Right, where does one start when addressing the nonsense that surrounds Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell. Fellow Belly Up writer Kendrick Lindsay wrote yesterday about how Dan Campbell is a disaster waiting to happen. I like Kendrick; he resembled Baker Mayfield as he appeared on the excellent Hardcourt Hunnies podcast. The following won’t be an attack on the better-looking Mayfield. It is, however, a counter-argument to the downright asinine takes that people offer on the Lions’ new head coach. I’ll preface it with this; Detroit is where I was born. I am a lifelong Lions fan and Detroiter. The following presentation of an article won’t feature meaningless Lions bias; it will feature points to blow the do-gooders’ criticisms away.

That Press Conference

Dan Campbell’s initial press conference shocked the NFL world. The former tight-end stood there in his mountainous frame and delivered a WWE promo for a press conference. Tears, laughter, and profanities were on show as Campbell displayed his boundless energy. He demonstrated a passion and an attitude that Detroit’s lacked in 20 years. Many good boys, goody-two-shoes, or whatever you want to call them, didn’t like what they heard. Why? They didn’t like the testosterone-fuelled aggression. The media didn’t like a giant standing there with his chest puffed out, saying that the Lions are going to rip a kneecap off. Hey good boys, here’s the kicker. He wasn’t speaking to you.

Instead of pandering to fools like Nick Wright or Colin Cowherd, Campbell addressed the target audience. He spoke directly to Detroit, Michigan. Not the national press, or ESPN, or nerds who hide behind their laptops. He talked to us. Once upon a time, the city of Detroit loomed large over the Midwest. Industry, culture, and music saw this great city thrive, as did our Lions. Sadly, as the decades wore on, our city decayed, people left, while outsiders mocked us for showing pride in our hometown. The Detroit Lions went the same way. For four decades, our team became the doormat of the NFL. Just like the city did, nobody cared about Detroit through all the desolation. They laughed at us. After playing here for three years, Dan Campbell is well-versed in all of that.

No More Coach-Speak

That’s why he spoke to us. No Detroiter wanted to hear coach-speak. We’ve heard enough of that shit. Detroit listened to coaches talk about scheme and personnel through all the press conferences, and you know what? It all ended up in the same lifeless, winless experience. No-one wanted to endure another press conference with a coach talking about why two-high safety looks are better than playing one and stacking the box. Detroit desired passion, a love for the Motor City.

Campbell got that, Detroit’s got kicked, bruised, and beaten for a long time. That goes for the city and the franchise. The only way things will change is if the Lions bloody some noses. Nobody respects us, so the team needs to make the opponents respect us. Detroit runs on passion, grit, and a massive chip on the shoulder. It’s time the team embraced that. Campbell hit a home-run in that press conference.

Dan Campbell’s Bravado

Dan Campbell as interim head coach of the Dolphins

Only a select few individuals ever get to play in the NFL. Dan Campbell is one of those individuals. So, nerds, stop, because you’re talking crap. Football is a violent, physical game. I know when you play Madden on the sofa, it doesn’t feel like a physical game. It most definitely is. Campbell recognizes that. Therefore, the Lions must embrace that aggressive, physical mindset. Detroit is the NFC North’s doormat. Like Seattle did in the early 2010s, aggression, physicality, and a macho bravado can change that. If you don’t like that, watch something else. No Detroiter wishes for their team to get buddy-buddy or stay in awe of the opposition.

Like the Bad Boy Pistons, the dynastic Red Wings, or Jim Leyland’s Tigers, Detroit’s teams play better with an edge that walks close to the line. Why is that? Well, Detroit’s a rough and tumble place. Detroiters battle every day to make their lives better. They understand the grit and fierce determination that’s required. In the Super Bowl era, the Detroit Lions never created that mentality. That is a crucial reason for the struggles of the franchise. Dan Campbell is trying to change that.

In the Patricia era, Lions fans got told they wanted too much. That’s a steaming pile of, you know what, Detroiters just want a team that goes to battle for them every Sunday. If it means that other people are going to get hurt, then so be it. For so many years, nobody outside Detroit gave a damn about the city or the Lions. Do you think Lions fans give a damn about Kirk Cousins getting banged up or Davante Adams getting walloped? They don’t. Detroit wants to see that happen.

The Locker Room

Campbell
Dan Campbell, Assistant Head Coach of The New Orleans Saints

Many experts are suggesting that Dan Campbell cant win the locker room over. Firstly, let’s address the franchise tag concern that Kendrick referenced. No player likes the tag, which I think is a fair statement. On the other hand, Campbell was a journeyman tight-end. This year, Over The Cap project, the tag to hit around $16.4 million. That is a massive chunk of money in Campbell’s eyes.

Yes, Golladay doesn’t want the tag, although, from Campbell’s perspective, it’s a lot of money. For most working-class people in Detroit, that is an incredible amount of money. Campbell won’t lose the player over that comment.

In reality, he shouldn’t lose the locker room at all. The NFL community holds coaches like Anthony Lynn and Duce Staley in high regard. Dan Campbell’s staff is well equipped to deal with the modern locker room.

It’s Far Too Early to Say What Dan Campbell Will Become

Detroit Lion’s Dan Campbell (89) and quarterback Jon Kitna (8) celebrate after a first quarter touchdown. Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions Ford Field (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Plenty of people decided to say Dan Campbell will fail in Detroit. Campbell could, although those people are basing it on a take full of more holes than that ugly Swiss Cheese. They think he’ll fail because he is a meathead. Well, Detroit just endured a rocket scientist in charge; he coached like a pre-schooler. The Lions hired the genius coordinator, gave him his players, and Patricia still failed. Therefore, why is it wrong that Detroit hired a big alpha Lion to lead the pride?

The criticisms must come from a place of insecure masculinity. Beta males don’t like seeing alpha males display a morbid show of testosterone-powered rage. Those naysayers formed an analysis based on that. Not based on scheme, style of players, game-plan, or coaching staff. Those would be valid criticisms. Instead, we see these ill-informed nonsensical takes because Campbell dented the good boys’ egos. He dared to cross that line, to take football back to its physical roots. I mean, if that offends you, God help you.

He Gets Detroit

I’m not saying Dan Campbell will win a Super Bowl in Detroit. However, if you’re out there forming a take based on a few quotes, then you need to give your brain a shake. Don’t tar him with the Gregg Williams brush. Campbell’s never called defensive plays or been a coordinator. A silly Steeler fan came at me with that take. Silly boy. Dan Campbell isn’t out here to be the media’s head coach or the head coach for other fans. The Dude is here to be the Detroit Lions head coach. To lead Detroit out of the wilderness, he understands the city, our city, and Dan Campbell knows what Detroit desires. That is the perfect start. Next is the hard bit.


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Tayyib Abu

I am a massive fan of sports and all the entertainment they can bring. I enjoy writing and have been doing it for a year now; I bring opinion, passion and insight. I am also a fan of Newcastle United, Detroit Lions and the Detroit Tigers. Therefore I am an expert on heartbreak.

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