Torches, Pitchforks, & a Painful Lesson

>> 11.16.2010

pitchfork-mobmillen_man_march

"Time for us to unite and force Ford to sell the team. Spread the word. I'm done standing by and watching and waiting."

--@derekgrube a.k.a @drgrube / @GroovyGrube / @KeepFrdFldEmpty

This is a very slow, painful, difficult lesson for fans to learn.  All the hours, all the days, all the years you’ve spent rooting for your team?  All the tickets, food, and drinks?  All the hats, shirts, and jerseys?  All the ups and downs and cheering and crying and yelling and sulking and swearing and shouting?  All the time, money, and emotion you have sunk into your favorite team?  It’s bought you exactly zero equity in the franchise.

You and I own absolutely nothing of the Detroit Lions Football Club.  It is a privately-owned—very privately owned—business, and it belongs to the owner.  Not you.  Not me.  The owner.  No matter what numbers Lions fans gather in, no matter what stupid “protests” we stage, the Lions are William Clay Ford’s and he will not sell them.  By all accounts, his son is as much of a Lions fan as we all are—so if you’re waiting for the team to pass first into Junior’s hands and then someone else’s, you’re out of luck.

Let me ask you this, “Make Ford Sell the Lions” people: and then what?

First, they’ll have to find an owner to sell it to—and if that owner’s last name is not Illitch or DeVos (or maybe Karmanos or Penske), be prepared for the team to leave town for good.  Presuming, though, there’s a Motor City-friendly ownership group ready to buy, then what?  They’ll have deeper pockets, or a freer hand in signing checks?  Ford is already tops in that department.  They’ll bring in a GM who’ll do more to fix the roster than Martin Mayhew has, faster?  No way; what GM could?  They’ll give total operational control—and a Brinks truck full of money—to a big-name out-of-work coach?  As I type this, the Redskins are proving that’s far from a surefire play.  They’ll rebuild the roster again, in some other leadership staff’s image?  Impossible, given the contracts involved.  If you think the owner is currently what’s wrong with the franchise, let me ask you: what would a different owner do differently, and how would that fix what went wrong on Sunday?  If you’re honest, you’ll say that you don’t know, and you don’t care—you just want heads to roll.

Look, I know you’re furious.  I know you’re crushed.  I know how bitterly it stings that after all this, the results are are still more theoretical than tangible.  But going postal because the Lions mailed it in against an 0-8 team and got stamped “insufficient postage?”  It’d be illogical, irrational, and—reality check—ineffective.  Shouting from the rooftops that you are “sick of losing,” even though you aren’t even playing in the games?  Save your breath.  Taking it to the streets to show the world that you are going to “DO something about it?”  Unless you have some run-blocking talents you can take to the field, you won’t be DOing any good.  Call me a coward, call me a traitor, call me a scab, call me part of the problem . . . but I’m sipping cider by the little blue fire with my friends, while you’re carpet-bombing the Internet trying to convince your fellow fans to turn their backs on the team.

Don’t worry though, man, it’s cool.  When your incandescent rage has dimmed, your torch has gone out, and your pitchfork is beginning to rust, you’ll see the big blue fire flicking just over the tree line.  You’ll watch the silver smoke rise high into the ash-gray sky, and realize your fingers are numb with cold, and your joints creak and ache.  Your lips will be chapped and cracked from the wind; involuntarily you’ll lick them and they’ll sting with pain.  You’ll almost hear the jokes and laughter, and you’ll swear the steam from the cider is already healing your parched and frozen throat.  Suddenly, you’ll realize that you’re walking towards us, and have been for a while.  By the time you get close enough to make eye contact with me, you’ll look down in shame—and realize you dropped your weapons somewhere in the woods.  No matter.  It’s then that I’ll take you by the hand, and show you I saved you a place by the fire.


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42 comments:

KFFE,  November 16, 2010 at 1:43 AM  

How the hell do you know he won't sell the team? Are you in his mind? Can you predict the future? No, you can't so quit pretending like you actually know things that nobody but the Fords know. What is the harm in NOT spending money on the tickets or merchandise? None. What is the harm in spreading the word to NOT attend the games and Keep Ford Field Empty? None. I'm not asking for much, but I am asking for a little faith and commitment. If you wanna let things continue on as they have been that shows me that you really don't care. The sooner we get the ball rolling on this, the sooner Ford will sell the team. Like I said, it might take months or even years, but if Ford Field is constantly kept empty, Ford will have no choice but to sell. We all know he's a stubborn old fool, but even he will see that it's pointless to own a team when there's no money rolling in. All we have to do is STOP SPENDING MONEY and SPREAD THE WORD. Simple. Go ahead and keep thinking things will get better on their own though. Look where that's got us. It's time for us to take ACTION. And I know that we don't own the team, genius. We definitely have more power UNITED than you think though. I promise you that. You can fight me tooth and nail on it, be indifferent, or keep slinging crap at me, I don't care. I WILL NOT STOP UNTIL FORD SELLS THIS TEAM. He needs to go. NOW.

