Dan Campbell
refer to caption
Campbell with the Lions in 2022
Detroit Lions
Position:Head coach
Personal information
Born: (1976-04-13) April 13, 1976 (age 48)
Clifton, Texas, U.S.
Height:6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Weight:265 lb (120 kg)
Career information
High school:Glen Rose (TX)
College:Texas A&M (1995–1998)
NFL draft:1999 / Round: 3 / Pick: 79
Career history
As a player:
As a coach:
Career highlights and awards
As a player
Career NFL statistics
Receiving yards:934
Receiving touchdowns:11
Head coaching record
Regular season:29–33–1 (.468)
Postseason:2–1 (.667)
Career:31–34–1 (.477)
Player stats at PFR
Coaching stats at PFR

Daniel Allen Campbell (born April 13, 1976) is an American football coach and a former tight end who has been the head coach for the Detroit Lions of the National Football League (NFL) since 2021. He served as the assistant head coach and tight ends coach for the New Orleans Saints from 2016 to 2020 and also served as an assistant coach for the Miami Dolphins from 2010 to 2015, most recently as the interim head coach and tight ends coach. In the 2023 season, Campbell led the Lions to their first division title since 1993, their first playoff win since 1991, and their second ever NFC championship appearance.

Campbell played college football for Texas A&M. He was drafted by the New York Giants in the third round of the 1999 NFL Draft, and played in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys, the Detroit Lions and the New Orleans Saints. Campbell played in the Super Bowl with the Giants in 2000.

Early years

Campbell was born in Clifton, Texas, and attended Glen Rose High School, where he was a tailback and tight end.[1][2]

College career

Campbell accepted a football scholarship from Texas A&M University.[3][4] In his last two seasons, he shared the tight end position with Derrick Spiller. As a junior, he posted 12 receptions for 143 yards (11.9-yard average) and two touchdowns.

As a senior, he started 2 games at the "B" slot, flanker, one game at split end and 2 contests at flanker. He recorded 7 receptions for 68 yards, one touchdown and 3 special teams tackles.[5]

Professional career

New York Giants

Campbell was selected by the New York Giants in the third round (79th overall) of the 1999 NFL Draft.[6] In 2000, he started four games and was a part of the team that appeared in Super Bowl XXXV.[7][8] In 2001, he became the team's regular starting tight end after passing Howard Cross on the depth chart and was mainly used as a blocking tight end.

Dallas Cowboys

Campbell was one of the first free agents to sign with the Dallas Cowboys after Bill Parcells was named the head coach in 2003. He quickly became a team leader and although Jason Witten emerged as the main tight end, Campbell still served as a mentor and remained a key blocker on the offensive line.[9]

In 2004, he only played in three games because of torn ligaments in his foot and was placed on the injured reserve list on September 30.

In 2005, he recovered from an appendectomy on July 27, missing only 10 days of practice and returned to start all four preseason games.[10] The team employed two-tight end sets, which allowed him to start 12 games alongside Witten.[11][12]

Detroit Lions

On March 14, 2006, Campbell was signed as a free agent by the Detroit Lions. Known mostly as a blocking tight end, he posted career-highs in receiving yards (308), average per reception (14.7 avg), long reception (30 yards), and touchdowns (four), the most[clarification needed] by a Lions tight end since 2001.[13]

On September 22, 2007, he was placed on injured reserve with an elbow injury.[14] On September 9, 2008, he was again placed on injured reserve with a hamstring injury.[15] He was released on February 9, 2009.[16]

New Orleans Saints

On February 26, 2009, Campbell signed as a free agent with the New Orleans Saints, reuniting with head coach Sean Payton, who was his offensive coordinator with the Cowboys and the Giants. On August 10, he was placed on injured reserve with an MCL injury he suffered in training camp.[17] He spent the entire season on injured reserve and was not granted a Super Bowl ring by the team when they won Super Bowl XLIV.[18]

NFL career statistics

Year Team Games Receiving Fumbles
GP GS Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Fum Lost
1999 NYG 12 1 0 0
2000 NYG 16 5 8 46 5.8 13 3 1 2
2001 NYG 16 12 13 148 11.4 25 1 0 0
2002 NYG 16 16 22 175 8.0 27 1 0 0
2003 DAL 16 15 20 195 9.8 23 1 0 0
2004 DAL 3 2 2 16 8.0 9 0 0 0
2005 DAL 16 12 3 24 8.0 18 1 0 0
2006 DET 16 11 21 308 14.7 30 4 0 0
2007 DET 2 1 1 1 1.0 1 0 0 0
2008 DET 1 0 1 21 21.0 21 0 0 0
2009 NO Did not play
Career 114 76 91 934 10.3 30 11 1 2

