Since taking the reigns in Detroit in 2021, fiery head coach Dan Campbell has been credited with giving the Lions a special kind of swagger. His seek-and-destroy attitude has not only rubbed off on his team but it’s also endeared him to football fans in the Motor City who have been desperate for a winner. Now, the popular sideline leader wants to add a little more roar to his rebuilding project.
Speaking on an episode of the Pardon My Take podcast, Campbell told commented that he would like to have an actual lion on the sidelines for his squad’s home games. Knowing the hardcore and hardnosed reputation he has garnered as both a player and now head coach, it shouldn’t shock observers of the game.
However, despite Dan Campbell’s wishes, he said it’s unlikely the NFL would green-light such a situation (PETA might possibly have an issue with it, as well). So, despite the ‘coolness’ factor of it all, there won’t be a feline roaming Ford Field any time soon.
“[Lions owner] Sheila Ford Hamp… she had no problem with it, but the league apparently frowns on those types of things,” Campbell said during the discussion. “I’m not gonna point out Roger (Goodell) on this, I’m just gonna say the league frowns on that, let’s just say that.”
While NFL teams have had live mascots in the past, the practice doesn’t really take place much anymore. The main factors include cost and liability, and the fact that it’s even considered inhumane by many.
So, in this case, Dan Campbell should probably just hold his horses. And, his Lions.
That didn’t stop some in the media from having fun with the exchange. Most of them observed that Campbell’s idea was way too awesome for the buttoned-down National Football League. Sites like Brobible and Barstool Sports got in on the fun. Bartsool even posted an article that played off the longstanding joke that the NFL really stands for ‘No Fun League’.
Campbell and the Lions head into the 2023 season after barely missing the playoffs last season, finishing 9-8. However, behind the leadership of Campbell and resurgent quarterback Jared Goff, the team is considered to be on the rise, and many observers believe they’re poised to make a deep playoff run.
Unfortunately… they just won’t have a big cat prowling alongside them when they do.