Dan Campbell sends an intense message to Lions after NFC Championship loss

The head coach kept it very real following a gut-wrenching closure to the season.
Detroit Lions, Dan Campbell
Detroit Lions, Dan Campbell / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages


Those are the numbers which could haunt Detroit Lions fans for quite some time after the implosion we saw Sunday evening.

The Lions were up by 17 over the San Francisco 49ers at halftime and looked to be well on their way to meeting up with the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVIII.

In heartbreaking fashion, though, the Lions gave up the lead and watched their Super Bowl dreams get pulled out from beneath them. Following the NFC Championship Game, head coach Dan Campbell told his players something they likely did not want to hear.

Dan Campbell gave his players a tough reality check after the NFC Championship loss

"This may have been our only shot," Campbell said.

"Do I think that? No. Do I believe that? No, however, I know how hard it is to get here. It's going to be twice as hard to get back to this point next year, than it was this year. That's the reality."

"You're not hiding from anybody anymore. Everybody's gonna want a piece of you ... which is fine, you know, which is fine ... so it's hard. You want to make the most of every opportunity. We had an opportunity and we just couldn't close it out.

Campbell has done nothing but keep it real since Day 1 as this team's head coach, so none of his words come as a surprise. He isn't one to sugarcoat things; never has been.

And, the fact of the matter is, he's right. This very well could have been their best shot at a Super Bowl. He isn't wrong.

This coming year, the Packers will probably take a step forward after Jordan Love's first season as a starter saw him break out late in the year. The Vikings still have some of the best weapons on offense and a potent passing attack if Kirk Cousins returns. Meanwhile, the Bears have the no. 1 pick thanks to Carolina, and a lot of cap space for the second offseason in a row.

The division is going to improve. And, that's not even counting the rest of the conference.

It's not going to be easy to get back to this point, and Campbell was simply being as raw and real as possible.