SBD/January 16, 2014/Franchises

Lions Vice Chair Bill Ford Jr. Addresses Mixed Reactions To Jim Caldwell Hire

National reaction to Caldwell's hiring was more favorable than the local reaction
Lions Vice Chair Bill Ford Jr. said that he "understands the dichotomy" between the positive reactions of those around the NFL, and the negative reaction of Lions fans after the team named Jim Caldwell its new coach, according to Dave Birkett of the DETROIT FREE PRESS. While many Lions fans "questioned the decision," people around the league "praised the move." Ford said, "Clearly, fans are frustrated. I understand that. I'm frustrated. We're all frustrated. Our family's frustrated. But I also think it went against the narrative that was out there. I think it surprised a lot of people because we hadn't done much public talking about this search. When I hired Alan Mulally (to run Ford Motor Company), no one had ever heard of him and nobody knew that I was talking to him. I think that searches like that are best done quietly." Ford added Lions GM Martin Mayhew and President Tom Lewand "have done a very good job." Ford said that he believes the team is "poised for a quick turnaround." He added, "We feel like we've got a good roster. You heard that from Jim, too. He feels that we have a good roster and so I expect him to hit the ground running" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 1/16).

ACCORDING TO JIM: In Detroit, Jeff Seidel writes Caldwell during his introductory press conference yesterday "came off as strong, firm, humble, bold, stable and filled with conviction." In a "long, rambling speech, Caldwell quoted everybody from Fielding Yost to John Wooden, while dropping in a couple of references to the Bible." He "seemed like a grandfather who has been in football his entire life" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 1/16). Also in Detroit, Rochelle Riley writes Lions fans need Caldwell "to be the playmaker, the voice, the face" of the organization. Caldwell yesterday "made clear that he's about building a team" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 1/16). The FREE PRESS' Drew Sharp writes, "The biggest perception problem for the Lions as they embark down their latest newest coaching path isn't whether they got their desired first choice in Caldwell, but rather are they organizationally capable of securing the proper pieces necessary for championship contention?" The Lions "wisely didn't attempt selling Caldwell as their No. 1 candidate." Ford "thought it was 'interesting' that the national tone regarding the Caldwell hire was more favorable than the local reaction." Sharp: "There's little faith in the front office, even less confidence in ownership" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 1/16).
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