The Detroit Lions suffered through a week of tragedy along with the entire Michigan community following the fatal school shooting at Oxford High School, so by Sunday, the focus was all about how to properly honor the victims as well as give everyone a reason to feel good temporarily.
Before the game, the Lions had a moment of silence for the victims and also sported t-shirts and hats supporting the school. Detroit head coach Dan Campbell kept his hat on all day long, and after the Lions were able to pull off a miracle win, the coach started his press conference off by making an emotional dedication of the game ball.
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Following the game, Campbell displayed the ball and said it went out to everyone who was impacted by the tragedy. It was a special moment for the coach and the team.
“This game ball goes to the whole Oxford community. All those who were affected,” Campbell said after the game, while reading a list of the names of all the victims of the shooting. “Those names will never be forgotten and they’re in our hearts and our prayers and all the families and those who were affected by all of this. The classmates, the brothers, the sisters, the cousins, the teachers, the coaches, everybody.”
The dedication was a class move by Campbell and the Lions, but it didn’t stop with the head coach.
Jared Goff Dishes About Oxford
Much like Campbell, the Oxford situation was weighing heavily on the mind of Detroit quarterback Jared Goff after the game. As Goff explained, it was significant for the team to be able to be the light for Oxford, Detroit and the entire state for a day in order to help in putting a smile back on the faces of folks who perhaps hadn’t had much of a reason to smile for most of the week.
“Sometimes, special things happen in special circumstances. I think you saw yesterday what Michigan did against Iowa, and us getting our first win in twelve, thirteen weeks. You never hope for a tragedy like this, but you hope to be a light for those people and a positive that they could have fun watching today,” Goff told the media. “I hope they were all having fun watching today and were able to enjoy that win and we were able to take our minds off it for whatever it may be, three hours. I think any time we can do that it’s a lot bigger than our sport, it’s a lot bigger than us. I thought today was one of those special circumstances that we were able to rise to the occasion and make something special happen.”
Goff himself helped it happen given he fired the winning pass, and to see him get emotional was a special moment for his new city, indeed.
Oxford Tragedy Rocked Lions This Week
Being in the community, the Lions were impacted deeply by what happened 45 minutes north of Detroit when Oxford High School had an active shooter kill four and wound seven students. Dan Campbell described the situation as being hit by a ton of bricks. Offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn was stunned by the news as well given he was in Denver during the Columbine High School shooting, while linebacker Alex Anzalone remarked how confident he was in former teammate and Oxford football head coach Zach Line rallying the community following the tragedy.
Even though the Lions were shaken, the team provided the entire community with a reason to smile, which was good enough for this weekend.