The last time we heard from Detroit Lions owner Sheila Hamp was at the spring owners’ meeting when she was proudly declaring Detroit as the host city for the 2024 NFL Draft. In the past, she’s expressed full confidence in the current regime—specifically, head coach Dan Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes—despite a 2021 season in which they went just 3-13-1.
“Even though we didn’t have the record we wanted this season, we got better,” Hamp told DetroitLions.com’s Dannie Rogers this offseason. “We got better every game. The momentum is just great and we just really know what we have now, rather than thinking, ‘Oh, maybe so-and-so is going to be better with a few more snaps.’ We’ve seen it.”
Flash forward to six weeks into the regime’s second season, and it appears the team has lost that momentum. It’s much harder to see the week-to-week process, and fans are understandably starting to lose faith in the franchise’s direction.
While we have not heard directly from Hamp since the start of the 2022 season, on Wednesday, Campbell gave the media an update on her thoughts after the two chatted during the bye week.
“She’s very supportive, but she’s frustrated, and she should be,” Campbell said. “We all believe we should be better than where we’re at.”
We’re 22 games into the Dan Campbell era, and he currently holds a .205 winning percentage (4-17-1)—the second-worst record of a Lions coach with at least 20 games coached (only Marty Mornhinweg is worse at 5-27).
But if you think that has put Campbell and Holmes on the hot seat, think again. Per Campbell, Hamp still very much believes in the current regime leading the team.
“I do know that she’s all in,” Campbell said. “And I know that she believes in what Brad and I are doing, and so, yeah, that’s pretty much it.”
That is likely to frustrate a subsection of fans who heard a very similar sentiment out of Hamp during the Matt Patricia era. Though she was not the team owner at the time, Hamp served as a de facto spokesperson for the franchise when, after two years of Patricia going 9-22-1, the team decided to give that regime a third year. Together with then-owner Martha Firestone Ford, they penned a letter explaining that decision at the time. See if any of this sounds familiar to the current regime:
As we evaluate this season, we look beyond just our record. We are striving to build a team with a strong foundation of high-character players and coaches, that is physically and mentally tough, with depth at every position and one that can be successful over many years, not just one season. We see signs of this foundation in our team’s toughness, competitiveness and culture. Injuries happen in the NFL and are never an excuse. Nonetheless, our team has played through serious injuries this season to some of our best players. Despite the injuries, we have remained competitive in each game and our team depth showed up as a strength.
We also believe that the most successful teams in our league have a long-term plan, stability in leadership and exhibit patience to follow their plan. To that end, we are committed to year three of Coach Patricia’s plan. To be clear, our expectation is for the Lions to be a playoff contender in 2020.
Regardless of what happens in the final months of the season, it seems like Campbell and Holmes are pretty safe going into Year 3, and that shouldn’t be a surprise given how Hamp has operated in the past, along with the six- and five-year deals that Campbell and Holmes got, respectively.
Hopefully, that patience won’t need to be tested, and the Lions will show some serious signs of improvement over the final 12 games of the season.