Shortly after the Detroit Lions secured that 41-38 high-flying, high-scoring nail-biter against the Los Angeles Chargers, Lions coach Dan Campbell bounced off the sidelines and slapped as much skin as he could.
This may have been his highest moment as Lions coach. His team is now 7-2 after a quality road win. It kept the resurgent Minnesota Vikings (6-4) in its rear view mirror as the Lions are gun for the Philadelphia Eagles (8-1) for the top seed in the NFC.
There is a path to a championship for Campbell and the Lions. There is not one for him in college football at Texas A&M, a program that has not won a national championship since 1939 and a conference title since 1998.
It is why Campbell is likely to find more joy and rewards staying with the Lions rather than returning to his alma mater to revive a sluggish program.
Campbell is on A&M’s short list to replace Jimbo Fisher, who was fired recently as head football coach. But so are Mike Elko (Duke), Dan Lanning (Oregon) and Kalen DeBoer (Washington).
Although it would be smart for Campbell to entertain offers from the college ranks his best move is to remain in Detroit with the Lions.
Now the Lions must pay. The Lions are paying Campbell about $4 million a year. Fisher made $9 million with the Aggies. Although A&M owes Fisher a $76.7 million buyout the school cold still afford to pay Campbell handsomely.
The football program generates $193 million annually, according to a USA Today report. It also has rich oil barons who could sweeten the pot.
The Lions have a big bank roll and can afford to match A&M. It is easy for Lions fans to say Campbell should stay because he has a near perfect situation here. While that might be true, the Lions must also show some love.
We know the Lions want Campbell. How much do they want him?
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Original Photo Credit: © Tim Heitman – USA TODAY Sports