Coaching career

Miami Dolphins

In 2010, Campbell began his coaching career when he was hired by the Miami Dolphins as a coaching intern.[19] In 2011, Campbell was promoted to the tight ends coach.[20] Following the firing of the Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin on October 5, 2015, after a 1–3 start, Campbell was named the interim head coach for the remainder of the 2015 season.[21] Campbell led the team to five wins and seven losses.[22] Ultimately, the Dolphins hired Adam Gase over him.[23]

New Orleans Saints

In January 2016, Campbell was hired by the New Orleans Saints as their assistant head coach and tight ends coach under head coach Sean Payton.[24]

Detroit Lions

Campbell was appointed head coach of the Detroit Lions on January 20, 2021.[25] In his introductory press conference the following day, he said, "This team is going to take on the identity of this city, and this city's been down and it's found a way to get up. This team's going to be built on, we're going to kick you in the teeth....We're gonna get knocked down and on the way up, we're going to bite a kneecap off....Before long we're going to be the last one standing. Any loss that we take, we're going to feel the full pain from it and not be numb to it."[26]

2021 season

After starting the season 0–10–1, which included a 16–16 tie against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 9,[27] Campbell and the Lions recorded their first victory of the season in Week 13 against the Minnesota Vikings, winning 29–27 with quarterback Jared Goff throwing the game-winning touchdown as time expired.[28][29] After winning three of their final six games, Campbell finished his first season with a 3–13–1 record.[30]

2022 season

After a 1–6 start, Campbell and the Lions had a mid-season turnaround, winning eight of their next ten games to finish the season with a 9–8 record, remaining in playoff contention until the final day of the regular season, when they were eliminated by the Seattle Seahawks defeating the Rams.[31][32] The Lions clinched their first winning season since 2017 after a win and divisional sweep over the Green Bay Packers in Week 18, knocking the Packers out of the playoffs. However, they themselves had been knocked out of playoff contention earlier in the day when the Seahawks won their final game of the season, and with it the tiebreaker over the Lions.[33]

2023 season

Campbell and the Lions raced out to an 8–2 start, their best since 1962.[34] A win over the Minnesota Vikings gave the Lions their first division title in 30 years, and also assured them of their first home playoff game since then.[35][36] They ultimately finished 12–5, tying a franchise record for regular season wins. On January 14, 2024, the Lions beat the Los Angeles Rams 24–23 to secure their first playoff win since 1991.[37] The Lions continued their playoff run on January 21 with a divisional 31–23 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the first time they had won multiple playoff games since the NFL-AFL merger.[38] In the conference championship, they lost to the San Francisco 49ers. Following the game, Campbell was criticized for being too aggressive in his play-calling, which included him attempting to convert two 4th downs in field goal range and failing to convert both of them. He was also criticized for calling a running play with 1:05 left down 10 points which failed, causing him to have to use a timeout which necessitated an onside kick attempt.[39]

Coaching style

Campbell is known for his high level of energy, aggressive play calling, and interactions with the media.[40][41][42][43]

Head coaching record

Team Year Regular season Post season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
MIA 2015* 5 7 0 .417 4th in AFC East
MIA Total 5 7 0 .417 0 0 .000
DET 2021 3 13 1 .206 4th in NFC North
DET 2022 9 8 0 .529 2nd in NFC North
DET 2023 12 5 0 .706 1st in NFC North 2 1 .667 Lost to San Francisco 49ers in NFC Championship Game
DET 2024 - - - - -
DET total 24 26 1 .480 2 1 .667
Total 29 33 1 .468 2 1 .667

*Interim head coach

Personal life

Campbell has two children with his wife, Holly.[44]

Campbell is a noted fan of Metallica, and during his time at Texas A&M, he was nicknamed "Dantallica" by his roommate Shane Lechler. He also enjoys country music and classic rock.[45][46] During his playing career, he was nicknamed "The Dude," due to his resemblance to Jeff Bridges' character in The Big Lebowski.[47] Upon joining the Detroit Lions as head coach, he gained the nickname "MC/DC" by Pat McAfee on his daily radio show. The nickname, a play on AC/DC, is short for Motor City Dan Campbell.[48]


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