Phoenix – Rod Wood regrets the joke.
At his introductory press conference as the Detroit Lions president in 2015, the longtime Ford family estate manager with no professional sports background joked about his qualifications for the job.
“I would probably say I’m not qualified to run any other NFL team, but I would say I’m qualified to run this one,” Wood said at the time.
The self-deprecating comment backfired and became a sound bite on local radio and fodder for columns.
Now, 18 months later, Wood isn’t joking about his qualifications any longer. He believes he could handle running another NFL team, not that he has any interest in working for someone else.
“Yeah, I shouldn’t joke about my qualifications,” Wood said. “I think the thing that I was trying to convey, which maybe didn’t come out, was the relationship with the Ford Family I think makes me uniquely qualified to run this franchise. And I will tell you in talking to some of my peers, they are envious of the fact that I’ve that kind of relationship because that’s probably one of the most important things for a team president to have is to have a great relationship with ownership."
Wood has spearheaded a number of important upgrades with accelerated timetables at both the team’s practice facility and stadium. At the league level, he’s been placed on the investment committee, working on player pensions, among other things.
It’s a natural fit, given his background in finance.
“As I’ve gotten more involved in the league — I’m on the NFL investment committee and, you know, bouncing ideas off of the league office and vice versa and things – I’ve become a little bit of a resource to them in certain ways and vice versa,” Wood said. “So, I think I probably could (be president of another team).
“I have no plans to run any other team besides the Detroit Lions. It’s my hometown team and I work for the best owner in the league and I’m very happy with what I’m doing.”