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Bill Ford Jr. Talks with Free Press

When I read the headline, "Bill Ford praises Marinelli, discusses Millen," from the Detroit Free Press, I got my hopes up that Lions owner William Clay Ford actually decided to talk with the media for a change.  Well, it turns out that Bill Ford Jr. is actually the one that spoke with the Free Press, not his father.  Still, it was nice to hear from someone like Bill Ford Jr. as he is the vice chairman of the Lions, so it's not like he isn't important, unless, of course, you ask Matt Millen.

In part one of the Free Press' interview with Ford Jr., there weren't any big revelations.  Various topics were discussed, but the one thing that stuck out most with me was Matt Millen. 

What about Millen? What feeling for him do you have at this stage of his presidency?

"I think he’s comfortable with Rod. I think he’s done a good job of letting Rod get involved in the process."

Is Marinelli driving the process?

"I think Rod’s having a lot more input this year into the process than he did his prior years."

Does Millen still make the final call on draft day?

"He does."

Excuse me while I go bang my head against the wall really quickly.

Anytime I read that Matt Millen has the final call on anything, it immediately tells me that the Lions' chances of doing something to get better are about as good as me winning the lottery.  I don't even need to get into the past examples to prove my point, but just hearing that he has the final call really is angering.

Moving on to part two of the interview, Ford Jr. did have a few more interesting things to say, starting with what I believe to be an indirect shot at Millen.

What do you think of the negative atmosphere in Detroit and the fans’ frustration?

"I don’t blame the fans for being upset. They want to win, and they deserve a winner. I feel that, again, Rod is the kind of coach that can bring them that. But I certainly understand the frustration, and I share it. It has been a very frustrating time. I don’t enjoy it for a minute. But as I said, I really do understand it. I’ll just leave it at that."

When Ford says that he understands Lions fans' frustration, that doesn't really mean much to me.  However, the next sentence where he says that he'll just leave it at that sort of sounds like he doesn't want to continue talking because undoubtedly the subject would shift toward Millen.  Ford already basically gave a "no comment" type of answer in part one when asked about Millen, and you can tell he is trying to stay away from that subject.

Probably the most troubling thing I read in this interview was when Ford was asked about his dad's intentions with the Lions.  By that, I mean is William Clay Ford in it for football or for money?

The Ford family has taken a lot of heat. One perception is that your father, owner William Clay Ford, doesn’t want to win and is in it for the money. What is your reaction?

"First of all, nothing could be farther from the truth. Really, all Dad does care about is football and the game on Sunday. The rest of the business doesn’t interest him that much. It’s the competitive aspect, and so he’s been obviously frustrated as well.

"And the money part, that’s crazy. … We’ve spent I think more – if you add the last 15 years – more than any other team in the league. I think that obviously the money has never been a consideration for him, either the spending it or the making it."

All I will say is that if WCF really cared about football, Matt Millen wouldn't still be employed by the Detroit Lions.  Plain and simple.  Every day that he stays with this franchise shows me that WCF is fine with mediocrity.  After all, the money is rolling in, and as Ford Jr. says later on, every game is sold out.  If football really was that big of a deal, then there would be no reason to keep Millen around this long.