Bill Ford Jr. said it, but he didn’t say it all


Bill Ford Jr. said it, but he didn’t say it all

January 20, 2011

When the owner’s son says he thinks you should be canned, you might want to pull out your suitcase.

Bill Ford Jr. is no stranger to the media. He oversees one of the largest car companies in the world. When he wants to say something, he does. And his remarks Monday after the Lions’ third straight loss were as subtle as a bowling ball rolling toward daisies.

“It was an embarrassment,” he said. “The fans deserve better. And if I had the authority, I would have fired the general manager.”

He said it to a small group of reporters, then repeated the idea minutes later to a larger group. This was no accident, folks. He knew Lions president and CEO Matt Millen would read it.

But if Ford is being hailed now for finally stating what fans have been saying for years, he should be chided for only saying half of it. The part he left out was this:

“Oh, and my Dad should go as well.”

Until Ford Jr. says all that — and don’t hold your breath — you haven’t solved the Lions’ problem; you’ve just hid it under the rug.

One bad decision after another
Who hired Millen? Who chose him with no experience? Who gave him a fat contract? Who renewed that contract? William Clay Ford Sr. Which means you start there. After all, if your little boy walks into a crowded room and belches, it’s an embarrassment to him. If he does over and over, it’s on you.

Sure, Millen has the NFL’s worst record during his seven-year-plus tenure. Sure, his early teams went three years without winning a road game (0-24). Sure, even Millen himself has referred to his record as “beyond awful.”

But Ford Sr. keeps him. And would you give up that job? It pays millions. It allows Matt to live where he wants. And most important, it won’t be duplicated anywhere else.

Millen has picked the wrong players, has misjudged chemistry and has a bad track record with coaches. But when it comes to bonehead Lions choices, he is a rank amateur.

Ford Sr. is the champion.

The owner has picked the wrong people for decades. From coaches like Darryl Rogers and Tommy Hudspeth to general managers like Russ Thomas, who mired the team in stupefying mediocrity.

The Lions were one of the best teams of the 1950s. Then Ford acquired them, and they’ve won one playoff game since.

Sorry, Bill Jr. That’s not the GM. When your Dad bought the team, in 1964, Millen was 6 years old.

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