Lions Announce Martha Firestone Ford Will Step Down as Owner

Detroit Lions owner Martha Firestone Ford
Detroit Lions owner Martha Firestone Ford | Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions have been owned by the Ford family since 1961, and the Michigan institution will stay in the family now that Martha Firestone Ford has confirmed she is stepping down as principal owner.

Ford, 94, is relinquishing her role as principal owner to daughter Sheila Ford Hamp, her second-oldest. This move keeps the Lions as one of ten teams in the NFL owned by a woman.

Ford took over ownership of the Lions in 2014, as William Clay Ford Sr., her husband and principal owner of the team since 1961, passed away. The Lions went 45-50-1 under Ford's watch, with an 11-5 season in 2014 serving as the team's best in the last decade. Detroit made the playoffs twice, but lost in the Wild Card round both times.

Both parties released statements after the change was made official, with Hamp claiming that she envisions "leading the Lions to excellence on and off the field."

The Lions might not have had a ton of success over the last few years, but the Ford name is still one of the most respected within the NFL's ownership circle, and Martha's desire to keep the Lions in the family could set them up nicely for the next decade.