Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell let Detroiters know just how important the job of Detroit Lions head coach is. It was a job he specifically wanted due to his previous relationship with the franchise and the city itself.
“I’m excited to be here beyond belief. I’m excited,” Campbell said in his introductory press conference. “This is one of those jobs that I identified. I told my agent, ‘Whatever you have to do to get me in front of Sheila and Rod, please do.’ When this became available – because I played here, I know the city. I know what it’s about. I know the people. It’s a special community, it’s a special place.”
That’s an endearing quote, but one that we’ve heard before and one that could certainly be interpreted as pandering by some. But hearing those words come from Campbell’s mouth with the kind of sincerity we should get accustomed used it, it’s clear he meant those words.
And just in case there was any doubt at all of Campbell’s sincerity, the Lions video department caught an awesome moment in this behind-the-scenes look at Campbell first day on the job.
Campbell was taken on a tour of the facilities, which he called “top notch.” But when he walked onto the practice field—the same one he stood upon 13 years ago as a player in this league—he got extremely emotional.
“Yeah, this is how I remember it,” Campbell said. “Golly, this is great.”
Overwhelmed by emotion, Campbell hunched over with a flabbergasted laugh.
“Thank y’all,” Campbell said to Sheila Ford Hamp and Rod Wood through tears. “Appreciate it, man. I do. I’m going to make y’all so proud. We are.”
We don’t know how the Dan Campbell era will work out here in Detroit. There are plenty of reasons for skepticism, even beyond the lazy “Detroit just sucks” narrative.
But taking off my writer/analyst/reporter hat for a minute, there’s something comforting about the fact that the person in charge of this thing cares just as much about this franchise as we all do. Campbell is genuine in his love for Detroit and the Lions. That counts for something.