DETROIT — Based on history, the goal might seem implausible. The Detroit Lions have always been a thing here, but not the most successful thing. In a city where the Red Wings had a 25-year playoff streak, the Pistons won NBA titles, and the Tigers made World Series appearances, the Lions have done little.
They’ve won nothing except continued heartache of their fan base leading to skepticism, futility and failure. When Lions owner Martha Ford hired Rod Wood, the former CEO of Ford Estates, to be team president in November 2015, it looked like same old Lions.
Wood had never run an NFL team before. A former corporate executive who grew up a Lions fan in Michigan, he spent time around the franchise in his role running Ford Estates, but that’s it. Yet Wood had goals when he was hired. Still does. Big ones.
“I want us to be viewed as the top franchise in Detroit,” Wood told ESPN in a lengthy sit-down interview last month.
Wood acknowledges this will take time, saying, “you can’t do that in 18 months.” He understands people won’t fully buy it until the Lions actually win something.
After all, this is a franchise known for poor performance. The Lions haven’t been division champions since the 1993 season, have won one playoff game in the Super Bowl era and are the only franchise in league history to have a 0-16 season. Up until this year, the team had banners not only celebrating NFL titles from the 1950s, but ones recognizing playoff appearances since. Even the years listed on those banners, other…
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