheila Ford Hamp Involved in Lions’ Meetings
Sheila Ford Hamp committed to big change this offseason and has delivered upon that promise. Now, the owner is staying involved as the team shifts its focus to the offseason. This week, Detroit advisor Chris Spielman went on WXYT 97.1 The Ticket and spoke about what’s been taking place. As he said as summed up by a tweet of Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, both he and Ford Hamp have been involved, if only from the periphery.
As Birkett says, suddenly there’s tons of folks sitting in the room helping to making decisions. Even though that is the case, the final calls come down to what Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell want to do, which should always be the case given they are the general manager and head coach respectively. The fact Ford Hamp and Speilman are in the room does not necessarily indicate that they are controlling what direction the team goes or making demands.
Having a team owner understand the direction of their franchise is a good move, and this level of involvement should only be seen as a positive by fans who might finally be witnessing a change in thinking from what’s been one of the worst franchises in sports.
Follow the Heavy on Lions Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content out of Detroit!
Lions Fans Hungry for Change
One of the big reasons Detroit fans obsess about matters of ownership has been the inability of the Ford family to connect with the fanbase and build a winner through the years. With what she has done so far, Sheila Ford has taken major steps to show why this might not be the case anymore this time around. According to Campbell and those in the know, that’s a big reason the fans need to feel good about the future, since they are finally getting the change they craved in a major way.
Many won’t want to give the Ford family the benefit of the doubt, but fans should start listening to Campbell and see what happens.