Any Lions fan with a weak bladder might need to invest in a Depend subscription because Dan Campbell isn’t going to stop taking calculated risks.
Asked Tuesday morning on 97.1 FM The Ticket’s Stoney & Jansen show about his appetite for taking fourth-own risks, Campbell responded:
“Here’s what I would say, because I tell my family this, just wear a diaper before some of these games,” he said, via Will Burchfield of The Ticket. “I’ll give them an alert and say, ‘Put them on and be ready to roll.'”
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In Sunday’s 41-38 win in Los Angeles, Campbell repeatedly went for it on fourth down in big spots, none larger than the fourth-and-2 call in field goal range with the game tied and 1:47 left. The conversion allowed the Lions to milk the clock before Riley Patterson’s game-winning field goal. The bold call went against analytics but showed that Campbell has the pulse of his team and feels the flow of the game.
Detroit went four of five on fourth down on Sunday, the most by a Campbell team since Week 3, 2022, but the most by a Lions club in a win since at least 2000, per NFL Research.
It’s not just that Campbell has the stomach for the fourth-down decisions. The trust in Ben Johnson’s calls, Jared Goff and the rest of the offense to execute displays leadership at its finest. The more coaches display trust in players in critical moments, the more the confidence cascades into swagger and a belief they can succeed in any situation.
Sunday’s fourth downs weren’t piddly fourth-and-inches calls, either. The Lions ran the ball on 4th-and-5 (who does that??) and gained six yards in the first quarter. They twice passed up chip-shot FGs at the goal line (one successful, one not). And on fourth-and-2, with Campbell trying to avoid giving Justin Herbert the ball back to win, Goff perfectly executed a fourth-down play.
Since Campbell took over the Lions, he’s always been good for a quote. More importantly, he’s instilled a mentality in a perennial loser that he believes they have what it takes to win football games. Those displays of faith go a long way in any level of athletics.
Will Campbell’s calls always work? No — even the analytics accounts for that. But his aggressive confidence has already created a fresh attitude in Detroit.
Plus, the NFL could spin Campbell’s diaper comment into a sponsorship with Huggies, Pampers or Depends. What diehard fan wouldn’t want to slide into their Lions’ diaper every Sunday afternoon?
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