MrMomWorld November 16, 2010 at 5:48 AM  

I've been sitting by the blue fire for over 50 years now waiting for a return of the glory I witnessed with my dad. I suspect staying by the fire a few more years while Mayhew and Schwartz finish this quest isn't going to hurt. #GoLions

Zac Snyder November 16, 2010 at 8:30 AM  

Ty, you are far too pragmatic to be a Lions fan. What team is really your favorite? :)

Ty November 16, 2010 at 9:02 AM  

KFFE--

"How the hell do you know he won't sell the team?"

Because he's spent his entire life being a fiercely loyal and incredibly stubborn man. Because the Lions are HIS THING, his ONLY thing, and he's ignored the public's wishes to a degree that borders on to-make-a-point-of it. Leopards like that don't change their spots, especially at his age. Lewand and Mayhew will almost certainly be running the team for the balance of Mr. Ford's natural life.

"What is the harm in NOT spending money on the tickets or merchandise?"

Not seeing the games! I took my little boy to his first Lions game two weeks ago, and despite the loss it was one of the best days of our mutual lives. Also, if Ford Field is empty, the games get blacked out, and screw that.

"I'm not asking for much, but I am asking for a little faith and commitment."

You don't know the definition of faith: it's "belief without proof." Right now, there is no proof that the Lions are on the right track--but I believe, because I know it to be true. You have it backwards: I am the one who has faith in the Lions, and commitment to the Lions, and YOU are the one who is walking away when the going gets tough.

. . . and as I said, even if you're successful, all you'll do is guarantee the Lions leave town. There is no birthright to major league franchise ownership; just ask Seattleites about the Sonics. Unless we, UNITED, can scrounge up a couple billion dollars your victory will be a Pyrrhic one.

Peace
Ty

Ty November 16, 2010 at 9:04 AM  

MrMomWorld--

Thank you. Beautifully said.

Peace
Ty

Jim November 16, 2010 at 9:06 AM  

KFFE,

"What is the harm in NOT spending money on the tickets or merchandise? None. What is the harm in spreading the word to NOT attend the games and Keep Ford Field Empty? None. I'm not asking for much, but I am asking for a little faith and commitment."

Um, that's actually asking for a lot. You're asking people to stop being fans with no real plan to build the franchise back up.If you wanted to start a campaign to Draft Illitch to buy the Lions that might make more sense, because it's an actual plan. I wouldn't be any more supportive, but it's at least an actual plan.

Since you have three twitter accounts, I'm going to take a stab and guess you're under 55 which is the minimum age you would need to be to remember a Ford-less lions team. So how do you know a Ford-less lions would be any better?

You're right, the Lions suck. You're right, they did not go buy all the Patriots management and coaching retreads like the Chiefs did. You're right, this has been a season full of could've wons, instead of actual wins.

But Ty is right, cutting bait now would be cutting off your nose to spite your face. If you want to make the same claim when Mayhew-Schwartz-Stafford have run their course and obviously are another failed experiment, ok, it would make more sense then.

But right now you'd just be lashing out over the Bills. It's the Bills dude, the Bills, you're suggesting that you throw everything out over the Bills. Let me say that again, the Bills. They're the Bills.

Ty November 16, 2010 at 9:24 AM  

Zac--

I laughed long and hard at that one.

Peace
Ty

Ty November 16, 2010 at 9:25 AM  

Jim--

They're the Bills, and you're the man. Thanks for the backup.

Peace
Ty

A Lion in ViQueen territory,  November 16, 2010 at 9:48 AM  

Ahh, grace. The best story of all. I'm there at the fire with you and I'll share my cup of hot cider.

Anonymous,  November 16, 2010 at 11:23 AM  

Zac and Ty,

True the Bills are losers. Losers of 4 Super Bowls.

