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The Lions understand Detroit – Campbell

Ford Field, Detroit

Dan Campbell believes his Detroit Lions side have a “kinship with this city” that has helped propel them to their first NFL Championship game in 32 years.

The Lions eased past the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-23 on Sunday and will now face the San Francisco 49ers next weekend in California for a place in the Super Bowl.

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Campbell played three seasons at tight end for the Lions between 2006 and 2008 and got to understand what makes the city tick. He thinks that knowledge, and the fact his players have bought into Detroit’s working-class lifestyle, has helped them on the field.

He said of the city: “It’s not the first thing you think of if you go to LA or just in general.

”You’ve got the sun, you’ve got the beach, you’ve got plenty of other things going on. And here, man, it’s harsh winters, auto industry, blue collar, things aren’t always easy. And I just think, that’s what we’re about. You want something the city can be proud of.

“You can look at those guys and say, ‘Man, I can back that guy. I can back that team. I can resonate with those group of guys. They’re kind of salty. They don’t quit. They play hard.’ 

“And I feel like we’ve done that. And I think these guys, they have a kinship with this city and this area, and they love it, man, and ultimately, that’s what you want. Now, a year from now, two years, we’ll be getting booed, maybe; that’s a whole other deal, though. But right now, life’s good, and I’m glad we could deliver that.”

The Lions have made huge strides since Campbell was appointed almost three years ago to the day – their play-off run is just the third in franchise history in which they have won more than one game.

The 47-year-old was always confident he could drag them to this point.

“I envisioned that we would have a chance to compete with the big boys, and that’s where we’re at,” he added. 

“All you got to do is get in, and it’s about placing yourself in the very best position to where you can move. You get a home game and maybe you get a second home game, and now all of a sudden it gets a little easier.”

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