When longtime Lions owner William Clay Ford Sr. died last year, most people thought his widow, Martha Ford, would allow their son, Bill Ford Jr., to handle the day-to-day operations of the franchise. But that hasn’t happened.
Instead, it’s Martha Ford running the team, and Bill Ford Jr. is less involved than he’s been in years.
No one within the Lions will talk about the family dynamics involved, but the Wall Street Journal reports that others around the NFL have noticed that Bill isn’t representing the Lions at times when he would have when his dad was alive.
“Bill was there for a number of years representing the team. And all of a sudden, he was not there,” Giants owner John Mara said. Martha Ford, “is obviously is trying to make a statement that she is in control and that she realizes changes have to be made.”
Of course, Martha Ford doesn’t have to make a statement that she’s in control. She is in control, period. The decision to fire team President Tom Lewand and General Manager Martin Mayhew was Martha Ford’s decision, and decisions coming this offseason about a new G.M. and the future of coach Jim Caldwell will be Martha Ford’s decision as well.
There may have been some ageism or sexism involved in the assumptions that the 90-year-old Mrs. Ford would delegate to her son, but whatever was behind those assumptions, they were wrong. Bill Ford Jr. has been pushed aside, and Martha Ford is calling the shots.