There was a story that I felt was being lost amidst the Aaron Rodger’s Green Bay psyche out this past off-season, and I wanted to bring it up. The Detroit Lions not only got a new great General Manager and Head Coach, they got a new great Owner and they didn’t have to move and sell the team to do it!
Now officially, Sheila Ford Hamp started in June 2020, before the start of last year’s season but I didn’t feel she was as involved at that point. What with Covid and the former staff’s need for improvement or else. and Covid, Well, it wasn’t a great season but it dallied enough with our emotions in the first half dozen games thinking that a playoff spot "might" have been possible. Mathematically, it was still possible… Well, we all remember that Thanksgiving photo of Sheila with her head in her hands. And, the next day she fired Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia and gave Darrell Bevell the keys to the car to get us home. She also told us about it personally. Zoom has changed our ways of communicating and being stuck at home give us more time to follow everything that was going on. I feel her press conference then showed her desire for transparency as a foundation for the Lions. From Thanksgiving on, things haven’t been the same and we are the better for it. Knowing everything that’s happened its still pretty incredible to see how much has changed.
To begin the year, she put in motion GM and HC searches concurrently, rather than one after the other. She brought in a diverse group of football minds—including former players like household names Chris Spielman and of course everyone’s favorite, Barry Sanders—to offer their thoughts on who should lead us for this new journey. After these exhaustive searches, she picked Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell. Brad seemed more well known and some of us thought the Lions had initially hired Matt Campbell, the well regarded Iowa State college coach. With Saleh and a few others of note still out there, we weren’t sure why but we went with it.
With every passing month you saw the work happening. The coaching staff Dan put together. Brad and Rod Wood’s updates behinds the scenes. I remember smiling when I read Sheila had decided to take Chris Spielman’s office, after hiring him of course which i think was another great move, so that she would be right in the thick of things. I thought that was great. She sat in on meetings and listened. She had been Martha’s right hand for six years before taking over. She grew up with football around her with her Dad being the owner and all. She no doubt heard those chants of "sell the team" and "same old lions". Yet, it is in her blood and I think she’s doing great trying to build something authentically new for us. I loved the bit in the draft day "Inside the Den" episode when she’s checking up with Brad about getting a receiver after the end of the third round. She was sticking her nose in, not in a bad way at all, but in a really good way. I felt like she had our backs.
I know we have a tough rebuilding season ahead of us but kneecaps better beware because Sheila’s coming for them too. Go Lions!!