The Lions are losers of 25 straight road games (thereby eclipsing their previous record of 24). Losers of all 16 games in 1 season. Losers in the draft war room. Losers of respect, credibility, relevance, and legitimacy. Losers to the Bills. The Lions camp has no basis for passing judgement on any NFL franchise. The coaches and players would appear to have done so last week; the result was predictable. They lost!

As you tend the fire, please keep an eye out for your Lions as they approach. They are very likely to make a poor choice and LOSE their way.

Ty November 16, 2010 at 11:37 AM  

Anon--

The Lions are four-time NFL Champions. Kiss our rings.

Peace
Ty

Anonymous,  November 16, 2010 at 12:18 PM  

I meant not to disparage your fossils Ty. In fact, I can claim to have been living when the most recent one of them was forged. Was only suggesting that you refrain from looking down your nose at a team you could not beat.

Jim November 16, 2010 at 12:56 PM  

Anon,

You may have won the game, but what's your record if we're looking at recent history? Last I checked you're still 1-8 and the Lions are still 2-7. Your trolling smacks of winning the battle and losing the war.

The Bills are still not worth any Lions fan throwing their fan card away over.

Jim November 16, 2010 at 12:58 PM  

It's also worth noting with those records both teams suck.

Anonymous,  November 16, 2010 at 1:34 PM  

Jim has hit the nail!

KFFE,  November 16, 2010 at 6:15 PM  

I am definitely under the age of 55, but I DO NOT have 3 Twitter accounts. My SOLE account is KeepFrdFldEmpty, the others are operated by some idiot who thinks that continually RT my tweets [w/o my permission BTW] is gonna piss me off. It did at first, but not anymore. He/she is a sad sack of shit and there's really nothing I can do about it but wait it out.

Ty, you are a condescending arrogant prick and I'm really getting tired of your holier-than-thou attitude. Like I said, you can continue to sling at me, but it's not gonna stop from ultimately getting Ford out of the franchise for good.

I don't care who he sells it to either. I don't live in Detroit, but maybe it's team for the team to move out of there and into either another city/state. It obviously hasn't worked since the late 50s, but you guys can go ahead and keep believing that things will change/improve under Ford's ownership.

Oh, and Ty, I have NOT walked away from this team. If anything, I've shown that I'm actually willing to DO something about this team and right the ship. You and the rest of cowards have not.

If none of you want to join the cause by Keeping Ford Field Empty, I have nothing more to say to you except I pity each and every one of you. Have fun sitting by the fire for the next 5-10 years. Idiots.

Jersey Jim,  November 16, 2010 at 7:49 PM  

Ty and Jim:

Ty....How is KFFE "walking away when the going gets tough"? Seems to me he's a passionate fan, who although ultimately will be unsuccessful, had the temerity to object to you talking down to him. Can't blame him, just sayin'.

Jim........"so how do you know a Ford-less lions would be any better?" Let me ask you something-how could they not be better, and probably exponentially so!!!

KFFE,  November 16, 2010 at 9:09 PM  

Thank you JJ. Although, again, I have to say, how do any of you know what the outcome of my venture shall be? I believe waiting and watching will get us absolutely nowhere and therefore I'm willing to spend A FEW minutes of my day letting people know that we have the power to do something about this cursed/wretched team. And I also believe the source of that curse is WCF. You don't have to believe me, but none of you are gonna persuade me otherwise either. It's only a lost cause if WE make it one. And, I'm not saying start over. I like most of the coaching staff and I believe they will get this turned around AFTER Ford sells the team. They can bring as much talent in here as they want, whatever dark energy has a hold on this team will wipe it all away in no time at all like it has before. The source of that dark energy is WCF. He is the only constant in this horrendous equation and he needs to go. A monkey eating his own poo would be a better fit for an owner of this team. Prove me wrong. Anyone? Didn't think so. Nobody can argue that since WCF took over the absolute most heinous and freakishly abnormal things haven't happened to this team. Deaths, career threatening/stopping injuries, complete and total mismanagement of a once proud franchise before Ford got his slimy claws all over it. I know all this has been heard before, but if we can Keep Ford Field Empty for however long it takes for him to sell to someone who doesn't have a curse in their bloodline, we'll finally be able to start righting this decrepit ship.

And, Ty, I know what faith is. It's believing without seeing. I meant have faith in THE CAUSE not the team with Ford still as owner. Learn how to read.

To me knowledge nothing like this has ever been attempted and I think/believe it's time we take matter into our own hands. What have we got to lose except SAVING money and FINALLY getting our team back? Not a damn thing.

