Lions Want 'Whole Enchilada,' Will Dan Campbell Cook?

Dan Campbell and Lions are motivated to make Super Bowl run in 2024.
Dan Campbell
Dan Campbell / Junfu Han, USA TODAY NETWORK

Dan Campbell and the Lions are gearing up for one thing and one thing only this season: reaching the Super Bowl. 

The franchise devastatingly fell one game short of that goal a season ago, losing to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game, 34-31, after suffering a second-half collapse.

It was one of the most soul-crushing defeats in Lions franchise history. And, to add insult to injury, the organization has never made a Super Bowl appearance (although it has been around for each of the league's first 58 Super Bowl games).

Right off the bat, it won't be an easy task for the Lions to take the next step and become a Super Bowl-winning team. 

And, as Campbell and a variety of Detroit players have echoed since the start of their offseason workout program, it'll be even harder for the team just to get to the NFC title game in 2024. Unlike last season, the Lions – the reigning NFC North champions – aren't going to surprise anyone this upcoming season, and they're going to receive every team's very best effort on a weekly basis.

They're no longer the “hunters,” but instead the “hunted,” as they embark upon attempting to not only replicate but exceed their banner season from a year ago.

To the credit of the Lions, they haven't shied away from talking about the lofty expectations that have been placed upon them by both fans and pundits. Instead, they've firmly embraced them, and have almost harmoniously continued to harp upon the importance of getting better each and every day throughout training camp this summer and the upcoming season. They've said all the right things while keeping their eyes on the prize: hoisting the Lombardi Trophy at season's end.

“A perfect season,” defensive tackle Alim McNeill said, in reference to his end-of-season dream for Detroit in 2024. “We won the Super Bowl. We’re celebrating here in Detroit, in the city. That’s what I see when I close my eyes, and when I go to work out and when I go run. When I’m at practice, working on different moves. That’s what we all think about, that’s what I’m thinking about. And, everybody has the same attitude here. We just want to win. Whatever we can do to win.”

Winning a Super Bowl is a worthwhile goal for Campbell and his crew, too. 

Detroit general manager Brad Holmes plugged a variety of holes on both sides of the ball this offseason, especially on defense and in the secondary. Most notably, he revamped the organization's cornerbacks room, adding veteran corners Carlton Davis III and Amik Robertson along with a pair of highly-touted rookies in Terrion Arnold and Ennis Rakestraw Jr. 

Subsequently, the Lions are in an even stronger position now than they were a season ago to compete for a Super Bowl. 

And, it also helps that they have a more than competent sideline boss in Campbell. Through his first three seasons as Lions head man, he’s more often than not pressed the right buttons (although ultra aggressively at times), and put his team in position to win. Additionally, he's developed an uncanny ability to connect with his players, and to get them to play hard for him. Those traits are ones that, no matter the quality of one's team, consistently come in handy for an NFL head man.

In my mind, the Lions – after a strong offseason and with a solid core in place – undeniably belong in the same conversation as the NFC's very best teams (i.e. San Francisco, Philadelphia, Dallas).

Now, the onus is on Campbell to ensure that his currently hungry and highly motivated roster doesn't become complacent at any point this season.

“Yeah, I think just remember what we’re playing for,” Campbell said of his message for the veterans as they departed minicamp. “Each individual, ‘What do you want? What do you want out of this year? What do you want it to look like when we’re sitting here and it’s February? Where is your mind? So, think about that, and let’s work backwards from there.’ That’ll be the message.”

If Campbell can keep McNeill & Co. motivated and committed to an unrelenting work ethic, then all bets are off for what the Lions can achieve in 2024. And yes, even a trip to the Super Bowl – “the whole enchilada” – should then be attainable for the once irrelevant Detroit franchise.


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Vito Chirco

VITO CHIRCO

Vito has covered the NFL and the Detroit Lions for the past five years.  Has extensive reporting history of college athletics, the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Mercy Athletics.  Chirco's work include NFL columns, analyzing potential Detroit Lions prospects coming out of college, NFL draft coverage and analysis of events occurring in the NFL.  Extensive broadcasting experience including hosting a Detroit Tigers podcast and co-hosting a Detroit Lions NFL podcast since 2019.