SBD/21/Franchises

WHEN BILL FORD TALKS TURKEY, NFL OWNERS LISTEN

     Lions VP Bill Ford, Jr. made a strong effort to save the
Lions Thanksgiving Day game after Chiefs Owner Lamar Hunt floated
a proposal at the winter meetings to rotate the high-profile
contest, according to Vartan Kupelain & Mike O'Hara of the
DETROIT NEWS.  It was Ford's first appearance at the NFL meetings
and he "didn't fumble the ball with a strong presentation on the
holiday game begun by the Lions in 1934."  If Hunt's move was
based on jealousy of the Cowboys, who also host a Thanksgiving
game, "then look for the Lions to cut any ties with Dallas and go
their own way."  With the franchise, Ford "believes in marketing
and promotional programs designed to enhance the team's image and
popularity" in Detroit, and he will try to make the Thanksgiving
game a "bigger attraction than it already is" (Kupelian & O'Hara,
DETROIT NEWS, 3/19).
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