Go ahead and hem and haw all you want, it won't detract or distract me from continuing my endeavor to force Ford to sell.

David M November 16, 2010 at 11:47 PM  

im very moved by the artistic way you told this story, Ty.
As you well know, I am exceedingly pleased for the Lions to see the Lions play competitively because it is a sign of impending wins down the road.
In fact, I told other people that as long as Matt Millen was GM i wouldnt support the franchise by purchasing anything Lions. But I have to say that for the first time in a long time, we have a plan, and a good one at that. I feel proud to support this franchise and I plan to get a Lions hat to show that support.

Can you believe I don't own a single piece of Lions clothing?

Matt,  November 17, 2010 at 12:34 AM  

Okay, first of all, BRAVO to all commenters and especially the author.

KFFE, I'm sorry, I feel your pain, frustration, and anger. And we can all make our claims/appeals to faith or whatever and go "Well, how do YOU know that. . ." Really, though, look at and think about what you're actually proposing here.

First of all, it's not going to work. There will be no boycott of the Lions forcing William Clay Ford to sell the team. Football and the NFL are too popular for a protest large enough to force the sale of a team to be mustered (note: disinterest, as seen in Jacksonville and elsewhere is different and usually results in relocation, not sale). I will scrounge up every penny I can and take whatever odds you'll give me. You will never get enough people. There will never BE enough people. Ford Field will never be "empty." It's not going to happen, ever.

On the flip side, if you just want to "be heard," then I think you can accomplish that. If you get a big group organized, the Fords will probably take notice. It won't really change much, but they might notice.

Now that that's out of the way, let's actually look at the plan. As Ty asked originally. . .so let's say you get Ford to sell the team. Then what? You've already admitted you mostly believe in the current management and coaching staff (still need some work on the roster, though, right?), but you've elevated Ford to some kind of malevolent, supernatural force. Maybe you were exaggerating, but if your argument for why I should join you in your cause is "Because William Clay Ford is literally an evil curse that must be banished" I'm going to have to pass. That seems to be as far as your plan goes: get rid of Ford (doesn't matter who buys the team), the curse is lifted, the team magically gets better with no other changes, and we all live happily ever after. Explain to me, exactly, how we'd be "FINALLY getting our team back" if Ford sold it. I honestly just don't see how one follows from the other.

So, let's bring it back to reality. He's not selling and, even if he did (or Jr. does some day), it probably means the Lions are leaving town. As a lifelong fan, I couldn't bare to see that. So, why even go there (to the SELL THE TEAM place)? You gotta' know that it's impossible for it to turn out like you want. So, why go there? Probably 'cause you're angry, frustrated, in pain, etc.

There are healthier ways to take it out, though. You scoff at "us" for waiting around the bonfire for years because "you all" would rather go off and be bitter and crotchety? If you seriously think your time is better spent being pissed off, well, I can't help you. You said you didn't care how long it took (months, years) because you have faith. The guy's 85 freakin' years old! Wouldn't it be more enjoyable to just wait it out at the fire? You don't have to become some eternally optimistic Lions apologist. I certainly am not; I'll rant and rave with the best of them. But it's more fun to watch the games, root for the team, look for the silver lining, and have a little hope (I like mine fairly grounded in reason) for the future than to take up arms in a useless fight.

I apologize if I misconstrued anything you were saying, but, I'm trying to understand what you're really suggesting and, frankly, it seems wholly unrealistic. I get that you feel the need to do SOMETHING, but all this ain't it.

KFFE,  November 17, 2010 at 1:43 AM  

Let me make one thing perfectly clear - I am NOT pissed off, hurt, or discouraged about any of this. I am, however, disgusted, fed up, and resolved to somehow see this through. Like I said before, a monkey eating his own poo would be a better owner than Ford.

The only thing I can do and the last thing I'm gonna say is that I believe we have the power to at least make a statement. If you're all too scared and beaten down to even attempt to do that, I can't help you.

I'll leave you sheep alone and move onto any other fans that actually care enough to try to change the fortunes of this team. I care about this team too much to let it go on like this. Apparently I'm in the minority. Damn shame.

Matt,  November 17, 2010 at 3:27 AM  

OK, I tried to be logical about it, but you're mostly just spouting off again.

"I am NOT pissed off, hurt, or discouraged about any of this. I am, however, disgusted, fed up, and resolved to somehow see this through."

