Lions Reportedly Made Huge Coaching Pitch to Matt Campbell


Matt Campbell coaching during the Fiesta Bowl.

The Detroit Lions cast a wide net this winter in the search for their new head coach, and one of the names high on that list was reportedly Matt Campbell of Iowa State.

Instead of leaving for greener pastures and more money, however, the head coach elected to stay with the team and not flee the coop for the NFL or the Lions. The decision wasn’t without lots of potential encouragement, however. The Lions apparently made a robust offer to Campbell to try and lure him into the mix.

According to CBS Sports college football writer Dennis Dodd, Detroit was offering Campbell a massive contract to jump ship and hit the NFL. The coach was supposedly offered an eight-year deal with some level of roster control, even though Dodd did not confirm that part as of this moment.

Here’s what he said:

“In the offseason, he turned down an eight-year, $68.5 million dollar offer for the Lions apparently with full control, I haven’t confirmed that, to stay at Iowa State. If I’m Matt Campbell’s wife, I’m having some questions. But, he sees his upward arc better at Iowa State than the Lions who are annually in disarray. But Look, I’d take that money and take that chance at disarray with the Lions for the next eight years over Iowa State, but he is the ultimate loyal guy.”

Will that loyalty pay off in the end or did Campbell overplay his hand? The Lions simply continued with their search and landed Dan Campbell, who had NFL experience and has an unquestionable command over a room. They also didn’t have to pay nearly as much money to land the other Campbell, which is something that Detroit’s new boss made light of during his introductory presser.

Either way, it’s clear the Lions were prepared to think outside the box this offseason by their own standards, with money as very little object.

Lions Coaching Search Recap

Detroit was long rumored to have interest in trying to woo a coach from the college ranks, with Pat Fitzgerald near the top of the list in terms of possible hires in addition to Campbell. In terms of other NFL position coaches on the list, the Lions looked at most of the big ones, including Eric Bieniemy, Robert Saleh and even former NFL boss Marvin Lewis.

With those names and both Campbell coaches, it’s clear the Lions were prioritizing a very high degree of leadership and character in their next boss. No matter who they hired, it’s clear the team would have come out ahead in that department. In terms of risk, a college coach will always have a higher degree of that given the propensity of some to flame out, but after watching Matt Rhule transition with the Carolina Panthers, it’s hard to blame the Lions for shooting their shot so to speak.

Dan Campbell Fits Lions Perfectly

Is there any fear of missing out in terms of the choice between a pair of guys with the last name Campbell? In this case, there shouldn’t be for the Lions, who managed to get a coach that can help them take the next step and seems to have a passion that drives every move he makes.

If the Lions were looking for a coach that gets the city as well as its hopes and dreams, Dan Campbell is clearly that guy. The delivery of his message has been spot on for both the fans and the players, and as time goes by, folks will likely begin to fall in even more line. Campbell’s start to the offseason has proven legendary for some Lions fans. The city’s sports fans wear a chip on their shoulder since they never receive any respect nationally. In Campbell, they have a guy who understands that and doesn’t seem to care either, making this a perfect fit.

It’s tough to have seen Matt Campbell fitting in so well in this same light, so it’s possible the Lions might have benefitted from him turning down this job. Naturally, only time will tell if that is the case.

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