A little over three years ago, on January 21st 2021, the Detroit Lions made Dan Campbell their new head coach despite him not being widely known- having limited head-coaching experience and uncharted relations with new General Manager Brad Holmes. Many pundits said this was a terrible hire because Campbell had never been a coordinator.
Lions fans wanted to trust in a one-time journeyman Detroit tight end and his reputation of toughness. Yet, many also anticipated this new hire would become another embarrassment for a franchise emerging from Patriot Way destruction(Matt Patricia). For many fans, three years ago marked the beginning of another coaching extinction cycle.
Nepotism plays a big role in getting an NFL assistant job and Head Coaching jobs; the NFL is littered with it; the NFL is great at hiring failed former Head Coaches to take over after failing just a year or two before with another team. Take Former Colts Head Coach Frank Reich as an example; the Colts fired him, and the following year, he got a job as the Panthers Head Coach, and he did not even finish the season. It’s sickening to watch the same retread coaches get jobs repeatedly.
We will only look at a few doubters because almost everybody in the national media was destroying the Lions for choosing Campbell at the time.
Shannon Sharpe’s take on his show undisputed. Sharpe just turned the whole thing into a call-out for Eric Bieniemy and how the franchise was racist. Conveniently, not to mention, the Lion’s new GM and DC are both black. Of course, Sharpe is a shock-jock who needs to say the craziest crap he can think of to get people to pay attention to him, but this was a sad commentary from Sharpe that now makes Sharpe look stupid.
The Moronic Colin Cowherd also trashed the Lions choice of Campbell. Cowherd is one of those people who say as much shit as humanly possible, often contradictory, and then cherry-picks what he’s told so he can say, “See? I was right”.
These supposed experts have little clue what they are discussing and like to stir the pot. The more arguing and the crazier things they say are not expert opinions, but they are trying to get people to watch their show, and controversy sells.
No, he wasn’t and… He was the interim Head Coach in 2015 for the Miami Dolphins, going 5-7, and the team did play better when he took over. I think being a Head Coach is the only way to learn to be a head coach. Many head coaches fail because they tend to micromanage everything instead of hiring people they trust and letting them do the job they hired them for.
Matt Patricia, the man who was the Lions Head Coach before Campbell was celebrated by most of the experts when he got the job, Patricia had been a coordinator for Bill Belichick. The problem was that he had never been a Head Coach in the NFL and micromanaged everything.
Patricia’s first practice indicated what would happen in Detroit with him as the Head Coach. Patricia fractured that Lions team in his first season 2018 with a brutal first training camp. He tried embarrassing his star players and did everything a Head Coach shouldn’t do.
Patricia micromanaged things so much that he was late to press conferences, film sessions, and meetings.
As Campbell has stated, he had a hard time in Miami because it was hard for him not to micromanage everything. But unlike being an interim Head Coach as he was in Miami, as the Head Coach at the start in Detroit, he could pick the assistant coaches he trusted and that need to micromanage his team diminished.
Regarding play calling, that’s the offensive and Defensive coordinator’s job. It’s the Head coach’s job to coach the players on both sides of the Ball and manage the game. Campbell has proven he can do both of those things.
Another criticism, even this season, has been that Campbell coaches from his gut too much. Coaching from the gut is what great coaches do; sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.
We live in a day and age where everybody uses analytics. That’s not how you coach football! Surprisingly enough, when you look at the science behind the analytics, Dan Campbell is at the top of the list, and that’s coaching from the gut!
Maybe you are one of those guys who still thinks he takes too many chances, but remember this: the Lions are one win from the Super Bowl, so maybe you should trust Campbell the way he has learned to trust his assistant coaches and relax.
This is the best thing about Campbell, and it’s why he is winning. Being a players coach means loving your players and putting their well-being before yours. You check your ego at the door and put the team first. Coaches that do this win many games because once a player knows you have their best interest at heart, they will run through a brick wall for you.
Too many coaches nowadays think they are the show; they are what people pay to see and they aren’t. Take Matt Patricia as an example he was too self-important to let others help him, his ego got in the way. Dan Campbell doesn’t let his ego get in the way, and in just three short years, he has the Lions on the cusp of the Super Bowl.
The lesson for other NFL teams should be to find a man with a big heart and balls that put his players first. Don’t worry if he has ever called a play before. A Head Coach should be a leader of men, not a playcaller.
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