In between stops at Canton for this weekend’s Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremonies, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell swung by Detroit to witness the Lions’ scrimmage at Ford Field. He spent much of the two-hour practice right alongside Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp, a person he’s known for years.
During Saturday’s practice, Goodell took a couple minutes of his time to chat with new Detroit Lions team reporter Dannie Rogers. He told Rogers he’s seen the drastic changes Ford Hamp has made since taking over last June, but specifically this offseason.
“She really put her print on this team in the offseason,” Goodell said. “I think with Chris Spielman coming onboard and Brad (Holmes) and coach (Dan Campbell), you can just feel the culture change she’s really pushing here. It’s a more collaborative approach.”
Of course, putting her stamp on the team is one thing. You’d hope she would have accomplished that after a year on her job, especially after overseeing a regime change. But Goodell said he’s starting to notice it in the team performance, as well.
“She’s looking to do things differently, and you can see it on the field,” Goodell said. “You can see it. Everyone here has an energy level of excitement, and I think it’s going to be a team fans are going to be really proud to watch, and watch them compete. Listen, it’s hard to compete in this league, but they’re going to be fighters and that’s clear.”
It’ll be hard to convince a Lions fandom that has been burned by high hopes before, but last we checked, 92 percent of Lions fans gave Ford Hamp an A or B grade for her first year on the job.