Lions head coach Dan Campbell will never win NFL Coach of the Year
The Detroit Lions had plenty of hype going into the 2023 season, and they paid it off with a division title, two playoff wins and a trip to the NFC Championship Game. Dan Campbell entered the season among the betting favorites to win NFL Coach of the Year, and he stayed there all the way through.
There were a lot of worthy candidates for Coach of the Year this year, Campbell of course among them. If there was a year he would win it, it seemed this would have to be the one. Now or never to some extent, as expectations will be lofty for the Lions moving forward and his candidacy for the award will take a natural hit.
Campbell finished third in the Coach of the Year voting, as Kevin Stefanski and DeMeco Ryans lapped the field with Stefanski winning based on having one more first place vote. Out of 50 AP voters, Stefanski was on 45 ballots and Ryans was on 43.
Campbell landed on just 15 ballots, with three first place votes, three second place votes and nine third place votes. As a sign of how much Stefanski and Ryans lapped the field, the next-highest number of ballot appearances was Kyle Shanahan with eight.
That isn’t to say Stefanski and Ryans were not worthy candidates, and worthy of finishing where they did. Stefanski navigated the Browns having five different starting quarterbacks, while Ryans and the Texans sheerly defied expectations in his first season.
Campbell and Lions simply did not have the same kind of challenges as Stefanski and the Browns did this year, and expectations were high after the Lions finished the 2022 season on an 8-2 run.
Dan Campbell will never win NFL Coach of the Year.
It’s also worth remembering all of these kind of awards are regular season awards. Even within that, the Lions had their most successful regular season in three decades. And they were an egregious officiating mistake away from being the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs.
There is plenty of unhappy reaction to Campbell not winning Coach of the Year, on the “Detroit vs. Everybody” note that Lions’ fans like to lean into whenever something goes against their team.
But the reality is this, as much as awards like this should even matter in the big picture.
Dan Campbell will never win NFL Coach of the Year-at least for as long as he’s the Lions’ head coach.