If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
Facing a second-and-10 at midfield, down eight points with under five minutes remaining, Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson went to the line. After surveying the defense for a second, he called a new play to the offense.
“Let’s go ‘Dan Campbell. Dan Campbell,’” Wilson barked out.
And the play call couldn’t have been a better embodiment of Detroit Lions football: a second-and-long draw play that earned a first down. Check it out:
Russell Wilson: “Dan Campbell, Dan Campbell.”— Arye Pulli (@AryePulli) December 25, 2023
Proceeds to run the ball for a first down. pic.twitter.com/d82TbFKyuK
You have to imagine that Broncos head coach Sean Payton played a huge part in honoring the Lions head coach with the play. Campbell served as Payton’s assistant head coach and tight ends coach with the New Orleans Saints for five straight years. The Lions coach constantly credits Payton for becoming the coach he is today.
“My career has been with him and so I see football the way he sees it,” Campbell said a couple weeks ago. “That’s what I learned, that’s how I learned, for the most part.”
Of course, the timing of this play call is also notable. The Lions defeated the Broncos just last week in a 42-17 slaughtering at Ford Field. In a way, this almost feels like an honoring of a Detroit team that both bested them and won their first divisional title in 30 years earlier in the day.
The play helped the Broncos lead a game-tying drive late in the game. But unlike the Lions, Denver couldn’t close out the night with a win, eventually losing to the Patriots 26-23.