Mrs. Ford Steps Down; Sheila Ford Hamp Is New Lions’ Owner
No teary-eyed press conference; just a social media announcement. Ninety-four year old Martha Firestone Ford is stepping down as principal owner of the Detroit Lions and taking over immediately is her second eldest child, daughter Sheila Ford Hamp.
Martha Ford took over the Lions six years ago upon the death of her husband, William Clay Ford, who bought the team in 1963. For a while it appeared that Clay Ford was grooming son Bill to take over the team. Bill Ford's main responsibilities now are Chairman of the Board of the other family business, Ford Motor Company. When Mrs. Ford took over, she cleaned house, firing team president Tom Lewand and General Manager Martin Mayhew, and brought with her Sheila Ford Hamp as vice-chairperson and also hired Rod Wood as the new team president. According to M-Live, Ford Hamp's three siblings will now carry the title of Lions' vice-chairperson.
Ford Hamp issued this statement on social media regarding her mother.
"My mother has inspired all of us since taking on leadership of the Lions over six years ago. She has been a tireless leader to our family, our team and our community. Her smart decisions have given me a solid foundation to take the team forward. On behalf of the family and the team, I want to thank her for her countless contributions. I look forward to leading the Lions to excellence on and off the field."
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued this statement earlier Tuesday.
Ford Hamp was in on the decision to retain General Manager Bob Quinn and Coach Matt Patricia for at least one more season. Depending on how the team performs - if there is an NFL season in 2020 - will give fans a good idea of how Ford Hamp will be as the new leader of the Lions.