Editor’s note: A shorter version of this column was published in the March 12, 2014 edition of the Wall Street Journal.
In the course of his 88 years, William Clay Ford, who died Sunday, captained Yale’s tennis team, earned an engineering degree and chaired Ford Motor Co.’s finance committee, which is enough for any lifetime.
But he will likely be remembered mainly as the owner of the Detroit Lions, during five woefully unsuccessful decades. Since he took over the franchise in 1964, the Lions have won exactly one playoff game, and remain the only NFL team to miss out on all 48 Super Bowls.
Ford’s critics claim he was a snob who didn’t care about the average fan, a fat cat who was more focused on profits than the playoffs.
False, and false.