NFL: Should Lions coach Dan Campbell be the NFL Coach of the Year?

Detroit Lions Sport News


  • In his third year with the Lions, head coach Dan Campbell has guided the team to first place in the NFC North with a two-game lead over the Vikings.
  • Campbell is the favorite at Michigan sportsbooks to win the NFL Coach of the Year Award.
  • The last Lions coach to win the NFL Coach of the Year Award was Wayne Fontes in 1991.

A lot of things have changed for the Lions in 2023. Unfortunately, losing on Thanksgiving isn’t one of them. The Packers jumped on the Lions early and handed them their seventh straight loss on Turkey Day.

Still, the Lions remain in prime condition for a playoff spot and NFC North title. The Lions have never won an NFC North title (the division was called the NFC Central the last time they won it). And no Lions coach has been named NFL Coach of the Year since Wayne Fontes in 1991. 

When you win big, people notice. American sportsbooks believe in the 8-3 Lions. BetRivers has the Lions as the eighth pick to win the Super Bowl and -560 to win the NFC North. FanDuel has Lions coach Dan Campbell as the leader to win Coach of the Year at +175. Does he deserve it?

The Case for Campbell 

The Lions have had 29 coaches in franchise history, and Campbell is already 11th on the list with wins with 20. If the Lions beat the Saints on Sunday, he’ll jump up to ninth.

Campbell’s overall record isn’t that impressive. He’s 20-24-1 since taking over in 2021, but compared to his predecessors, he’s Lombardi himself. Rod Marinelli won 10 games in his three years with the Lions. Matt Patricia, who Campbell replaced, won 13 games out of 43.

The Lions offense is one of the best in the NFL, ranking No. 2 in yards. The defense has faltered a little the last couple of weeks, but is 11th in yards given up.

Campbell has become a national media favorite with his straight-talk style, and that will matter in the voting.

Checking out the Contenders 

While Campbell is the leader at the sportsbooks, he’s not the only coach having a great season. First-year Texans coach DeMeco Ryans is next on the FanDuel board at +400. Boosted by rookie quarterback CJ Stroud, the Texans are the talk of the AFC. 

Miami Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel is third on the board. McDaniel has also become a media darling with his off-beat ways and delightful back story, plus the Dolphins are setting all sorts of offensive records.

The next name on the list should scare Lion fans, it’s Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell. The Vikings ae 6-5, and beginning to breathe down the Lions back in the division. O’Connell has put together a surge without starting quarterback Kirk Cousins and star wide receiver Justin Jefferson.

The Race is On 

We’re 2/3 of the way through the NFL season, and yes, if the season ended today, the award would belong to Campbell. He would be just the third Lions coach ever to win it.

But it’s not over. The Lions remaining six games includes a clash with the Cowboys and two with the Vikings. A division title likely clinches the award for Campbell, but that doesn’t look to be as sure a bet as it was a few weeks ago.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.