Dan Campbell isn’t the type that under-promises and over-delivers. The data proves he’s the opposite.
“This place has been kicked, it’s been battered, it’s been bruised and I can give you coach-speak all day long, ‘Hey, we’re gonna win this many games.’ None of that matters and you don’t want to hear it anyway. You’ve had enough of that shit,” is what Campbell infamously said at his introductory press conference in January.
After losing 44-6 to the Eagles on Sunday, this is what the man that is coaching the only winless team in the NFL had to say.
“And there again, that’s on me, man,” Campbell said. “You don’t play that bad unless your head coach did not have you ready to go, so I did not. That’s very evident. I think we all know that.”
I thought comments and excuses like this are what Lions’ fans “had enough of,” especially since Campbell is the same person that said that his team was going to “bite a kneecap off” after they’d been knocked down. Empty promises always sound great in the offseason Things get real when a winless season is a possibility, though.
“We have to fix it right now because obviously it ain’t going to fix itself or we’re going to be 0-17,” said Lions safety Tracy Walker.
You can’t tell me Jim Caldwell isn’t somewhere enjoying this.
The Black former head coach of the Lions – who I believe was fired because he’s Black – would have the franchise in a much better position. When former Lions owner Martha Ford and former general manager Bob Quinn fired Caldwell on New Year’s Day in 2018 because his 9-7 record that season wasn’t “good enough,” it was a slap in the face. Because while the man had a 56.3 percent winning percentage in his four-year tenure better than of any Lions coach in the last 60 years, the brass in Detroit didn’t feel like the “Black guy” was doing enough.
“At the end of the day, it’s wanting to take this team to the next level,” said Quinn on Caldwell’s firing. “To me, that’s winning championships, that’s winning playoff games and that’s winning the Super Bowl.”
Matt Patricia was hired to replace Caldwell — it was a disaster. His 13-29-1 record in Detroit was laughable when you lined it up with Caldwell’s 36-30 mark. But it was even worse when Patricia tried to make it seem like Caldwell left him with nothing to work with.
December 6 was the last time the Lions won a regular-season game. And with games coming up against the Steelers, Browns, Bears, and Vikings, let’s not act like it’s inconceivable that this team could go a full calendar year without a win. No one wants that, especially not Lions fans, as it’s also a bad look for the league. However, it’s quite ironic that the Lions are solely in this position because their front office wanted to hire two unqualified and mediocre white men to coach their team instead of keeping the Black coach that engineered their last two consecutive winning seasons – including the 2016 campaign that featured the Lions’ last playoff appearance. Since 2000, the Lions have only made the postseason three times. Two of those three trips were with Caldwell at the helm.
This is the part where someone who’s reading this will yell out/tweet “Why does this have to be about race?” And my reply will be, “I don’t know, but the NFL made it this way, not me.”
The precedent for Campbell deserving to be on the hot seat isn’t just about how ridiculously he — and Patricia — failed compared to Caldwell, but because in 2018 the Arizona Cardinals fired Steve Wilks — a Black head coach — after one season in which he was 3-13. Arizona was 2-6 by the time they reached their bye week that season. If a coach with two wins can be fired for only having two wins during the first half of his opening season, then a winless one like Dan Campbell should definitely be updating his LinkedIn profile. I’m sure Jim Caldwell could give him some tips.