Different words, same sentiment. I give you credit for resolve.

"a monkey eating his own poo would be a better owner than Ford."

If this is honestly your best argument, you're just not being rational. Let me ask this: how much do you think 85-year old William Clay Ford, Sr. is involved in decisions that directly impact the product on the field? I think an honest answer is "not much." He's been one of the most hands-off owners in the NFL and that's been the problem. He (mistakenly) let Millen do whatever popped into his giant, empty melon of a head for a decade. Junior finally stepped in and talked his dad into dumping Millen, so now the keys have been passed on to Mayhew, Lewand, and Schwartz (remember, we've agreed we like them). Maybe Junior is more involved, but do you really think Senior is? I think not. My point is that, if you think this old man (who has NOT been a good NFL owner, granted) has anything substantial to do with the problems occurring on the field (y'know, where the games are actually won and lost), well, I humbly disagree.

". . .the power to at least make a statement."

Absolutely, but realize that that's about the extent of your/our power as fans. I, myself, staged my own protest near the beginning of the eventual 0-16 season. I swore off wearing/purchasing Lions gear until they won another game and I held to it until the Washington win. This was after the 3rd or 4th loss, so lasted almost a full season and off-season (I rock my Lions gear with pride, so it was a big commitment). It was my own little protest or whatever and it accomplished as much as I could hope for/thought it would.

"If you're all too scared and beaten down to even attempt to do that, I can't help you."

How are we automatically "scared" and "beaten down" simply because we still want to support/root for the team and don't want to join you in some futile quest to sack the owner and achieve. . .? You still haven't explained how getting rid of Ford helps beyond lifting some mystical curse. I'm exactly the opposite of scared and beaten down, I'm ready and roaring to take on the Cowboys. So, we lost to the Bills (btw, I believe I can be quoted on this site as calling that loss the biggest failure of the Schwartz Era) and broke our own road futility record. That was last week. We got another chance to get off the schneid this week versus another team with a busted up QB, no run game, and a leaky defense. Let's go get 'em and not waste our time griping about things we can't change.

Ford Field's capacity is about 65,000. When you've got that many members signed up for Keep Ford Field Empty, let me know. In the meantime, I'll be cheering for my team on Sundays. You're welcome to join.

KFFE,  November 17, 2010 at 6:56 AM  

never said i wouldn't cheer my team on. just said i'm not gonna financially support them until ford is out of the picture.

i also said that i knew it was gonna take ALL of us for this to even have a snowball's chance at working. i believe we can do it, you believe we can't. we'll just agree to disagree on that.

i believe in other worldly events. you obviously do not. explain to me who/what you believe to be responsible for this team's half century of futility. what/who has been the one constant in that equation? need help? it's ford.

bottom line, i believe that this team will continue to go nowhere like it has for, again, the last half century, with ford as the owner. you obviously don't and there's nothing either of us can say to persuade the other so let's just let it be.

there are a few others that agree with me and have decided to join my cause, but it seems like that's about all for right now. i'll keep doing my thing, but i'll wait until after the season to really start calling for ford to sell if i don't see DRAMATIC improvement by then.

as i said before have fun sitting by the fire watching and waiting for a prosperity that won't come until after ford is gone. adios.

Ty November 17, 2010 at 9:02 AM  

Anon--

"I meant not to disparage your fossils Ty. In fact, I can claim to have been living when the most recent one of them was forged. Was only suggesting that you refrain from looking down your nose at a team you could not beat."

Point taken. I'm sorry I responded first with flippancy; in my mind Bobby Layne has as much to do with the 2010 Lions as Jim Kelly does with the 2010 Bills.

My frustration comes from both seeing with my eyes, and seeing with the numbers, that the Lions are much, much "better" than 2-7. The Wall Street Journal just posted this article yesterday:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703326204575616613810251830.html

Headlined "Detroit Lions May Be Unluckiest Team In History". It makes it all the more infuriating when they finally get a chance to prove it against the winless Bills--and they completely failed to show up, for the first time all season. The Bills clearly gave it everything they had, and for that I give them credit--but there's no way the #7 scoring offense in the NFL should square off against the dead-last scoring defense in the NFL, and be held out of the end zone for 59 minutes. The Lions' gameplan was to put it in the cooler from the opening kickoff, and it didn't work.

