Wed. Feb 21st, 2024

Dan Campbell is defying the odds as an NFL head coach.

The former Detroit Lions tight end (2006-08) never served as a coordinator. After he was 5-7 as interim coach of the Miami Dolphins in 2015, Campbell took over the Lions prior to the 2021 season.

RELATED: How Lions went from laughingstock to contender

Now, Detroit is in the NFC Championship Game for the first time since the 1991 season.

With that, Campbell and the Lions are one win from playing in the franchise’s first Super Bowl and two wins from being the last team standing. 

The Lions will hit the road to take on the San Francisco 49ers at 6:30 p.m. ET Sunday on FOX and the FOX Sports App.

Lions fans and bettors love Campbell, as he is 35-16 against the spread (ATS) since the start of the 2021 season.

Here are the best NFL coaches ATS in the regular season since the start of the 2021 season, according to FOX Sports Research:

Antonio Pierce, Raiders: 7-1-1 (87.5%)
Dan Campbell, Lions: 35-16 (68.6%)
Steve Wilks, Panthers*: 8-4 (66.7%)
Brian Daboll, Giants: 21-12-1 (63.6%)
Mike McCarthy, Cowboys: 32-19 (62.7%)
Zac Taylor, Bengals: 30-19-1 (61.2%)

* = interim coach
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FOX Sports NFL analyst David Helman and NFC North Division reporter Carmen Vitali discussed Campbell’s fingerprints being all over the Lions’ 31-23 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the divisional round this past Sunday.

Helman and Vitali both pointed to Campbell’s decision to go for it on fourth down and goal from the Buccaneers’ 1-yard line late in the third quarter. Craig Reynolds scored to give Detroit a 17-10 lead.

Play it safe and kick a field goal? Not Campbell.

“Dan Campbell said, ‘Absolutely the hell not,'” Helman said. “‘We’ve gotten here by going for it, by being aggressive.’ And he did it when the chips were on the table. I loved it. I loved that he doesn’t switch up. And I thought it really set the tone for the Lions having control of this game the rest of the way.”

Vitali said the Lions feed off Campbell’s aggressive coaching style.

“This is so authentically Dan Campbell. This is who he is. He’s going to bite your kneecaps off and he’s going to build the team that’s going to bite those kneecaps. And three years to the day of when Dan Campbell said that, they have now won their second playoff game inside Ford Field. 

“And Dan Campbell delivered on all of his promises.”

Do you think Dan Campbell and the Lions will advance to the Super Bowl for the first time? Stay tuned to FOX Sports for updates on the NFL’s conference championship round.

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