Name: Detroit Lions
Occupation: bush league football team
Last Seen: Detroit, MI
Bee-otched For: getting proved to the world that they'll forever suck
I hate the man named Enos Stanley Kroenke.
He made his billions off of the backs of people making just above minimum wage. He fucked over WWE fans years ago when he forced Monday Night Raw from the Pepsi Center when his Nuggets basketball team made the playoffs. And, he's a Drumpf supporter.
But goddammit, he's one of football's best owners.
Kroenke has been the owner Los Angeles Rams of the NFL since 1995, starting with a minority stake. He bought the remainder in 2010 from the heirs of longtime owner Georgia Frontiere. He also owns the Colorado Avalanche in the NHL and several soccer teams in America and England. He's even the owner of several esports teams.
Of course, he made his 11 billion dollars on other things, such as real estate, plus the fact that his wife, Ann's father, Bud Walton was a founder of Walmart. But, at least he's reportedly a hands-off person, allowing others to run his companies for him.
One smart move the Rams made this past year was acquiring QB Matthew Stafford from the long-suffering Detroit Lions. Stafford had been a Lion since 2009 and was considered as one of their best players. But, you're only as good as your co-workers.
Over the past decade the Lions had some great seasons, especially under former head coach Jim Caldwell. Despite going 9-7 in the 2017 season, Caldwell was fired, with management crying that he made too many small mistakes that hurt the team's chances of making the playoffs that year. Caldwell's replacement, Patricia Matthew, had zero coaching experience and led the Lions to three consecutive losing seasons at 13-29-1. His replacement, Dan Campbell, had a lousy beginning of the 2020 season, but started showing promise towards the end, especially with them defeating the Green Bay Packers at the end of the season.
No wonder why Stafford left the team and was traded for the Rams' Jared Goff. Rams - 1, Lions, well, TBD.
After being fired by the Lions, Caldwell ended up being the assistant head coach for one season with the Miami Dolphins. Ironically, that team is in the middle of major legal turmoil because they are now being sued by ex-head coach Bryan Flores. Despite two consecutive winning seasons, the Dolphins let Flores go recently. Now, he's suing the team, claiming that he was canned because he was black. Meanwhile, the team just announced that 49ers defensive coordinator Mike McDaniel - who is biracial - is their new head.
So, I have a somewhat serious question: did the Lions fire Caldwell because he, too, is a man of color?
Now, some may cry that it was former team president Bob Quinn who made the call to show Caldwell the door. Well, think of this: in 2003, the team hired former 49ers coach Steve Mariucci as their leader. But guess what? Then-owner William Clay Ford was fined by the NFL $200,000 for not interviewing people of color before considering Mooch.
Ford violated the NFL's "Rooney Rule", named for Dan Rooney, the longtime owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers. It was established the same year Ford was fined. The rule states that team owners MUST interview people of color when looking for a new head coach. This is because African American coaches have a higher winning record over white coaches.
In the Lions' case, two of their best coaches in 30 years were men of color: Caldwell and Latino Wayne Fontes, who won the team's sole playoff game since the Ford ownership era began in 1963.
So, why are the Lions hellbent on not getting a coach of color? Why do we constantly get forgettable white guys like Rod Marinelli, Jim Schwartz, Marty Mornhinweg and the aforementioned Patricia Matthew?
Now the Lions did elect a new GM who just happens to be African American. In other words, the Fords did fetch a bone to those angry about Caldwell's departure some years later. Now, the question worth pondering is this: are the Fords racist?
Bear in mind that the family patriarch, Henry, didn't like Jews. Growing up in then-rural Wayne County in the late 19th Century, young Henry was brainwashed by the Episcopalian church he went to. In 1918, he bought a Detroit area newspaper so he could publish articles attacking the Jewish for wanting to rule the world. A collection of Ford's articles was published as "The International Jew". One person who loved Ford was none other than Adolf Hitler himself, who mentioned him in "Mein Kampf". So yes, you can thank Henry Ford for the Holocaust. As a matter of fact, Hitler even awarded Ford with the Cross of the German Eagle. However, Ford died in 1947 at age 83 from a stroke. Allegedly, his stroke was triggered when he watched newsreel footage of how the Jews were treated by Hitler. It might explain why in the 1990s, Ford Motor Company funded commercial free airings of "Schindler's List" on NBC.
Racism and bigotry have long been an issue with sports team owners. Probably its most-famous case was Donald Sterling, the now-former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers NBA team. When he was fighting to keep them, Sterling name dropped several owners who weren't quite, ahem, sterling with their reputation. One of them were the DeVos family, the owners of the Orlando Magic. For decades, that family donated MILLIONS to stop gay marriage laws from passing, claiming that it was in line with their Christian Reformist faith. Of course, it wasn't money well spent because of the fact that the Supreme Court allowed gay marriage as Constitutional several years ago. Not long after Sterling ratted out the DeVoses, the mass shooting at the Pulse Nightclub occurred and the DeVoses decided to make nice with the NBA by giving $400,000 to the shooting victims and putting up a banner to honor the victims at Amway Arena.
