ESPN's Johnette Howard wrote an extensive profile on Martha Ford on Wednesday. The piece talks about Martha's introduction to the Ford family, her upbringing and why she may be the change the Detroit Lions are looking for. You can read the entire column here, and I highly suggest you do. But one of the more interesting tidbits from the article is what Ernie Accorsi -- the consultant Ford hired to aide in the general manager search -- said about Ford:
The first time Accorsi met with Ford at her home last month to discuss the Lions' GM search, their conversation drifted toward how the club has played indoors dating to its days at the Pontiac Silverdome.
"I told her I think it tends to make teams soft when they don't play in the elements all the time," Accorsi said, "and Mrs. Ford shot back, 'I couldn't agree with you more. I've always thought the same thing.' "
That seems pretty clear cut that Ford would prefer the Lions to play outdoors, but there are some mitigating factors here. Most of all, the Lions are tied to a 35-year lease for Ford Field, with six 10-year options after the original terms expire. That would mean the Lions' next stadium couldn't come until 2037 at the earliest.
Martha Ford is 90 years old. When the Lions have to face the decision of a new stadium, she will likely not be in charge of the team any longer. That being said, she could still have influence over that decision by expressing her opinions to her three daughters, who all have influential positions with the team now.
Another option -- as proposed by twitter -- would be for the Lions to play an annual game outdoors (The Big House would be a great venue option). However, Detroit would have to get NFL approval. The Buffalo Bills did something similar with their short-term deal to play occasional home games in Toronto from 2008 to 2013. But the NFL likely agreed to that to expand their influence in Canada. It's hard to know how the Lions would pitch this idea successfully to the NFL.
While it'll still be over two decades before the Lions have to make a decision, what are your thoughts on an outdoor stadium?