Detroit Lions fans make sure Dan Campbell feels the love from all over the state

Detroit Free Press

There’s certainly lots of buzz around the Detroit Lions going into the upcoming season.

Despite failing to make the playoffs last year, they were the closest they have ever been since 2016. Unfortunately, their fate wasn’t entirely up to them, and a Seattle Seahawks’ win over the Los Angeles Rams shut the door on the Lions’ chances at postseason play before Detroit took the field in the season finale win against the Green Bay Packers.

The resiliency showed in winning eight of their final 10 games after a 1-6 start is a big reason why the Lions are the favorites to win the NFC North. That, along with the leadership displayed by its head coach, seem to have won over the fanbase, which hasn’t experience a postseason victory since the 1991 season.

This season, 30 years removed from their last division title, begins with a tough season opener on the road against the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, on Sept. 7 in a primetime matchup.

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Head coach Dan Campbell made a trip to Grand Rapids last weekend for his daughter’s volleyball tournament and quickly realized the fanbase extends much further than Detroit.

“It was good to get out there, a lot of great fans out there and it almost felt like it was ‘hey man, don’t forget about us’ and we don’t,” Campbell said.

Campbell also said he’s thought about bringing training camp out to the westside of the state for a weekend or so, but that it would all come down to logistics. Whether or not that could come to fruition, Campbell loved being able to interact with fans from an area of the state he usually doesn’t see.

He said they wanted to know things about the players they’ve heard in the media, such as if Aidan Hutchinson can really dance in real time, with Campbell’s answer being no.

Linebacker Anthony Pittman, a product of Birmingham Groves and Wayne State, believes the fan support for the Lions has always been strong, but there has been a big jump over the last season.

“We’ve always had great fans, but now it’s like they’re really rallying behind,” Pittman said. “They feel the energy. They feel how we’re changing the culture and it’s really exciting to see.”

Pittman also wasn’t shocked that fans on the westside of the state were excited to see Campbell and ask him questions.

“The whole state loves Dan,” Pittman said. “Dan is a charismatic guy. Everybody loves him. He’s funny, very random. He’s got a lot of random stories, but it’s fun. As a team we’ve definitely grown and we’re bringing the fans along for the ride.”

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