Now, the NFL has two of its owners on their shit list. One is Dolphins owner Stephen Ross for allegedly wanting to pay Flores $100,000 per losing game to get a higher pick in the draft. The other is Daniel Snyder, the owner of the recently-rechristened Washington Commanders. Snyder is probably the most-hated - even more than the Fords - sports team owner of any major league. For years, Snyder was against changing the team's old name, the Redskins despite it being a slur against Native Americans. In 2020, the team finally caved in thanks to the George Floyd protests.
Now, Snyder is being investigated by a House Committee and the NFL because of allegations of a toxic culture in the Commanders' workplace. Among the allegations include sexual harassment. Already, the team has been fined $10 million. However, more women have stepped forward with their claims.
Unfortunately, chances are that the Lions won't have many issues with sexual harassment since they're a woman-owned team. And if there's racism involved - especially with the Mariucci situation and Caldwell's firing - it was mainly due to the now-dead Bill Ford and the now-fired Bob Quinn respectively.
But, can the Fords build a successful team? Sure... for other teams like the Rams, who just won the Super Bowl.
Nielsen data showed that the #1 city that watched the big game this year was Cincinnati. Number two wasn't Los Angeles. As a matter of fact, LA didn't even make the top five. Second place was Detroit. To the people who watched, it might be the closest we'll ever see the Lions win a Super Bowl.
Yes, there's those who cry "never say never". After all, the Cubs won the World Series in 2016, their first championship in 108 years. Then again, it took a total ownership change to do so. Ditto with the NHL'S Chicago Blackhawks; they waited 52 years between Stanley Cups. In 1966, the Wirtz family bought the team and William Wirtz took over in 1983.
William Wirtz was probably the most-hated sports team owner, period, in his lifetime. He never allowed home games to be shown on TV locally because he felt that it would hurt attendance. The Hawks had multiple losing seasons under his aegis. Multiple players, such as Bobby Hull and Chris Chelios were traded (Chelios helped his new team, the Detroit Red Wings to win two Stanley Cups). Mainly of all, he was known to threaten to due those who badmouthed him.
And then, he died.
After Dollar Bill croaked, his son, Rocky took over the team. His job was to fix the wrongs his dad made. Just three years after the elder Wirtz' death, the 'Hawks won their first Stanley Cup in 49 years. Since then, the team has won two more trophies.
In Detroit's case, a lot has happened in a decade. All three of its sports team owners - Ford, Mike Ilitch and William Davidson - have passed away. Of those three owners, only Davidson's estate sold his team - the Pistons - to a new owner, Tom Gores. In the past few years, it was the Pistons and the Pistons only who made their respective playoffs. Since then, the man who helped the Pistons make those playoffs, injury-prone Blake Griffin, was traded to the Nets. Now, the Pistons are one of the NBA's worst teams while the Nets are above .500.
As for the Ilitch teams, the Red Wings - still trying to find their mojo after all these years - is mid-pack in the Atlantic Division. Same with the Tigers, who spent the latter part of last year recovering from a disastrous start with new manager AJ Hinch.
At least Detroit is lucky that three out of its four major sports teams won championships in my lifetime. The Lions, however, have been a fifth wheel, despite having legends like Barry Sanders, Alex Karras and Calvin Johnson. They haven't won an NFL Championship since 1957. They're one of only four teams that haven't even been to the Super Bowl and eleven that never won one.
So, could a new owner reverse the Lions' fortunes? Well, I'll admit that in her short tenure as Lions owner, Martha Ford was a decent owner. But as she started to sink her claws into the team, Sheila proved that Ford blood is not very lucky at all. Now, the question is, is that how will the Lions do in 2022? Can they do better all season instead of people losing faith in the beginning?
Look, when a team gets a new owner, it's hit or miss. I worked at a convenience store over 20 years ago and was working 40 hours a week. One day, it was sold and shortly thereafter, I was cut down to only 25. Even worse, they gave many of my hours away to a junkie who lived across the store who had two kids he couldn't support. Thankfully, I got out of there when I had a new job lined up. I worked for the guy for ten years with no raises. He retired and my new boss was the type who realized that to make money, you need to spend it. Over a decade after he took over, I'm doing well financially and my company is busier than ever.
Sadly, the Fords are just like every other billionaire family out there. They only care about their money and not giving back to the long-suffering people of Detroit. One playoff win in 60 years is a pure embarrassment. Question is, will the Fords sell?
Bear in mind that Sheila Ford Hamp is 71 years old and there's other NFL owners older than her (the Chicago Bears' owner, Virginia Halas McCaskey, for example, will be 100 next January). Plus, she has several siblings. If Ms. Hamp dies, there's others willing to take over the team.
But, here's some food for thought: The Bengals have had mostly-losing seasons since Mike Brown took over the team from his late father, team founder Paul Brown. Last year, the team was 4-11-1, but made it to the Super Bowl this year. The Bengals are also one of the least-valuable teams in the NFL. Brown isn't even a billionaire. In all, anything is possible.
In all, as long as those letters WCF are on the Lions' jerseys, it'll stand for "We Can't Football".
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