Saturday, November 21, 2015

Detroit Lions. More Edsels

It really should come as no surprise. Since the Ford family has owned the Lions -- dating all the way back to 1963 -- they've show-cased a never-ending parade of incompetents, clowns, and, hotheads. From the front office, down to the myriad of loser head coaches, down to the players themselves over the decades. Throw in countless ridiculous (they picked who?) high draft choices that predictably went bust, and if there was ever a way to screw something up, rest assured the Lions would find it.

Idle fact. Not one single player from their entire 2011 and 2012 drafts remains on the Lions. Typically players in their 4th-5th years have enough experience under their belt, are starters, and just beginning to enter their prime. The core of the team. Not so with the Lions. Those two draft years were total wastes, as if they never happened. 

Now it appears Martha Ford, much like her late husband William Clay did for decades, is carrying on the family tradition of bumbling in the world of NFL ownership.

She just appointed a guy named Rod Wood to be President of the franchise. The very name itself -- Rod Wood -- suggests he's just another stiff. Wood will take the place of one Allison Maki, who was immediately appointed after the firing of long-time Prez Tom Lewand a few weeks ago. 

Questions. Why put dear Allison in the Lions' version of the oval office in the first place for a mere few weeks when the bumbling powers that be already had plans to oust her? Why not just leave the seat vacant until they found a "permanent" chief executive? It's not like there's a whole lot going on for an NFL bean counter right now. It's the middle of the season. No contracts to negotiate or free agent bidding wars involving those pesky agents. No salary cap to worry about. Everything's on cruise control for the next couple months. Leave it to the Lions. Hi Allison turned into bye Allison, before Ms. Maki could even rearrange the decor in the office to her liking. Seems cruel, or maybe just obtuse. Hey, we're talking Ford family here.

According to early reports, it appears Rod Wood has quite the distinguished history. He was a hot-shot executive at a mega-bank, then moved on up into hedge funds. Plenty of dough there. He was overseeing $400 million of other people's money. Offices galore in several states. 

So the Fords, in their infinite wisdom, lured him away and put him in charge of something called Ford Estates in 2007. No telling what they paid Wood, but it had to be a lot. When some guy's already made it into the dubious world of high finance, he'll only give that up for one of two reasons. Either an indictment is imminent, or a billionaire with way more money than common sense offers him a sweet, long-term high paying gig with no risk. 

And now the good Mr. Wood finds himself promoted to Prez of the Detroit Lions. Another typical Edsel model call by a Ford. Forget the nation-wide search. Let's take the hedge fund guy we lured away to look after our own properties -- and make him the CEO of an NFL team. This guy probably doesn't a blitz from a Blatz when it comes to football but, by God, he's in charge of the Lions now. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. And also very typically Fordish.

Question. Given their apparent collective brains over the years -- if these folks hadn't inherited old Henry's automobile empire, and/or an heiress of old Harvey's Firestone tire kingdom marrying into it -- where do you think they would all be now? Flipping burgers or super sizing you at a drive-thru window somewhere? Selling crack to make ends meet in a trailer park?

But back to the Lions. They now have a Prez. Next step? He has to hire a General Manager. Martha has said she'll leave no stone unturned -- and the Lions have looked under a lot of rocks over the decades to hire help. Nevertheless, she wants the best GM available. So who gets to make the call? Martha and her girls (Mustang Billy is presumably trying to run the car company) or the high roller they just promoted? Nobody knows for sure. It's just another Pinto in the magical world of Ford ownership. Maybe it will last -- and maybe it won't. 

That raises another issue. The Lions hired a former NFL cornerback named Martin Mayhew to be their GM several years ago. He's proven to be totally incompetent and was rightfully fired. In his place they hired one Sheldon White, himself a former cornerback of the very same Detroit Lions. Only the Fords would do such a thing. Tis true. You can't make this stuff up. 

But like the above-mentioned Allison, Mr. White's ouster was already in the works as GM on the day he was promoted. So what was the point? Giving him a title with a few more bucks for a couple weeks? Does that even look good on a resume? Yes, he was an interim GM for a minute, never allowed to make any moves -- as if any other GM would take him seriously anyway -- and basically got played for a fool. So who will the Fords and/or the stiff bring in as the new GM? A better question might be, what qualified person would even accept the job?

The Lions and their ever-faithful media assume EVERYBODY would jump at such a chance. They've been drinking the koolaid for way too long, but over half a century of owning and trying to find a silver lining in the sorriest franchise in all of professional sports is enough to cause otherwise stable minds to go off the deep end.

For a highly qualified GM candidate to take the Lions job, he would have to accept two things. Yes, I will pocket millions. The Fords are silly like that. But when my time comes to be fired -- and it will -- it's pretty much case closed. No other team will have me. Heather Prynne had her scarlet letter A for adulteress, but going to the Lions is pretty well the last stop as well. One is forever tattooed with L for loser. Do I want to take the easy dough, or wish to keep my reputation in tact in the future for a possible better offer from a contending team that has semi-competent ownership? A tough call.  

Bottom line. The good Mrs. Martha Firestone Ford and her merry brood of offspring are in charge of the Lions. The front office is yet another debacle in progress. Where the merry-go-round of current cluelessness will stop -- nobody knows. It's the Fords. Anythings possible. Except getting within sniffing range of a Super Bowl. 

But what of Allison and Sheldon? They had great jobs for a minute. What will possibly become of them? This is where true Ford wisdom will likely shine through -- again.

Remember Ms. Maki was senior/executive vice president and Chief Financial Officer. Lofty titles indeed and, at least by Ford logic, it could be reasonably assumed she knew a little bit about shuffling big piles of money around. So give her Rod Wood's old job manipulating hedge funds. Somebody's gotta do it.

As for Mr. White? Maybe he could team up with fellow former cornerback/GM Martin Mayhew. Mayhew's a lawyer. Maybe they could create a consulting firm on the intricacies of interior offensive line play. What do former defensive backs know about such things? Absolutely nothing, of course.

But package it up just right and Martha might be willing to shell out a few million a year to retain even more "expert counsel" in the Fords' never-ending "quest" to produce a championship football team.

Excuse me for a second.


OK, sorry, had to get that out of my system.

Rod Wood as Prez indeed. I can hardly wait to see who the next GM is. How about Caitlyn or a Kardashian? No? Perhaps Anderson Cooper and Rachel Maddow as co-GMs? That would be an interesting partnership. Not a good idea? Well OK then. Can we all at least agree that the Lions hiring Matt Millen again would be preposterous?

Don't put it past Martha and her girls. Anything's possible. They may be a lot of things, but they're still Fords.

Last question. Whatever happened to the Cougar? Wasn't that a Ford product? Pretty cool car as I remember it. Sort of a tricked out Mustang with different trim.

Please tell me dear Martha hasn't taken on the role of a cougar at age 90. Yet, with Willie gone, one never knows. Could it be she's occasionally on the prowl for one of those 75 year old young studs late at night?

Hey, maybe he could be the next Lions GM. She already hired a high priced Rod that came with "Wood" as her Prez. And that young pup's only the tender age of 55. Cradle robber.

It's the Lions and the Fords. Just when you think something even more incredibly stupid couldn't possibly happen -- it will.


1 comment:

  1. Three words: Typical crony hire.

    I'm glad the Lions won in spite of the Fords decisions though.