Lamorandier: A Lions Boycott Will Yield Minimal Returns for Fans
The Lions are once again out of the playoff race before Thanksgiving.
Their defense is on pace to be the worst in franchise history, and their three wins are laughable given the preseason expectations.
From a fan perspective, it's completely understandable to be infuriated by the product that the Lions have put on the field this year.
I would say it's fair to assume Lions owner Martha Ford is also well aware that this season has been a major failure.
Not one reasonable individual is going to proclaim the 2019 Lions as a success.
It isn't the first time and likely not the last, but a large faction is calling for a "Thanksgiving boycott" to send a message to the Ford family.
But what will a boycott accomplish?
It's been done before, yet here we are once again.
If you think boycotting the game will hurt the checkbook of the Ford family and force their hand to sell the team, in short, it won't.
Ticket sales are not where the money is made in the NFL.
In fact, it's actually a small portion of a team's total revenue.
The league's television deal is split evenly among all 32 NFL teams, and generates over three times the amount of money that is generated from ticket sales.
And when you factor in sponsorships, merchandising and licensing deals, the ticket sales usually fall well below 20 percent of most NFL teams' earnings.
To truly hurt the Lions' main source of income, a nationwide NFL boycott would have to transpire -- which is not happening.
Historically, the Lions have always been in the bottom three of the NFL as far as total revenue goes.
It's not as if the Ford family is banking on the success of the team to stay financially afloat.
Whether you believe her words or not, Martha has made it clear she wants to win and improve the fan experience.
Not to stick up for the Fords, but her actions would back those notions.
The Lions have spent millions of their own money -- not the taxpayers -- on renovations to Ford Field in recent years.
In terms of acquiring players, there is a salary cap that limits how much the Lions can spend on talent.
In no way have the Fords been cheap, though.
Detroit had just $4.1 million in operating income in 2018 -- the lowest in the NFL by $20 million.
Unfortunately, Martha just might not know how to instill a winning culture.
She is self-aware enough to understand that. That's why she hired a third-party to recruit and put in place the current regime.
The biggest impact of a boycott will be the feeling of embarrassment.
Maybe even more embarrassing is a house full of booing customers on national television.
Honestly, though, is one week of embarrassment really going to be the catalyst of change after 60 years of humiliation?
The common denominator in the Lions' fruitless history in the Super Bowl era has been the Fords.
The ownership doesn't appear to be changing hands anytime soon, and the fans can't realistically force any revolution.
Switching front offices has been done plenty of times under the Fords' watch, and nothing has ever changed.
Promoting a clean sweep of the current regime will just be another instance in the never-ending fruitless cycle.
I'm not saying firing Bob Quinn and/or Matt Patricia is or isn't the answer, but a boycott just isn't going to magically make things better.
Every single Lions general manager and head coach have come in with the belief that they can turn around the NFL's worst franchise.
Blaming the fans for supporting a futile team is not the reason why the Lions have been a perennial failure.
The franchise continues to make money, regardless of attendance or the relatively small amount of fan support.
Maybe a boycott could expedite the arrival of a new front office, but let's not act like doing so is going to fix all the Lions' problems.
If anything, a boycott is just a way to demonstrate anger and to lose out on one of the 16 days a year you can watch your team.
I've decided I'm going to continue watching the sport I love: the game of football.