After a decade as an NFL assistant, Dan Campbell has landed his first head coaching job with the Detroit Lions. It is anyone’s guess how the hire will turn out, but it does sound like he’s winning the first press conference.
Campbell, who spent a decade bouncing around the NFL as a tight end, began his coaching career as an intern with the Miami Dolphins in 2010. He became tight ends coach under Tony Sparano the following year, and stayed on through Joe Philbin’s tenure from 2012-15. When Philbin was fired, he served as interim head coach, going 5-7.
In 2016, Campbell joined the New Orleans Saints staff, where he’s been assistant to head coach Sean Payton, as well as tight ends coach. Now, with the Saints season over after last weekend’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he takes over as the Lions head coach. His personality is really shining through today.
During the press conference, he appealed to the toughness and underdog mentality of the city of Detroit. Obviously, wins will mean a lot more than whatever Campbell says today, but he definitely knows the message he wants to convey to the Lions fans tuning in. “This team is going to take on the identity of this city,” he said.
Lions HC Dan Campbell:
"I wanted this job. … Bad. … This place has been kicked, it's been battered, it's been bruised. I can give you coachspeak all day long, none of that matters — you've had enough of that shit.
"This team is going to take on the identity of this city."
— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) January 21, 2021
Fans seem pretty excited about the energy that Campbell in bringing so far.
F yeah! Love this guy. He makes me want to run through a wall and I’m just an ordinary Joe.
— C. Mack (@CMackDTown) January 21, 2021
Lions absolutely need an identity. Lacked it since Schwartz days really
— j. harley (@jeffreyharley) January 21, 2021
That’s what I want to hear from a coach. I’m rooting for this guy
— Fearless Frank (@FearlessFrank4) January 21, 2021
Dan Campbell also cracked a pretty great joke early in the presser, saying that he told his agent to lie and tell the Detroit Lions that they were interviewing Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell, who has been one of the hottest coaching candidates in the sport over the last few years.
Lions new head coach Dan Campbell on how he ended up with the job: "I told my agent Rick Smith, make sure they think I'm [Iowa State head coach] Matt Campbell. I think that's how this has really worked out for me." 😂😂😂
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) January 21, 2021
The Detroit Lions have been rudderless for a while now, and it sounds like Campbell will get the shot to build them from the ground up. That may include moving on from veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford, who has been one of the few constants for the franchise.
We’ll find out more about the direction that the Lions are heading in as we approach free agency and the quarterback-heavy 2021 NFL Draft. The Lions have the 7th pick in the first round.