Peace
Ty

slt68883,  November 17, 2010 at 9:13 AM  

KFFE, I like you, I like your passion and your determination. I appreciate that giving up on your quest isn't even an option for you, and certainly that you are at least aware enough to know that you will need a gigantic amount of support to pull off what you intend to. That being said, I couldn't disagree more. I just can't buy that Ford is the single reason the Lions have been so bad for years. I know I'm just asking for more arguing, but I'm going to dive in. If you really do believe in other worldly events, then who's to say that they have anything to do with the Fords? Maybe there is no embodiment of this curse.

Anyhow, I hope that we all get what we want, a competitive team.

Jim November 17, 2010 at 10:48 AM  

Jersey Jim,

You're right I don't know that a Ford-less Lions team would be any better or worse. It's fair to opine that they probably would be better. They very well may.

I'm just against the notion of canning Ford during the middle of a new coach/new GM/new Star QB period vs the end. If you want to try at the end, fine.

In my opinion if the Fords drop the Lions they could well move out of Michigan. So a Ford-ed Lions or an LA Lions? The Packers in Winter? The Pride of Indianapolis? Screw that.

Ty November 17, 2010 at 10:54 AM  

KFFE--

"To me knowledge nothing like this has ever been attempted"

I think this is the root of our problem. There was an old message board called "The Lions Fanatics" (http://www.thelionsfanatics.com/, but it's been either down or very sparsely populated for years). I was an EXTREMELY active member there throughout the Mornhinweg and Mariucci eras, and it's on that message board that the "Orange-Out" idea was hatched. Many of the members there also organized, or participated in, the Millen Man March, the Thanksgiving walkout, several other less successful "protest" ventures, and generally advocated exactly what you're advocating now. One of the first truly successful Lions blogs was "Fire Millen," the readership of which also called for protests and boycotts. The authors abandoned the blog shortly after Millen was Fired, and the URL (www.firemillen.com) has since lapsed.

So, 1: your idea is not new. It is one side of a war that has been fought on Lions message boards, forums, and blogs for the better part of a decade--and, privately, in the hearts and minds of Lions fans since well before the Internet. Before you even Tweeted at me, I was already a highly decorated veteran of this argument.

2: What you're proposing is physically and economically impossible.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metro_Detroit

There are 5.4 million people in the Metro Detroit area. Even if you personally convince every single one of them to stop coming to Lions games until Ford sells the team, there are plenty of fans in Flint and Saginaw and Lansing and Grand Rapids and Toledo and Canada that will show up when you can get 50-yard-line seats to an NFL game for twenty bucks.

3: As I first said, and as Matt brilliantly expounded upon, even if you are somehow, impossibly, successful, the most likely result is No More Lions. No Lions fan could ever want that to come about.

4: Throughout this comment thread, and on Twitter, you've called me "condescending," an "arrogant prick," an "idiot," a "sheep," a "hack," and an "asshole." If I was were any of those things, I'd have simply blocked you on Twitter, banned you here, and deleted your comments. But I'm not, so I didn't, and I won't.

Keep in mind, you Tweeted me out of the blue--and I had no way of knowing that 3/4th of the quadruplicate Tweets flooding my timeline weren't really from you. A suggestion: block that guy on Twitter, he won't be allowed to see your Tweets--that's what I did to him and his accounts.

Peace
Ty

Matt,  November 17, 2010 at 12:19 PM  

I guess things aren't as obvious as they seem because I absolutely believe in "other worldly events." I just don't happen to believe that such events, William Clay Ford, and the Detroit Lions have any connection whatsoever. The Lions have certainly had some bad luck and have been managed poorly from a football standpoint (financially, WCF has turned a $5 million investment in 1964 into an $817 million asset today, so you can't really knock that). I chalk it up to good old fashioned stupidity and bad play on the field, not evil spirits.

That brings me back to the realistic chances that WCF sells the team in what little time he has left on this Earth. The Lions have been Ford's rich-boy-toy-football-team for over half of his 85 years. Why would he sell 'em off in his twilight years (not like he needs the money)? Sure, an uber-successful boycott might do it eventually, but, as has been explained here multiple times, it'd most likely mean the death of the whole team. Certainly not the result any true Lions fan wants.

For the record, Cleveland fans tried something like what you're proposing last season.
http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2009/11/cleveland_browns_fans_protest.html

The ringleader got some facetime with Randy Lerner and expressed his opinions. Lerner ended up hiring Mike Holmgren, who, in turn, hired a new GM but also retained the old coach. Lerner, of course, still owns the Browns. Chances are these moves occurred to him without the help of Dawg Pound Mike, but at least Mike got heard.

