It's time for Ford to speak
Three NFL teams fired their head coaches Monday. New York Jets owner Woody Johnson was at a press conference to announce the dismissal of Eric Mangini. Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner met with reporters to explain why Romeo Crennel (and general manager Phil Savage) were not retained. And here in Detroit, Lions owner William Clay Ford was expected to place a phone call to Rod Marinelli then slink back presumably to his Florida retreat to bask in the radioactive glow of 0-16.
Now we know what Marinelli meant when he said he believed in the invisible.
Ford, a ghost for most of this sub-.500 decade, owes the ticket-buying public an explanation of what went wrong and why these last eight years. Why he not only employed but extended former president Matt Millen. Why he promoted Tom Lewand (to president) and Martin Mayhew (permanently as GM) on Monday. Why he's let losing fester so long and what he plans to do about it now.
Millen was a charming executive who never quite mastered the whole draft thing. He deserves a large slice of blame for the talent-less predicament the Lions are in now. Marinelli is a good man who made an unsuccessful head coach. Like Millen, he's partly at fault for what went on under his 10-38 watch. Lewand (with the organization 14 years) and Mayhew (eight) share in the responsibility as well, though they've somehow survived as powerbrokers in spite of their stain.
Ford? He's the root of the Lions' most systemic problem, a culture of losing that, over 45 years, has turned this once proud franchise into the laughingstock of the NFL.
I can't share some of the emails I've received about the 83-year-old owner. To off color even for the Internet.
I can't provide any insight on what he's thinking. The man hasn't made himself available, except for two fleeting moments, since before Charlie Sanders' Hall-of-Fame induction last summer.
And unfortunately, until either he opens his twisted logic up to a real question-and-answer session or bequeaths the team to his son Bill Jr., I can't provide any hope for long-suffering Lions fans, either.