Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell said he expected his team to win in Thursday’s season opener over the Kansas City Chiefs, and pushed back at suggestions that the victory should have an “asterisk” due to injuries on the other side.
Following Detroit’s 21-20 win over Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs on September 7, NBC play-by-play announcer Mike Tirico downplayed the victory and suggested that the Chiefs only lost because they were shorthanded.
“This (win) has an asterisk because of no Chris Jones and no Travis Kelce,” Tirico said.
Jones is sitting out while he presses for a new contract, and Kelce was held out of the game after suffering a knee injury in practice.
Tirico’s comment did not sit well with many Lions fans, and Campbell responded to the assertion after the game.
Lions Coach Shoots Down ‘Asterisk’ Idea
As ESPN reporter Eric Woodyard noted on Twitter, Tirico’s comments made their way to Campbell after the game, and the Lions coach shot down the idea.
“Lions head coach Dan Campbell responded to Mike Tirico’s postgame comments about the Chiefs win having an ‘asterisk’ because they didn’t have Chris Jones or Travis Kelce,” Woodyard wrote. ” ‘Is there an asterisk by the 1-0?’ Campbell said.”
Many fans joined Campbell in pushing back on the claim, with some pointing out that all teams have to deal with injuries over the course of an NFL season.
“Tirico calling that an asterisk win is a joke. Chris Jones holding out isn’t a Detroit problem. Kelce being hurt? Injuries happen. Give credit where credit is due,” one fan wrote on Twitter.
Campbell earned plenty of credit for his approach to the game, including the decision to call a fake punt early in the first quarter and the Lions backed up on their own 17-yard line. The Lions converted the 4th-and-2, going on to score a touchdown that drive.
Dan Campbell Has His Own View of Upset Win
While the Chiefs were favored in Thursday’s game and many saw Detroit’s victory as a surprise, Campbell said after the game that he knew his team was up to the task against the defending Super Bowl champions.
“I didn’t learn anything, I got verification on what I already knew, and this is a resilient team,” Campbell said, via ESPN. “It already was a resilient team and we added pieces to that resilient team, so we’re built to handle some stuff and we did that today against a very good opponent.”
The Lions players embodied the same attitude. After the game, safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson declared that this Lions team is different.
“This win means that this ain’t the same Detroit. I keep reiterating that. From the joint practices to all the other practices, winners know what winners look like,” Gardner-Johnson said, via ESPN. “This team is full of winners. Being on teams that’s been successful, I’m just happy to be a part of guys that want to play ball and go out here and get a W. No matter who out there on the field or what’s on the clock, these guys are going to fight. S—, we’re all going to fight.”