Feel the Bern: What to make of Sheila Ford Hamp’s comments in support of Dan Campbell

Detroit Lions owner asks for patience despite 1-5 start

Detroit Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp watches during warmups before an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021. Sheila Ford Hamp shared her frustration with the team's 1-5 record and expressed confidence in the franchise's leadership. Weve got 11 more games to go, so I just dont want everyone to push the panic button and give up the ship," Hamp said to reporters Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022, while the team practiced. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File) (Paul Sancya, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

DETROIT – Two days ago, the earth moved, there was a sonic boom nobody heard, and a solar eclipse came and went without anyone having to shade their eyes. It all occurred at the exact same moment.

OK, so not really. But even if all that did happen, there was an event in Allen Park that would have taken precedence over it all. Two days ago, Sheila Ford Hamp came out and spoke to reporters for about four minutes at the Detroit Lions’ training headquarters.

You have to understand: It’s not every day that the owner of the Detroit Lions comes out unannounced and decides to talk to the media -- especially when their football team is 1-5 ... and you have spent the better part of the past year telling everyone who would listen that your football team is on the rise. As of today, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Remember, the Lions have been one of the sadder stories in professional sports: Just one playoff win since 1957. Just one!!! Even bad football teams can get out of their own way and do better than that. But not the Lions, who have become the national punchline so often they have outgrown it. People are just tired of hearing the repetition.

Don’t forget, it was Sheila Ford Hamp’s decision to hire Dan Campbell as coach and Brad Holmes as general manager. She was blown away by Campbell’s performance in the interview. At the time, she marveled at how terrific he was and how his interview far exceeded everyone else’s. It was a no-brainer to hire this guy. But now, six games into his second season, people are asking questions.

The one thing the Lions are good at is making bad choices when it comes to their head coaches. The list is long, and there isn’t enough time to go through all the names. But the one interesting nugget that stands out is the Lions love to hire assistant coaches who have never been head coaches.

Dan Campbell has never been a head coach. Matt Patricia had never been a head coach. Jim Schwartz had never been a head coach. Remember, if you hire someone who’s never been a head coach, you are allowing that person to learn on your time. And the Lions don’t have that kind of good will stored up with their fans.

But back to Sheila. She said she didn’t want the fans to panic because the Lions are 1-5. Translation: Please don’t quit on us because we will turn this around. She also didn’t directly answer a question about Campbell and Holmes: “Would they be back if the rest of this season doesn’t go well?”

She said she has faith in the team’s leadership. That answer does two things. It leaves people wondering if they will be back, but more than that, she is the team’s leader. She’s the owner, the big kahuna!

Some might read that and wonder, “Who’s steering this ship?”

In closing, there would be no celebration like a Lions celebration if they won the Super Bowl. It would be an event unlike any other in the history of mankind. I’m confident in saying that. It would be like a sonic boom and a solar eclipse taking place at the exact same moment, causing the earth to move.

Unfortunately, the Lions are just trying to win their second game this Sunday. No sonic boom, no solar eclipse. But plenty of former assistant coaches to go around.


About the Author:

Bernie brings sports to Metro Detroit. You can catch him on Local 4 News weekdays at 5, 6 and 11 p.m.