Brandstatter: Ford sends message that 'no one is safe'

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
The Lions were dominated in their last outing, a 45-10 loss to the Chiefs on Sunday.

Jim Brandstatter has been working as part of the Lions' broadcast team for 29 years, and the announcement Thursday of the firings of team president Tom Lewand and general manager Martin Mayhew, on the heels of staff changes last week, is the biggest upheaval he's seen in the organization.

Brandstatter handles the Lions' radio color commentary.

"Yeah, it is because it's swift, it's done in the middle of the season," Brandstatter said Thursday. "Clearly, it's a message. How can you not interpret it as a clear message from ownership that we were looking at every possible option here? That what is happening will not stand."

The Lions, who were 11-5 last season, now have the worst record in the NFL and are coming off a 45-10 loss to the Chiefs last Sunday in London.

"The expectations were so high, so the performance being so poor has exacerbated the decision and having the Lions look so listless and not even competitive has been the catalyst," Brandstatter said.

Brandstatter said the abundance of negative media and fan disappointment, voiced on multiple sports media platforms, did not play a role in the decision by Martha Ford, the Lions' owner and chairwoman.

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"There were 'Fire Millen' signs in the stadium, so this isn't anything new, and the fan outcry isn't any different when everyone was fed up with Millen," he said. "This is clearly Mrs. Ford's decision."

Certainly, Mayhew's job had appeared to be on the line before the game in London. But Brandstatter thought that because Lewand is considered more the "money guy" and not totally immersed in the day-to-day operations, he would be spared.

"That, to me, is the real message that no one is safe," Brandstatter said. "The nuclear option is on the table."