We know that Dan Campbell exists. We have an abundance of evidence that he is a human, who played tight end in the NFL, and made the transition to coach. Still, I can’t help but feel like Campbell may be a cyborg created by an advanced A.I. that was fed information exclusively from 1980s football movies featuring grizzled, classic football tropes.
The Lions may only be 1-10-1 this season, but Detroit has been far better than their record shows. There’s a ton of fight in the team this year, and while they have a ways to go from a talent perspective, it’s clear they have something promising to build off. Now the legend of Dan Campbell is growing, with praise coming from unlikely places. The latest comes from Broncos QB Teddy Bridgewater, who explained just how motivational the coach is.
“Dan, he’s awesome. His energy is contagious and I’m pretty sure those players in Detroit love playing for him. I was able to spend those two years with him in New Orleans and the things that he was able to do with those tight ends in that room — whenever he stood in front of the team and talked, you’re ready to just storm out of that meeting and punch a guy in the face for no reason.”
It’s pretty impressive to be motivated enough to commit random acts of violence, but this is the Dan Campbell effect, apparently. Former NFL GM Pat Kirwin compared Campbell to Bill Cowher in terms of his personality, but let’s be honest — the jaw is a hell of a resemblance too. Dude even looks like Cowher when he’s fuming on the sideline.
The most remarkable thing about what Campbell is doing in Detroit is that he’s simply delivering on his promises, a rare commodity in the NFL. We’re accustomed to coaches talking big game, but not really backing it up. That’s just not the case here.
From the second Campbell arrived he told everyone what to expect, who he was, and what he was going to do. This was a team who was going to be aggressive, never stop fighting, and even bite a kneecap if they have to.
The written quote doesn't capture the levels here. Both kneecaps! pic.twitter.com/9RAUs7GOYr— Kevin Cole (@KevinColePFF) January 21, 2021
That shined through when the Lions won their first game, beating the Vikings on Sunday. This wasn’t a team relieved to win, it was a unit that was hungry for more — that’s the football culture Campbell has built in Detroit.
What began as a unique hiring people were unsure of, has fast become one of the wisest decisions in modern NFL coaching. Campbell is the real deal, and as long as the front office can supply him with talent, there’s something special brewing in Detroit.