The Detroit Lions accolades keep coming in. The latest come from the publication Sporting News, who have named Lions general manager Brad Holmes the NFL Executive of the Year and Dan Campbell the NFL Coach of the Year for the 2023 season. The voting for this award is based on peers, not the Sporting News staff. Per the Sporting News: “Only head coaches were allowed to vote for Coordinator of the Year and Coach of the Year. Only front-office staff and personnel decision-makers were allowed to vote for Executive of the Year.”
It would be one thing for the Lions to earn one of these awards, but for both Holmes and Campbell to be acknowledged in the same year is a testament to how good of shape the entire Lions organization is in right now. This is just the second time in the past eight years in which one team’s GM and coach were both honored by the Sporting News (2022, Buffalo Bills’ Sean McDermott, Brandon Beane).
This is already Campbell’s second Coach of the Year honor after being named NFC Coach of the Year by the 101 Awards. His is also a finalist for the Associated Press’ Coach of the Year award, which will be announced at the NFL Honors on Feb. 8.
Campbell and Holmes made the Lions’ 2023 season a historic one. Detroit tied a franchise record with 12 regular season wins, they won a divisional title for the first time in 30 years, hosted a playoff game for the first time in Ford Field history (and then another one), and they tallied two playoff wins after the franchise had just a single postseason victory since 1957.
Campbell has been widely praised for his leadership, ability to delegate, and uncanny skills as a motivator. Just this week, center Frank Ragnow gave Campbell one of the highest compliments a coach could receive.
“He’s one of the best people, leaders I’ve ever been around,” Ragnow said. “Transparent, authentic, passionate, you name it. It’s a pleasure to play for that man. I just didn’t even realize how good of a coach that there is out there until I met him. He just blew me away and he keeps continuing to blow me away.”
As for Holmes, his ability to evaluate and draft talent is a huge reason why the Lions were able to accomplish everything they did in 2023. Whether it was his first draft—that has already produced two All-Pros in Penei Sewell and Amon-Ra St. Brown—or his most recent draft—getting immediate and huge contributions out of Jahmyr Gibbs, Sam LaPorta, and Brian Branch—Holmes’ hands are all over this team’s roster.
Congratulations to both Holmes and Campbell. It’s good to know this franchise is in good hands.