Friday is the two-year anniversary of the Detroit Lions officially hiring Dan Campbell to be the franchise’s next head coach. At the time, it was a bold hire. Campbell did not fit the mold of the “savvy young coach” that had become the popular choice among NFL owners and general managers. Instead, he was a charismatic former player who those close to him admired, but those on the outside mocked.
Flash forward to now, and Campbell has earned a lot of respect around this league. Though he won’t win Coach of the Year honors, he certainly finished the 2022 season with his name in the conversation.
The Lions started the season 1-6, and many understandably wondered if this was the right regime to turn things around. It was understood that this team was young and their talent was still underdeveloped, but at some point, there needs to be signs of progress that the road we’re currently on is headed to the right destination.
The last half of the season was everything we were looking for and more. Detroit finished 8-2 in the final 10 games of the season, made a legit playoff run, and played as a top-five team in the final three months of the season. Had the Lions simply won one more game in that tough start, there’s a very real chance we’d be talking today about their matchup in the divisional round.
Campbell is obviously at the heart of this team. He had to keep the locker room together during the tough times, something that general manager Brad Holmes says is Campbell’s superpower.
“He has an elite ability to pull a team out of a dark place,” Holmes said last week. “And whether it’s from a record standpoint, whether it’s something from he has to make a tough decision on the staff, it’s proven. Proof’s in the pudding.”
Campbell has now had to make two really tough decisions midseason. He demoted offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn and took over play-calling duties in Year 1. And this past season, he dismissed defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant—one of the most well-liked coaches on the roster. Both moves were bold and unpopular at the time. Both moves absolutely paid off.
That isn’t to say Campbell has been perfect. There are some still very fair questions about his game management. That likely cost the Lions their first contest against the Vikings, and there were some questionable decisions that lingered even during Detroit’s impressive run at the end of the season. And Detroit’s performance against the Panthers in a critical game down the stretch was downright unacceptable.
Before we get to your vote this time around, let’s check in on Campbell’s approval numbers throughout his first two years.
January 2021: 78 percent approval
July 2021: 97 percent approval
October 2021: 95 percent approval
November 2021: 88 percent approval
December 2021: 98 percent approval
January 2022: 98 percent approval
September 2022: 98 percent approval
October 2022: 80 percent approval
November 2022: 94 percent approval
Okay, time to vote now.
Do you approve of the job Dan Campbell is doing as Lions head coach?
This poll is closed