The Detroit Lions appreciated the fit of Dan Campbell from the beginning, as they named him head coach without much fanfare in 2021. If anything, Campbell was mocked for his famed kneecap rant.
Time has provided folks a bit of a change of heart as Campbell has shown off some major chops early in his career and helped the team turn things around on the field. More than that, the coach has proven that he fits his franchise and his city perfectly.
NFL.com analyst Adam Rank looked at picking out and rating the coaches that identify best with their city. Not surprisingly, Campbell was occupying a high spot on the list for Detroit.
Campbell placed second-overall for Rank on the list, only behind Nick Siriani of Philadelphia. As he wrote, the fits between Campbell and his city and team are second to none.
“I know it’s cliché at this point, but I can’t think of a coach who is better suited for Detroit than Dan Campbell. He’s got that mentality that’s perfect for the city. I love Detroit. It’s always had an edge. And when I was growing up, I hated the Detroit Pistons. Campbell can be that guy in a football sense. We all love the Lions because of Campbell and what we saw on Hard Knocks. In fact, we’re getting close to where we are going to turn on him, because the Lions could end up being one of those bully teams in the NFL, just like the old-school Pistons,” Rank wrote in the piece.
The man dubbed Motor City Dan Campbell has become a cult favorite with the city and its fans in a short amount of time, and his toughness and loving approach is a big reason why. It only serves to help that Campbell played as a tight end from 2006-2008 for the team as well.
Campbell gets Detroit, and the city gets him right back. That’s the best news about the future in terms of this pairing.
Campbell Gets Love as ‘Perfect Fit’ for Lions
While some in the media may believe Campbell is the perfect fit, how realistic is that line of thinking? Insiders seem to agree with the notion that Campbell is the right guy for the team’s future.
Analyst Jordan Schultz spoke with an AFC executive about Campbell, and learned even more about what makes the coach great. It involves a much deeper connection with his players.
“Everyone I speak with says the same thing about Lions HC Dan Campbell: He’s the right man for the job,” Schultz tweeted.
What did the executive tell Schultz specifically? Campbell is the kind of coach that can relate well to the players because he was a former player himself and grasps the process. That makes him a great fit for the Lions.
“The players respond to him because he’s been in their shoes and respects what that process means…Dan’s the right guy for Detroit,” the AFC executive told Schultz.
Campbell has not only brought the Lions back to respectability in two years, but he has seemingly primed the team for an upward trend in the future. That’s something that plenty of folks already see when looking at the team.
In the long run, Campbell will have to continue to prove he can win games at a high level. Getting player buy-in seemed to be the majority of the battle for the Lions, especially coming off the devastating culture of Matt Patricia, who was 13-29-1 with the team.
Campbell Has Bright Future With Lions
Not only is the fit of Campbell in Detroit something to be celebrated, but so too is his coaching acumen. Not just a walking quote, Campbell has proven that he can be a serious coach, too.
Even though he is 17-28-1 as a head coach, there’s metrics that show that Campbell knows what he is doing as the boss of the team.
Proof of that falls within Campbell’s decision making. As a new calculation showed, Campbell added plenty of win probability to his team during the 2022-23 season, so much so that he was ranked the third-overall coach in the league by Sumer Sports relative to decision making.
“How much win probability added over expected each head coach and their staff added during the 2022-23 season,” the site tweeted, putting Campbell’s name in third position.
The metric not only takes into account fourth down decisions, but two point conversions, first and second half timeout usage and delay of game in order to come up with the final number.
In addition to that, Campbell’s gambles on fourth down have become notable. While many haven’t worked out, Campbell has gotten the reputation as a coach that plays to win. He also has pulled numerous fake punts, which is exciting for fans.
As a whole, Campbell is a fun quote as well as a competent coach. That combines to make him one of the best possible leaders for the team moving forward.