If something like this is your true goal, then I'm with you. Getting an audience with Lions management and shoving the disgust of the fans in their faces could/would maybe do some good. Attempting to force out the man in the organization who has the absolutely least to do with what happens down on the field for no tangible reason would not.

KFFE,  November 17, 2010 at 7:55 PM  

ty - you were acting like all those things, but you're right that doesn't make them who you are.

i'm willing to concede that maybe an outright ousting of ford isn't the next step. perhaps a townhall style meeting with the fords ala what mayhew and schwartz have done for the past few years but with FREE admission and ANY fans that want to show up would be the way to go.

like i said, i'm willing to wait until after this season to see if there's satisfactory overall improvement too. also like i said, i don't want mayhew, schwartz, or most the coaching staff going anywhere either. i believe in what they're doing and i love that they have a plan in place and we're finally starting to see the fruits of that plan.

you all brought up some very valid and convincing points and i thank you for not resulting to personal attacks and/or condescension like ty did at the beginning.

it's time for the fords to face the music and own up and sincerely and publicly apologize for running this franchise into the ground. regardless of what our record is at the end of the season.

i still believe ford is the root of the supernatural problem, but maybe if we can get an audience with him and find out just wtf he's been thinking/doing this past half century, we might be able to alleviate whatever has been ailing this team for decades.

thanks again. :)

London Dave,  November 17, 2010 at 8:18 PM  

Look boys and girls it comes down to this:

What makes us Lions fans different from other fans? We don't turn and run inside when it gets a little wet and rainy. We are the total opposite of a fair weather fan. We've survived MONSOONS for crying out loud! And y'all want to run away and turn your backs because we lost to an 0-8 team? Do remember that the Bills took the Ravens and the Chiefs to OT the two previous weeks. Remember that we're playing without our franchise QB. Remember that we have a head coach and a GM who are first timers and who have completed one of the most drastic roster turnovers in recent memory. Remember that we have outscored our opponents this season. Remember that we have built one of the best defensive lines in the league. Remember that our worst loss of the season was by less points than the average amount of points we lost by two years ago. Remember that no matter how far out of reach the game seems, the Lions have fought back and made it interesting.

And most of all, remember that we are all in this together until you personally choose to throw your Honolulu Blue towel in the ring. I'm glad you're passionate, and I know you've suffered, but remember no matter how long you've been a fan, we've all suffered just the same.

So, where you've decided to attack Ty out of displaced anger, I'm going to kindly ask him to throw another log on the fire because I'm in it for the long haul.

KFFE,  November 17, 2010 at 9:32 PM  

LD - you really shouldn't comment on things you don't have the full story on. it's not displaced anger and it was justified. he was talking down to me like i was a kid and i stood up for myself. nothing wrong with that. maybe your blind allegiance to him needs to be examined.

and i know i'm not the only one who's suffered. the difference is, i'm willing to do something about it.

Matt,  November 19, 2010 at 10:22 AM  

KFFE, now we're talking. I respect your dedication and appeciate (and share) your, well, let's just call it "negative affect" toward the team under WCF's "leadership." I never meant to be dismissive or insulting (hopefully I wasn't), I just honestly thought that you had the wrong goal in mind. LOVE the "town hall meeting" idea, though. You pull that off, I'm there.

As for WCF, you know I don't agree that he's a curse. I don't even necessarily think he's stupid or a terrible owner (the team has been bad, but I've never heard anyone complain about the game-day experience or anything else on the periphery). Frankly, I just don't think he cared all that much. He's been a bad owner, but in the opposite way of Jerry Jones or Al Davis. They care TOO MUCH and constantly stick their noses into the football business they neither understand nor contribute to in a positive way. Ford cares too little. He's content to have his Sunday cocktail parties in the owner's box and let some other guy(s) - in my football lifetime: Fontes, Ross, Millen, Mayhew, Lewand, and Schwartz - run the team. If they win, cool; if they lose, bummer.

Junior, on the other hand, seems to care about results, but he's no megalomaniac. Remember that it was Junior who really fired Millen by forcing his father's hand. Junior will let Schwartz et al run the team, but seems to actually hold folks accountable instead of operating with blind loyalty/stubborness. He'll still give them a lot of slack, especially considering how big the rebuilding project they've undertaken was/is, but not like his dad. IF it becomes clear that this regime can't get it done, I'm confident that Junior will make a change. Senior can still be ambivalent and have his parties, but he does seem to have finally hitched his wagon to some horses that are actually going somewhere. I'm OK with him riding out his twilight years on said wagon and I'm OK with Junior taking the reins afterward. He'll be hands-off, too (which is good), but I believe he will be keeping his hands off of a competent staff, not stubbornly sticking with a bunch of buffoons.

