Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell has a way with words. His ability to captivate an audience and inspire is unlike any coach this franchise has seen. As the leader of an NFL football team, that shouldn’t be overly surprising. But Campbell doesn’t just distribute impactful halftime speeches. He can deliver “I’ll run through a wall for you” phrases every time he steps up to a microphone.
We’ve all seen viral clips from press conferences that illustrate his quirky, fun side, but there are also moments that cause you to stop what you’re doing because the hairs on the back of your neck start tingling.
A great example of that was during the opening scene of HBO’s “Hard Knocks” in 2022 when Campbell described what he wanted the organization’s identity to be.
“It’s our core foundation, men. Grit,” Campbell went on to explain. “And what does it mean? Really, in a nutshell, I think it means this: we’re going to go a little bit longer, we’ll push a little harder, and we’ll think a little deeper, and a little sharper. To me, it means, we’ll play you anywhere. We’ll play you on grass, we’ll play you on turf, we’ll go to an (explicative) landfill. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if you have one ass cheek and three toes, I’ll beat your ass.”
This season, Campbell added another layer to the team's identity: “ We’re still on the hunt.”
The Lions fell just short of the playoffs last season, but after finishing strong—winning eight of their last 10 games—the hype surrounding Detroit was alive and expanding. Despite all the positive national attention, Campbell made certain to instill a mentality within this team that they’re still the underdog and haven’t accomplished anything yet.
After starting the season 3-1, winning road games at Arrowhead Stadium and Lambeau Field, and sitting alone atop the NFC North, Campbell insisted in a conference call with the media that the attitude of the franchise has not changed and they remain the hunter.
“I think our focus still has got to be we’re not hunted,” Campbell said of being at the top of the division. “We’re still on the hunt, and I said this back in training camp, but if you’re hunting us, you don’t have to look far. We’re going to be on your front porch when you open the door.
“So, that’s very much the mindset. We still have a lot to prove. We want to win this division and we’ve done nothing yet. We’re on course, we like where we’re at, but man, we’re still hungry.”
Whew. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a wall I need to repair.