Dan Campbell clearly didn’t fit the template of a buzz-worthy hire, but he made memories when introduced as Detroit Lions head coach one year ago Friday.
When the Detroit Lions named Dan Campbell their new head coach, some NFL fans recognized the name. He played 10 NFL seasons as a non-descript tight end (including 2006-2008 with the Lions), and he was the Miami Dolphins’ interim head coach in 2015.
Campbell probably wasn’t the Lions’ first choice, as much as they could be choosy heading into a rebuild picking up the pieces left behind by Matt Patricia. But he had been working under Sean Payton as an assistant coach for years in New Orleans, so he was around success and surely had some contribution to it.
Campbell looks like an old school football guy, as much as that’s fair to judge, and having played for Bill Parcells as a Dallas Cowboy seemed to confirm what he would be in his first permanent head coaching job.
Dan Campbell made memories in Lions’ intro presser
On Jan. 21, 2021, one year ago Friday, the Lions introduced Campbell as their new head coach.
Jeff Risdon of Lions Wire has reflected on Campbell’s performance in that first impression to the local media, with a recap of the site’s immediate reaction.
"The Dan Campbell introductory press conference is going to go down in history as one of the most epic coaching intros in NFL history. Campbell offered a passionate 20-minute opening statement, followed by another 45 minutes of wildly enthusiastic answers that often veered far from the questions being asked.It was not your father’s press conference. It was most certainly not Matt Patricia’s press conference, or really like any we’ve seen before. There were honest tears of emotion. There was casual profanity. There was poignancy. There was very specific Xs and Os breakdowns. There was 100 percent honesty and free-flowing of thought from Campbell, the new Detroit Lions head coach."
As the anti-Patricia, if nothing else, Campbell came off refreshingly emotional, unpolished and honest. Of course his suggestion his team would be “biting kneecaps” can’t be ignored as a new football metaphor–even a year later.
If you’d like to rewatch Campbell’s introductory press conference, and if you need a kick in the pants today I have to recommend it, here it is.