Detroit Lions team president Rod Wood joined 97.1 The Ticket’s “Stoney and Jansen” on Friday morning to talk about a myriad of topics, including the team’s radio station move coming in 2021. They also talked about the latest on the team’s general manager and head coaching search, Matthew Stafford’s future, and Chris Spielman’s intensity.
What I found most interesting, however, was what he had to say about team owner Sheila Ford Hamp. It’s easy to forget that she is less than six months on the job. In her introductory press conference, she promised to do everything she can to get to know the organization from top to bottom. And while COVID-19 has certainly made that more difficult, Wood has already noticed her commitment to be involved than her predecessors.
The Lions president was asked directly what makes Ford Hamp different than her parents, both of whom held ownership of the team prior to her. That more hand-on approach immediately jumped out to him
“She’s sitting in on all of the interviews that we’ve done thus far and the ones that are ahead of us,” Wood said. “I think she’s going to be really good for the organization externally and internally because she’s going to be present, involved and connected.”
Obviously, an NFL owner needs to strike a balance of showing their commitment and care for the team while making sure they aren’t micromanaging and or obstructing people from doing their jobs. That’s especially important right now, as the team is trying to attract prospective general manager and coaches to join their organization. But Wood believes her current management style will actually help attract new employees.
“That’s important to everybody,” Wood said. “Not just the people in the building, but the fans and people that we’re trying to attract to join the organization. They want to know who the owner is and how the owner’s committed, and I think that’s all going to be great.”
Ford Hamp’s vision of actively building a culture in Detroit is already being felt in the Lions’ GM search, which Wood notes is far different than the one he participated in five years ago that resulted in the hiring of Bob Quinn. Instead of trying to build someone else’s vision, Ford Hamp is making sure they’re building the Detroit Lions vision.
“One of the things that I think we’re doing differently that didn’t occur—at least in searches I was involved in with Bob and Matt (Patricia)—is really identifying what we want for a Detroit Lions coach and general manager,” Wood said. “Not what some other team may want, but what do the Detroit Lions want.”