KFFE,  November 19, 2010 at 11:39 PM  

thanks matt, appreciate the kind words. i do have to say though that every quote i've read from the players to the coaches have all said that ford wants to win and he does care. they might be blowing smoke and covering for him, but we'll prolly never know. his solution to everything is to throw money at it because he can and that's what he's done for decades now. in that respect, he is the epitome of insane.

not sure how i'd feel about jr taking over the team either since he's also a ford. i'd rather have a competent owner with a proven track record that would be willing to keep the current staff in place because i believe that they are the right people to get the job done. prolly asking for too much in that regard though. i'd be willing to see how jr would handle the team, but he'd also be on a very short leash in my eyes.

anyway, no telling how much longer ford will hold onto the team so maybe that town hall meeting will be the way to go. not really sure how to get the ball rolling on that way besides the ways i've described before though.

and let me just say, for the most part, the participants here are WAY better and FAR more mature than the ones over at POD.

Matt,  November 20, 2010 at 11:51 PM  

No problem. I try to keep my internet discussions civil, as so very, very, very many people do NOT.

And I really do feel you on the hatred of WCF. I can't speak to his full tenure as owner as my personal period of rabid Lions fandom only goes back about 20, but those 20 years were pretty awful. I certainly think, as you point out, that he wants to win (in the sense that no one wants to lose); I just don't think he cares as much as many other owners. Again, I'll point to Jerry Jones and Al Davis as my examples of other bad, crazy owners. Those two DESPERATELY want to win, but can't stay out of their own teams' ways. Ford, to me, is the opposite. He WOULD LIKE to win, but I don't think he's on a personal quest to dominate the NFL like Jones/Davis. So, rather than be too involved, he's too uninvolved. He's content to let someone else run the team for an indefinite period of time regardless of results or evening signs of progress. To me, he cares more about sticking to his guns than winning; he'd rather keep losing than admit he made a mistake.

That is why Junior has so much credit in my book these days. I look at him as the guy who finally pulled the plug on the Millen Era. Junior holds people accountable where his father just gives more leash. Therefore, he gets more of the credit for what's going on now (which I think is good, if not also ugly) and less of the blame for what happened before.

I don't have a problem with the Ford family owning the Lions if only because it guarantees that the Detroit Lions remain in existence. On the other hand, if a buyer stepped forward and promised to keep the team here, I wouldn't shed a tear watching the Ford family walk away.

Finally, if you're serious about the town hall meeting, check out that link to the article about the Browns fans I posted earlier. Their whole movement was spearheaded by a guy who goes by Dawg Pound Mike. According to the article, he's got a blog of his own. I'd try to contact him through that and see if he has any advice to offer. I, myself, do not. :-)

kffe,  November 21, 2010 at 2:45 AM  

i'd definitely appoint you the group speaker if we were to somehow get an audience with the fords, matt. a diplomat if i've ever had the pleasure of conversing with one. :)

i didn't foresee this happening, but the flame in my fire has kind of gone out a bit. i'm not completely done, but after reading some of the comments, you all have brought up some good points that have made me think and rethink about how i'm gonna go about doing this if it becomes necessary at the end of the season.

i'm gonna catch hell for this, but maybe what the team needs IS to be moved to another city/state. i'm not saying that's what i want, but a fresh start in a new area might be just what the doctor ordered. i'm definitely an outsider looking in in that regard and i acknowledge that, but detroit city has been the other constant in the futile equation besides ford. maybe a change of scenery would be best for them. doubt it'll ever happen, but hey, who knows.

from personal experience, matt, you are definitely in the minority as far as netiquette and interaction with others is concerned and i thank you for that. definitely needs to be more people like you.

i don't think the walkouts/protests were as unsuccessful as ty and a few others on here think either. i believe it opened some eyes and got the ball rolling on millen's firing, but that's just my opinion, nothing more.

i would definitely be fine with ford selling the team to someone who would keep it in michigan as well. not necessarily detroit though. it wouldn't be a deal breaker for me if someone wanted to move it to another city.

i just have to ask though - at what point does enough BECOME enough?

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