A lot has been made of Dan Campbell’s late game strategy at the end of Sunday’s home opener.
"Where was the urgency?"
"He’s aggressive all game then gets conservative at the end?"
Turn on your local sports talk radio station, you’ll hear it all. But what if I told you that this fan-take of Campbell going conservative is simply not true? Let’s use another sports analogy to compare circumstances.
The Lions were down 3 with just under 2 minutes to play starting at midfield. A touchdown takes the lead, a field goal ties it. If this were a basketball game, this is the equivalent to having the ball with 20 seconds left, down 2. A three pointer wins it, 2 ties it. So what’s the play? If you’re conservative, you try to get the quick 2, leaving time on the clock incase you miss. Safe. Easy. Live to fight in a tie game.
But what if you want to play aggressively? Well, the aggressive play is to run out the clock. Live or die by the success or failure of your ability to make the shot at the buzzer. That’s what Dan Campbell’s Lions did on Sunday. They played for the last shot. Choose your GOAT: MJ, LeBron, Kobe. They’re finishing the game with the ball in their hands.
Now you might be wondering, if the Lions were truly being aggressive then they wouldn’t have kicked a field goal to tie, but they would have shot the 3 pointer. They would’ve taken shots at the end zone to win at the buzzer. To this I say there’s a difference between playing aggressively and playing recklessly. In this case, they drew up a play to take a 3 point shot at the end of the game, but they didn’t execute. They didn’t get the first down they needed with under 30 seconds to play. So the smart play then was to take the 2 point layup to tie the game, as my analogy would have it. They kicked the field goal.
Lions fans, no we didn’t get the result we wanted. But there were many things to walk away from Sunday encouraged about. Goff just might be proving he’s good enough for the long haul. And yes, there were many things to walk away from Sunday feeling discouraged about too. But as for the Head Coach, he’s definitely not one of them.