Josh Sanchez
Monday March 10th, 2014

Martha Ford, not William Clay Ford Jr., taking over Detroit Lions ownership Martha Ford, wife of Williams Clay Ford Sr., will take over controlling interest of the Lions. (Carlos Osorio/AP)

Over the weekend, longtime Detroit Lions owner William Clay Ford Sr. passed away at his home and many believed that his son, William Clay Ford Jr., would be the next man to take over the team.

However, in a statement released by the Lions on Monday, it was announced that Ford Sr.'s widow, Martha Ford, would take over controlling interest of the team.

“Pursuant to long-established succession plans, Mr. Ford’s controlling interest in the Lions passes to Mrs. Martha Ford,” the team said in the release. “She and her four children will continue to be involved in the ownership of the franchise, as they have during Mr. Ford’s tenure.”

While Martha Ford will have the controlling interest of the team, it is believed that William Clay Ford Jr. will maintain a prominent role in decision-making. He will remain the Lions vice chairman, a position that he has held since 1995. By taking over the Lions, Martha Ford joins Virginia Halas McCaskey as the only female principal owners of NFL teams. McCaskey earned controlling interest of the team after her father, George, passed away in 1983. She owns 80 percent of the Bears franchise, along with her children and grandchildren.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.