The Lions may be 0-1, but Dan Campbell is undefeated on the microphone.
The first-year head coach has six years to figure out how to build a winning team, but he's already winning back pages in Detroit with his propensity to deliver a juicy quote for fans everywhere.
While NFL head coaches have shifted away from inviting controversy on the mic, Campbell has been lobbing pipe bombs left and right during his tenure so far, with the Human Red Bull Energy Drink providing some good ol'-fashioned coach talk that gets the people going.
While Campbell might seem like a parody of a head coach, he actually carries a reputation that might be tailor made for the Motor City. There's probably nothing more indicative of that than his quotes. For the added hilarity, just play the "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" theme song on loop while you read these.
They say Campbell's is good for the soul, so here are some of his best quotes to help nurture your insides:
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Dan Campbell's best quotes
First, we start at the genesis: Campbell's stay with the Miami Dolphins in 2015.
Campbell was elevated to interim head coach after the firing of Joe Philbin, who had gone 1-3 in the team's first four games. Speaking after a win vs. the Texans, Campbell extolled the virtues of energy, and transferring that energy to an opposing player, without touching, led to some drops. Or something.
"When you guys come out with that type of intensity like we talked about, and transfer your energy — By the way, OK, they had some drops. They had a lot of drops. Some people would say, 'You gotta catch the ball.' I would tell you, you transfer energy, without physically even touching 'em, things like that happen, guys." - Campbell following Dolphins' 44-26 win over Texans, Oct. 25, 2015
Ah, yes, the three types of energy: Potential, kinetic and football.
Fast forward six years after a stint with the Saints, and Campbell is back at the top of an organization. This time, he earns his first head-coaching gig in the NFL with the Detroit Lions, tasked to cleanse the organization of the Matt Patricia stench.
In an introductory press conference that's sure to be the stuff of legend should the Lions turn this thing around — or continue to sputter — Campbell channeled his inner Vincent Van Gogh and painted a beautiful word picture to tell fans what they can expect out of their team moving forward.
"We’re gonna kick you in the teeth, and when you punch us back we’re gonna smile at you, and when you knock us down we’re going to get up, and on the way, we’re going to bite a kneecap off. We’re going to stand up, and it’s going to take two more shots to knock us down. And on the way up, we’re going to take your other kneecap, and we’re going to get up, and it’s gonna take three shots to get us down. And when we do, we’re gonna take another hunk out of you." - Campbell at his introductory press conference, Jan. 21, 2021.
The written quote doesn't capture the levels here. Both kneecaps! pic.twitter.com/9RAUs7GOYr— Kevin Cole (@KevinColePFF) January 21, 2021
Van Gogh did cut off an ear, so Campbell would probably do the same for a W. After all, he did say he would give up an arm for a Super Bowl (more on that later).
The next entry in the Book of Dan is a bit shorter, but just as impactful.
Speaking on the dynamic between he and general manager Brad Holmes in March, Campbell defined what a "True Alpha" is, and how that plays into the dynamics of the Lions leadership group.
"Well, here's what I would say … but here's what I would say about a true alpha: A true alpha knows when it's time to concede for the betterment of the team,. And so I would tell you one way or another, there's already been a couple of things where it's like — maybe we don't — 'You see it a little more this way, I see it a little'… we haven't had one problem. And we're not gonna have a problem." - Campbell on the dynamic between he and GM Brad Holmes on March 2, 2021.
Take that, beta males.
Campbell wants to become the literal Detroit Lions.
While coaches don't typically shy away from hires that help them install their scheme or their system, Campbell wanted to go a bit above and beyond on how he wanted to implement his culture and attitude change with the Lions: A pet lion.
Speaking on the "Pardon My Take" Podcast, Campbell said he requested a pet lion at practice, and went as far to say he would be willing for a lion to rip his arm off if it meant Detroit would win a Super Bowl.
"I'll tell you what I would really love to do, just in general. I've talked to (Lions owner) Sheila (Ford Hamp) about this. I don't think we're going to be able to do it, but I would love to literally just have a pet lion. Just a legit pet lion on a chain — a big-ass chain. And he just, he really is my pet. We just walk around the building, we go out to practice, we're in 7-on-7, we're behind the kicker when he's kicking. We're just … there we are." - Campbell on having an actual pet lion at practice, May 18, 2021.
Panthera leo could not be reached for comment.
Like Julian in "Big Daddy," Dan Campbell wants his players to wipe their own butts.
The big daddy of the Lions says he wants players to work for themselves and not have to worry about getting their hands held through practice and training camp, but, per custom, he had his own Campbellonian way of saying it.
"I told them, honestly, Day 1, I said, 'Look, I'm not carrying your toilet paper around. I'm not gonna wipe your butt. You're gonna wipe your own butt. You handle it and I'll treat you like men until you prove otherwise." - Campbell on his players in practice, July 2, 2021.
If the Lions players can't figure its sh— … stuff out, then you can flush any hopes of a playoff appearance goodbye.
You know the saying. You can polish a turd, but at the end of the day, it's still just that.
Campbell has to do a lot more than just polish the Lions in Year 1 — he has to completely overhaul the team's culture and hope the team can put some sustainable success together and build a foundation.
That foundation won't be made of crap, though, according to Campbell, who said that the team is devoid of "turds" entering the 2021 season.
"I said this when I walked in. There was a number of guys that were here and I think (Matt) Patricia and (Bob) Quinn did a great job of, there’s no turds here. There’s no bad guys. Like these guys work now. We don’t have guys, 'Ah, I'm lazy.' We don’t really have those guys and that’s a good thing. That’s not always the case when you walk in and it hasn’t been a successful program." - Campbell on his roster, Aug. 10, 2021.
We'll wait and see if the Lions can walk the walk this year and moving forward. After all, Campbell has already proven he can certainly talk the talk.