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NFL

Dan Campbell Sees No Turds

ALLEN PARK, MICHIGAN - JULY 28: Detroit Lions head football coach Dan Campbell speaks with the media before the Detroit Lions Training Camp on July 28, 2021 in Allen Park, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
Nic Antaya/Getty Images

By now it is clear that the voice of The New Coach is not Nick Saban or Bill Belichick or Jason Garrett or Nick Rolovich or even Ted Lasso but Dan Campbell. We here at Typing Sweatshop No. 348 have declared our love for the space between his head and his larynx from which place all the magic is made, and the new face of the Detroit Lions is proving on an almost daily basis that he and not Jack Easterby is the new face of the entire National Football League, or damned well should be. If Ted Lasso can be a thing, Dan Campbell absolutely must be.

For what other person, I say, can Comrade Magary be inspired to write the greatest sentence of his otherwise desultory career—“You slobber, we knocker”? Because Campbell is what makes this version of Why Your Team Sucks: Lions different than all the others, since the Lions are essentially the same dogsmear they’ve always been.

And yet Campbell is here to tell us otherwise, and who are we to question his superior knowledge, wisdom and vocabulary? Nobody and nothing, that’s who. Campbell knows quality because he sees it and touches it and most of all smells it. From the gentle fingers of MLive’s Kyle Meinke (emphasis added):

“I think we’re fortunate because I do believe we have some talented players on this team that have grit, and that’s a good thing, you know? I said this when I walked in — there’s a number of guys that were here, and I think [former coach and beard without portfolio Matt] Patricia and [former general manager and potted palm] Bob Quinn did a great job of, there’s no turds here. There’s no bad guys. These guys work now. We don’t have lazy [guys]. We don’t have those [lazy] guys, and that’s a good thing. That’s not always the case when it hasn’t been a successful program. Usually that’s not the case. But these guys work, and they are. They’re pretty tough-minded.”

Aha! The longtime problem with the Lions has finally been revealed, and it is an unhealthily high turd content. No arcane play schematics or draft analytics or even the fact that Ford Field is cursed—it’s turds. The Lions apparently had them for decades if you follow Coach Dan’s choo-choo train of thought here but now they don’t. Never mind WYTS. This is about TFF. Turd-Free Football.

And you wonder why the really cool kids are abandoning that bloated narrative fraud Lasso, his army of writers and their thrice-filtered rhetorical arglebargle for the crystalline simplicity of Campbell, his thoughts, his words and his all-patella diet. Dan Campbell is to 2021 what Ted Lasso is to 2020—the coach for our time.

But we digress. More on TFF and how it works in Detroit, at least conceptually:

“It’s just a matter of, ‘Hey, this is how you got to win. This is what it takes to win. This is what it takes to be a winner. This is what it looks like.’ That’s all it is. Sometimes you just don’t know what you don’t know. That’s all.”

See? Even without the piquant scatology he speaks God’s own truth. “Sometimes you just don’t know what you don’t know.” You think you would ever hear that level of essential brilliance ooze from Kyle Shanahan’s yap, or Sean McDermott’s, or even Andy Reid’s? Let me answer that for you. No.

Does this thinking translate into wins? It’s the Lions, so bet either cautiously or against. But the wins are almost beside the point. Campbell has reduced the essence of the world’s most technological sport to a simple matter of Turd Or No Turd. And because he’s a coach, you know it’s the truth, because coaches never lie, ever. “No turds” is the new market inefficiency, and the Lions are giving it a try for a change.

We can all learn from that; maybe even Meinke can introduce it into his daily questioning: “Any turds at practice today, Coach?” “Nope, and don’t call me Coach, or I’ll yank your spleen out through your nostril. Because this is how you got to win, and this is what it takes to win, and this is what it takes to be a winner. This is what it looks like.”

Hell yes it does. No wonder owner Sheila Ford Hamp hired him against the run of play. She, like us, is enraptured by the pure Campbellhood of it all.