The NFL has officially selected the Detroit Lions as their host team for the 2022 edition of Hard Knocks, and with that realization should come some definite excitement for fans across the league.
Typically, the Lions are not a team to be classified as must-watch television, but with some of the personalities they have and the way their franchise is trending, things have taken a bit of a turn in the Motor City already. Seeing a show ready to cast their bright-lights Detroit’s way is an interesting development for the team’s loyal fanbase and the football-watching country as a whole.
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Naturally, some folks may be wondering why the Lions on Hard Knocks makes sense at all relative to where their franchise has been lately, but there are some fascinating reasons that the team is set to be great viewing for the future this summer.
Here’s a look at why Lions fans, NFL fans and even casual football fans will want to give this year’s version of Hard Knocks a look this summer.
Dan Campbell’s Football Sense
Most folks who follow the league casually know Dan Campbell as the guy who wants the Lions to bite kneecaps, the dude with the intense Starbucks order or the man who admitted he wished he had a pet lion to roam the sidelines. What many more folks might not realize is the care Campbell has for his players and the game, which he showed numerous times this season, especially after some tough losses. Campbell is also a serious football mind and a former player who is actually a lot smarter than many folks might realize. When the cameras are on, Campbell will no doubt have his fair share of meme-worthy moments, but it isn’t a stretch to say that fans will probably learn a whole new side of the coach, who has a serious offensive mind and understands more football than people are probably assuming.
Campbell can shift the prevailing narrative from the idea that he’s a simple meathead, goofball former player to the fact that he is potentially one of the better young coaches in the league coming up. Watching him behind the scenes will be fascinating for fans.
Jamaal Williams’ Humor and Leadership
Though he’s big fun himself, Campbell will probably not be outdone by some of the brighter personalties on this Lions team, however, and one of them is running back Jamaal Williams. Fans got a taste of the fun Williams can have last training camp and during the season, when he spoke about his love for anime, and forced members of the media to do rock-paper-scissors to ask him questions during sessions. Williams’ own show at DetroitLions.com entitled Jamaal That has been a hit with the fanbase, and with national cameras coming in, Williams will get to take his personalty national now.
Green Bay fans already know the treasure they had in Williams, and Lions fans have quickly learned he’s a special guy to know as well. If there’s one player to bet on stealing the show this summer in front of the cameras and gaining a reputation from that, it’s going to be Williams.
The Lions’ All-Star Roster of Assistant Coaches
When watching this version of Hard Knocks, NFL fans of a certain age will be transported back in time and treated to some names they’ve come to love through the years as players on the field in completely new roles. Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets, Washington Commanders and New Orleans Saints fans will want to see Mark Brunell as Detroit’s quarterbacks coach. Philadelphia fans will get treated to one of their all-time favorites in Duce Staley running the Lions’ running back room. Pittsburgh fans will watch Antwaan Randle-El leading Detroit’s wide receiver group. Aaron Glenn is Detroit’s defensive coordinator, which is sure to please Jets and Texans fans. In Aubrey Pleasant, the Lions have one of the better young personalities in the league coaching defensive backs.
As a whole, there will be a little something for everyone in terms of former players who are now coaching in Detroit. It will represent a reason for casual fans to watch in order to show them what the stars of yesteryear are up to. The Lions also have one of the most player-heavy staffs in the league, so seeing how that works will be interesting indeed.
Detroit’s Role as a Comeback City
For many folks who have either never been to Detroit or considered it a city not worthy of their time, the locale will get a chance to step up and prove that they can merit some great attention on a national stage. Combined with the NFL draft heading to Motown in 2024, the city is about to get a whole lot more eyeballs on it this coming offseason, and it’s happening at the perfect time. Detroit has long been poised for a revival, and with some of the changes downtown, it’s different than many people remember it from the past.
Spouting preconceived notions about Detroit and its people have long been a lazy way out for the media and other fans, but with Hard Knocks around town, the chance will exist for folks to see the real Detroit show itself nationally. That can only be good for the whole town.
Brad Holmes’ Potential as a Rising Star Executive
Though many folks chose to blast the Lions last year for their hiring of Campbell, they quietly also hired a man who could represent a true rising star in his profession in the form of general manager Brad Holmes. Since taking over the Lions, Holmes has confidently led a revival of the team’s front office and roster. Even though Holmes has gotten off to a great start in Detroit, lots of people may not know it thanks to the fact that Holmes is not promoted a ton, and video rarely surfaces of him doing his job outside the draft. After this time, it’s possible the league will have their eyes opened to a magnetic personality who is also a man of color.
Holmes has a great shot on television to change the narrative that Detroit’s front office has not seen meaningful change and represents an incompetent outfit. It will be fun for fans to peek behind the curtain and see what goes on with the new regime.