A lot has been made about Detroit Lions owner, Martha Ford, and her status as the team owner. Just do a simple search on twitter and see for yourself.
Owning an NFL team comes with plenty of scrutiny. Every game that is lost comes right back to the owner.
Why was this player out there? The owner should step in and fire the coach. Why did we trade that guy? The owner should fire the GM.
Or the best one: The owner should sell the team.
The Ford Family purchased the Detroit Lions in 1963 and since then the team has a grand total of one (1!) playoff win. Even the Cleveland Browns have more playoff wins during that span.
Since that time, ownership has passed down through the family, most recently Martha Firestone Ford taking the title from her late husband, William Clay Ford, upon his death.
Now this post isn’t about why the Ford family should or shouldn’t sell the team, or how the family profits from actually owning the team, but rather how the NFL has a whole is not going to let the family sell the team.
The NFL is owned by 32 owners; the owners of the 32 NFL franchises. Contrary to popular belief (online comment section trolls), Commissioner Roger Goodell doe not own the league, he was hired by the owners to be the face and de-facto spokesperson of the league.
When a league wide issue appears, do we blame Jerry Jones or Daniel Snyder? No. Usually the blame goes right to Goodell.
So why does this point matter in the topic of the Ford family and the Detroit Lions?
Because any sale and new ownership has to be approved league wide by a majority of the owners. Now, lets say Martha Ford woke up one morning and decided, “You know what. I hear all of these fans complaining. It’s time for something new.” Her sale would have to be approved by the other owners in the league.
That will never happen.
Take a look at the Fortune 500 list. Did you notice who was at #12?
Do you see who sponsors the NFL on Fox Pregame show, and just about everything else?
Do you remember those 300 car commercials during media time-outs? Any familiar names in there?
The fact that Ford is the 12th largest company in the world and is essentially funding a good chunk of the league through advertising is enough for the board of owners to force the Ford family to maintain ownership of this franchise, no matter what the product on the field looks like.
You can boycott all you want, but as long as Ford is pouring money into the league via advertising rights the Ford Family will continue owning an NFL franchise.