Sometimes in this business, you have to write things you never would have thought you needed to write. But that’s the case this Tuesday afternoon, as the internet got fooled by what was a harmless story by Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell.
Making an appearance on the loose, uncensored “Pat McAfee Show” on Tuesday afternoon, Campbell let his hair down a little bit and told an entertaining story about the moment in which the Lions dialed up a game-clinching pass to right tackle Penei Sewell.
Here’s what Campbell said, verbatim, when asked about the play:
“Here’s another thing that happened. These things happen during the game, but—so we’re in that situation and the fans are doing the wave around the stadium. And so I’m just watching it and I hear (offensive coordinator) Ben Johnson go, ‘Hey coach, do you want to [garbled noises]’ and I’m so focused on the wave and I said, ‘Yeah, that’s fine.’ And then I look up, and we’re throwing it to Penei, and I’m like, ‘What the fuck are we doing?’ He said, ‘Coach, you said it was fine.’ But it worked out great. It was unbelievable.”
Whether it was Campbell’s convincing acting or people’s preconceived notions about the “meatheadedness” of the Lions' head coach, people took this story literally. When he was 100 percent joking.
Don’t believe me?
Well, first of all, Lions fans were definitely not doing the wave at that point in the game. It had come earlier, but on the biggest play of the game, I can tell you from being in that stadium that it wasn’t happening at that moment.
Secondly, Campbell went on local radio station 97.1 The Ticket earlier on Tuesday and when he was asked about the wave, he said he didn’t even notice, because he was locked into the action.
“I didn’t see the wave,” Campbell said.
Admittedly, this whole thing is a bit of a weird thing for Campbell to joke about, and people who don’t listen to or interact with Campbell very often may not understand his style of comedy. In Campbell’s unique way, he was probably just trying to give Johnson more credit for the play call while getting McAfee and his cronies some laughs.
In between this story, he told McAfee about the genesis of the play. He talks about how they’ve been talking about getting Sewell involved several times due to his athleticism. He literally talks about how he told Jared Goff to tell Sewell to stay in bounds to keep the clock running.
“The only thing I was worried about that I wanted to make sure Goff got to him is, ‘Make sure you stay in bounds,’” Campbell said.
So, no. Dan Campbell wasn’t caught off guard by the trick play to Sewell in the game’s most pivotal moment because the fans were doing the wave.
Okay, back to your regularly scheduled programming.