Martha Ford Steps Down As Principal Owner Of Lions


At the age of 94, Martha Ford is stepping down as the principal owner of the Lions. 

The team announced the news in a statement released Tuesday morning, adding that Ford's daughter, Sheila Ford Hamp, will take over "under the team's established plan." 

"Mrs. Hamp has been active in team leadership and National Football League activities for several years in preparation for officially assuming team leadership," said the statement. 

Hamp played a key role in the Lions' decision to bring back GM Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia for another year, with the expectation that the team contends for a playoff spot in 2020. 

Ford became the team's controlling when her husband William Clay Ford passed away in 2014. She oversaw the Lions' decision to hire Jim Caldwell in 2014 and Quinn in 2016, and later their decision to replace Caldwell with Patricia in 2018. The team went 45-50-1, with two playoff berths, in her six-year run at the helm. 

In another statement, Ford said Hamp will provide 'superb leadership' moving forward. 

"It has been a great honor for our family to be associated with the Lions and with the National Football League," said Ford. "I am gratified that this family tradition, which my husband and I began almost six decades ago, will continue under Sheila’s guiding hand. It is clear to me that Sheila will provide superb leadership and is fully committed to competitive excellence and community involvement."