We are 90 days away from the Lions first game of the year and a few weeks away from the start of training camp. It’s time to think about things. One of the biggest things I’ve been thinking about for a while now is how Detroit Lions owner Sheila Hamp relates to other owners around the league. More specifically, I’m wondering how she relates to the owners who are currently experiencing success.
To find some answers, I needed to reach out to our fellow SB Nation peeps covering those teams. I picked a handful of teams and we’ll be hearing from Behind The Steel Curtain (Steelers), Turf Show Times (Rams), Music City Miracles (Titans) and Arrowhead Pride (Chiefs).
The main question at hand: What are team owners doing to make the team successful?
Then we’ll see if Sheila Hamp is doing that, too. Let’s play a game of “Is Sheila Doing it?”
Tom Childs: Arrowhead Pride
“Clark Hunt trusts his GM and coaches to make the right calls and doesn’t try to play passenger GM. He fully understands that his role as owner of the Chiefs is to continue his Dad’s legacy and to act with class and dignity — both inside of and outside of Kansas City.”
Is Sheila doing it?
The answer here has to be yes. Hamp has become a part of the process in a lot of ways, but what Hamp is not doing is getting in the way. We’ve yet to hear any type of story that showed Hamp disagreeing with her GM or coach on bringing in players or coaches. We certainly haven’t heard her getting involved in the playbook either.
Just last week, Campbell reiterated that while Hamp is on site and involved and present with the team, she has also made it a priority to never be meddling.
“The last thing she wants to do is ever feel like she’s butting in and sometimes I wish she would butt in and so she’s been great, she really has. We’re a year later and I couldn’t ask for anything better than her for an owner.”
It seems pretty clear that Hamp trusts Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell and is letting them do what they feel needs to be done to build a winning program.
Justin Melo: Music City Miracle
“Amy Adams Strunk is a terrific owner. Firstly, she’s hired really smart football people (Jon Robinson and Mike Vrabel) and she’s trusted them to do the jobs she hired them to do. Far too many owners thrust themselves into personnel decisions. That’s not Ms. Strunk.
“She’s also invested a TON into the success of the franchise, proving that she truly cares about the team. She’s poured millions of dollars into revamping and improving facilities top to bottom, from training to nutrition, and is now looking to build a state of the arc new stadium that would bring a SB hosting to Nashville. She’s also largely responsible for hosting the NFL Draft, and the unveiling of new jerseys event that brought a ton of attention to the city.”
Is Sheila doing it?
Again, the answer has to be yes on all fronts. It’s only been a year and half at this point, but from where we’re at right now, I think it’s safe to say that Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell are smart. Campbell has infused a really nice culture that players have bought into and Holmes has done a really good job at drafting, being smart with money, hiring his team around him and bringing in free agents. We’ll see where all this goes in the end, but right now it all looks good.
Hamp hasn’t invested millions on revamping the facilities, but she has done some good in the way of mental health and diversity. The Lions recently hired a mental health clinician to help assist players with the very real mental health issues that many people cope with. On the diversity front, Hamp brought in the Fritz Pollard Alliance to assist with hiring their general manager and head coach in 2021. Hamp also brought on Lindsay Verstegan to be the team’s diversity officer.
The Lions don’t need to build a new stadium and Detroit has already hosted a Super Bowl, but Hamp did help bring the NFL Draft to town just like Strunk did a few years ago. Detroit will host the 2024 NFL Draft.
Kenneth Arthur: Turf Show Times
“Stan Kroenke’s reputation as a businessman first and a sports fan second could be unparalleled in the NFL, which is saying a lot considering the other 31 ownership groups. Kroenke is practically obsessive about making a fortune through owning sports franchises, which also includes the Denver Nuggets, Arsenal FC, Colorado Avalanche, and quite a few teams in lesser known leagues in various sports. He helped moved the team from LA to St. Louis when he purchased a 30% stake in the team in 1995, then started to make moves to relocate back to LA when he became full owner in 2010, and he’s done so with the intention of making the Rams a worldwide brand on the level of the Yankees or Lakers.
“Then he built a $5 billion stadium for the Rams and you don’t do all of these moves without the intention of creating a great team—that’s like buying Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey and then not having lions and elephants and flaming rings to jump through—so it’s really his commitment to make money that has driven the team to become so star-studded and successful. We hear it all the time... ‘The NFL is a business.’ But Kroenke may mean it more than anyone else and that’s paid off handsomely since 2017.”
Is Sheila doing it?
No. At least I think it’s a no. Hamp only owns the Detroit Lions and I can virtually guarantee that she has zero plans to move the Lions out of Detroit. The Lions don't need a new stadium and they have beautiful practice facility. I’m sure she’s investing money into the team and I’m sure she wants to make money as well—they did just hire a new senior director of football administration—but I’m also sure that she’s not doing what Stan Kroenke’s doing. That’s okay though.
Dave Schofield: Behind The Steel Curtain
“The biggest thing Art Rooney III does for the Steelers is let people do their jobs. Yes, he is the team president. But under Kevin Colbert, he was given full reins with him and his front office staff to do what was best for the team. And Mike Tomlin is given full authority with his coaches to come up with a game plan. The Rooney‘s do not micromanage. When they need to step in and do something, they take care of it. Otherwise, they find the right people to do the job so they can just let them do their job. And with new general manager Omar Khan, it’s expected to remain the same.”
Is Sheila doing it?
I think we answered this one earlier. Hamp is involved in what the team is doing, but she’s not micromanaging, and she is allowing the people she’s hired to make the decisions that they feel are best for the Lions.
In conclusion, Sheila Hamp appears to be doing the things that a lot of the successful owners around the league are doing and then some. You notice that none of the owners talked about here are that involved in the day-to-day aspect of the team. Hamp has been in a lot of ways. She’s been eager to learn more and build a winning program. She has surrounded herself with the right people to do that and has not gone the way of \Al Davis or Jerry Jones by overstepping her roles. Hamp is on the right track and because of that, the Lions are too.