If Dan Campbell Builds It, Super Bowls Will Come for the Lions

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At the NFL Honors, Detroit’s Keegan-Michael Key unveiled the Associated Press’ NFL awards, placing a spotlight on the Lions. Despite Head Coach Dan Campbell finishing third for Coach of the Year, the moment was less about the snub and more about igniting confidence among Lions fans. They now dream of the day their team in Honolulu blue and silver will lift the Lombardi Trophy.

The Lions’ achievements under Campbell’s leadership—winning two playoff games in a single postseason for the first time since 1957 and securing their first division title in over three decades—signal a turning point. Yet, their Super Bowl aspirations remain unfulfilled. However, the conviction that “If Dan Campbell builds it, Super Bowls will come” is stronger than ever.

A Bridge Between Eras: The Campbell Effect

Field of Dreams delves into generational divides, much like the Lions’ current narrative under Campbell. Detroit fans, caught between past disappointments and future optimism, see in Campbell a figure capable of “easing the pain.” As Campbell himself might believe, confronting the past with resolve can indeed change the future. This belief mirrors the journey of Ray Kinsella in Field of Dreams, who was moved by a mysterious voice to pursue a seemingly irrational dream, leading to unexpected redemption and unity.

Following a narrow defeat in the NFC Championship game, Campbell stirred emotions with his reflections on the team’s future. Initially, his words suggested a fleeting chance at Super Bowl glory in the future. Yet, star Aidan Hutchinson revealed to Pro Football Talk Campbell’s swift shift to optimism in exit interviews, embodying a relentless drive toward next season’s Super Bowl aspirations. 

The Field Awaits

Dan Campbell’s Lions embody the spirit of Field of Dreams, where passion and perseverance converge. In the same vein as Shoeless Joe Jackson’s revelation in Field of Dreams about the overwhelming desire to play on their magical field—”Where did we come from? You wouldn’t believe how many guys wanted to play here. We had to beat ’em off with a stick!”—the city of Detroit mirrors this sentiment. Under Dan Campbell’s leadership, the perception of the Lions within the NFL has undergone a remarkable transformation.

Detroit, a city steeped in resilience and determination, has not wavered in its own character. Yet, it’s Campbell who has redefined the Lions’ organization, making it a coveted place for potential free agents and star players. They are now attracted to a team characterized by the toughness and grit that is reflective of their coach. This shift has seen the Lions become a beacon for “Dan Campbell guys”—players who embody the heart and passion for football that Campbell himself champions. His influence has become a magnetic force, drawing in talent that might have previously overlooked Detroit, signaling a new era where the Lions’ field of dreams is more than just an aspiration.

“Is this heaven?” No, it’s Detroit.

To paraphrase Shoeless Joe, “Is this heaven?” No, it’s Detroit. While not literally heaven, for many Lions fans and players, Detroit’s revival under Campbell feels like a dream realized.

As the team and its fans “go the distance,” the Lions’ field of dreams is steadily becoming a reality. The dream of Super Bowl glory is closer than ever. For Lions fans and players alike, the message is clear: believe in the journey, for “if you build it, they will come.”

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For more from our Detroit Lions beat writer, Matt Broder, check him out on Twitter here: @mattbro21

Contact: Broder@woodwardsports.com

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Original Photo Credit: © Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK