Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell spent the better part of the third quarter of Monday night’s playoff game between the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a guest on ESPN’s Manning’s “Manningcast,” an alternative broadcast of the contest, hosted by brothers Peyton and Eli Manning.
The segments are largely designed to be light, but also offer the weekly guests opportunities to provide situational insight into the game, as well as amusing stories from their careers. With Campbell, he was introduced to the program via the now-famous “biting kneecap” clip from his introductory press conference as Detroit’s coach.
The appearance also included photos of Campbell in high school — wearing a massive neck roll — and college, a highlight of a post-touchdown spike from his NFL playing days, and a question about the attempted exorcism of “The Curse of Bobby Layne” from the season premier of Peyton Manning’s show “Peyton’s Places.”
In terms of football topics, Campbell was asked if it was frustrating watching the 8-9 Buccaneers getting worked over in the game while his 9-8 Lions were forced to watch the postseason from home after missing the cut.
“I would say that it is frustrating, but we are also, we’re responsible for that, too,” Campbell said. “We had our chance and it was a little too late, too little too late. We had a chance early in the year. But, if anything, if motivates you. That’s what it does. That’s why I like watching these games. It just fuels your fire.”
Campbell, who has been mentioned as a potential Coach of the Year candidate after leading the Lions to the brink of the playoffs after starting the year 1-6, was also asked what it would mean to win the award. And while he didn’t deny it would be an honor, he was quick to point out peers he felt were more deserving.
“Look, it would absolutely be an honor because there are some really good coaches that deserve that,” Campbell said. “To me, there are better ones out there than me, by the job they did this year. (New York Giants coach Brian) Daboll would one of those, just did a heck of a job. (Jacksonville Jaguars coach) Doug Pederson, I can go down the list. Yeah, I’d be honored, but there are some coaches that would be really worthy of that.”
Campbell also discussed some strategy as the Cowboys expanded their halftime lead from 18-0 to 24-0 while he was part of the broadcast. Regarding Dallas’ Brett Maher, who missed three extra points in the first half, Campbell said he’d tell his kicker at the half he’d have one more opportunity in the second half before he would sit him. Maher proceeded to miss another extra point after that commentary.
Campbell also affirmed what we already knew about his aggressive nature, saying if he was coaching the Cowboys in this game, his message to both the offense and defense would be to keep the foot on the gas, despite the healthy lead.
“I’m not thinking about (the clock) yet,” Campbell said. “I’d still be going. We’re trying to go. To me, let’s score, let’s go score. … Same thing (with the defense). I’m not letting off yet. We’re going. Let’s do exactly what we’ve been doing. Stay the course, keep mixing the coverages, keep pressuring and pushing the pocket on (Buccaneers quarterback Tom) Brady.”