I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t jump on the Dan Campbell train in the beginning. When he first joined the team as head coach in 2021, I wasn’t impressed at the get-go. He didn’t seem to have the rich coaching history that I thought he needed to be a successful coach. I was also hoping for someone with more head coaching experience and a solid name. Then, Campbell’s first season with the team was dismal, so that seemed to solidify my initial thoughts. The Detroit Lions Dan Campbell respect rating, for me, was plummeting.
But, something special happened last season. Midway through the year, the Lions actually started winning. But they didn’t just win. They seemed like a team with true promise, talent and skill. They also became the sweethearts of the NFL, thanks to their Cinderella story and positive attitude. Campbell has to have something to do with the Lions’ turnaround.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think it’s all Campbell. I think Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff has a lot to do with the leadership on the team and the team’s success. Also, the secondary coaching staff with the Lions has been stellar. But, Campbell, I believe, should get some respect inside the NFL.
Detroit Lions’ Dan Campbell Respect
Unfortunately, as much as the NFL is throwing praise at the Lions, they don’t seem to be doing the same for Dan Campbell. First of all, the FanSided.com site Lombardiave.com has posted a story ranking the best and worst NFC North coaches. They should, in my opinion, have Campbell at the top of the list. But, they don’t. Coming in at No. 4 on the tally is Matt Eberflus of the Chicago Bears. Then, at No. 3 is Campbell. They describe him as being “among the most entertaining head coaches in the league.” That’s true. They also say that “his Lions team is fun to watch.” Also true. But, they give him the lower ranking because his career head coaching record is 17-28-1, with a 12-21-1 record in his two seasons at Detroit.
It’s true that he need to start winning more games to raise that metric. Still, I think he deserves higher.
Moreover, Campbell was also a bit disrespected in the latest CBS Sports head coach ranking. He comes in at No. 22, just ahead of Brandon Staley of the Los Angeles Chargers and behind Ron Rivera of the Washington Commanders. “A walking embodiment of testosterone, Campbell’s fiery optimism finally translated to wins in 2022, and his late-year staffing changes helped fuel defensive strides,” Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports says. “Now his challenge will be meeting expectations, ensuring QB Jared Goff is protected while the Lions try to capture their first NFC North title in 30 years.”
I would have put Campbell in the top 20 of NFL coaches right now. Since it’s a current tally, I think they need to focus on the latest reason, and he delivered in 2022. What’s assured, though, is that if Campbell can pull off a victorious season in 2023, his ranking will skyrocket up these kinds of lists. Also, during last week’s Lions press conference, Campbell talked about getting the most out of the team this year. “I think some of it is just that, tinkering with, do we need to do a little bit more maybe early situational work in practice? Like that’s how we start.” For a look at how Dan Campbell changed the Detroit Lions’ culture, go here.