From the moment the Detroit Lions hired Dan Campbell as head coach, the powers-to-be at HBO had to be salivating and relieved. Why? Because they no longer had to scout which NFL team to feature on next season’s Hard Knocks. Campbell’s introductory presser decided for them.
The Detroit Lions had to be the next team. And on Monday morning, it became official. Honolulu Blue & Silver will be all over Hard Knocks this Summer.
At first, it could come off as a bit shocking. At least to me, anyway. Before Dan Campbell came to town, the Lions didn’t appear to be the type of team to participate in this. I had an impression that they were an organization that took themselves too seriously without matching results.
Then Campbell came. And that all changed.
Somehow, in his first season as Lions coach, he made a team that went 3-13-1, something fans would want to watch toward season’s end. Because don’t get it twisted, the first eight weeks were brutal. They were winless. However, throughout it all, the players showed up and played hard, for Campbell, who was a walking soundbite. It was a far different vibe at Allen Park from when his predecessor, Matt Patricia, was coach.
Players wanted to win for Campbell. It was obvious off how they talked about him weekly.
And Campbell’s transparency during interviews and media sessions was something to behold. Then there’s his just as transparent coaching staff. Aaron Glenn, Duce Staley, and Aubrey Pleasant delivered soundbites last season that were as compelling as Campbell’s, if not more, at times.
Then there’s one more nugget that takes it over the top. And that’s the upcoming draft. The Detroit Lions have the No. 2 overall pick. And there’s much speculation over if they should keep the pick or trade down. Adding all of this together makes for some compelling television for NFL fans.
Hard Knocks could be the best thing to happen to the Detroit Lions.
The organization runs a tight ship. Unless they were confident in what the HBO cameras could capture, they wouldn’t allow it. The Lions are going to be on their A-game on and off camera because any and everything will be scrutinized. This is a team that hasn’t won a playoff game since the 1990s. People are going to look at these episodes for potential reasons.
Buckle up Detroit! There are finally cameras, not controlled by the Lions, inside their den.
Follow Kory Woods on Twitter at KoryEWoods.