Many were surprised when the NFL announced the Detroit Lions would be the Kansas City Chiefs’ Week 1 opponent for the opening game of the 2023 NFL regular season. While the Super Bowl champion typically gets the national spotlight of that kickoff game, to put the Lions—a team that didn’t make the playoffs last year.
Lions coach Dan Campbell joined “Good Morning Football” on Friday morning to discuss the decision and offer his thoughts on the team earning the right to be featured in primetime.
“That means a lot, man. Yes, it means you’re gaining respect,” Campbell said. “Now, you’ve got to go earn it. You’ve got an opportunity, like everything in this league, we have an opportunity to showcase what we’re about on primetime, and now it’s up for us to go do it. And that’s all we can ask for.”
Campbell knows the Lions got this opportunity because of their strong finish to the season last year, winning eight of their final 10 games. But it’s on them to not blow this moment in the spotlight.
“We finished the year (well) certainly, but it also means they’re betting on we won’t get our asses kicked, alright?” Campbell said. “You may get beat, but you won’t get your asses kicked. That’s what they’re saying.”
Facing the Chiefs is going to be no easy task. Not only is Kansas City defending champions, but they have won the last eight season openers, and are 20-5 at home over the past three seasons.
“We already know they’re going to be ready, man,” Campbell said. “They’re the top dogs, they’re as good as they get and the ultimate challenge, but if you’re a competitor like we are as a coaching staff and our players are, it just doesn’t get any better.”
Campbell also understands the stakes for the season opener. If they win—currently as 6.5-point underdogs—the expectations changes dramatically. If they lose, people will just say the same things they’ve always said about the Lions.
“You’re going to be expected to not lose another game if you can beat the Chiefs. That’s the reality,” Campbell said. “So if you slip up and lose a game, well then you’re trash again.”