2022 is the Year of the Lion. Is it also the year of their coach?
Entering his second season in Detroit, Dan Campbell is emerging as the people's choice for the NFL's Coach of the Year. His odds to win the award have improved nearly three-fold in the past week after a surge of public support at Caesars Sportsbook.
As of Monday afternoon at Caesars, Campbell had almost triple the tickets and double the money as anyone else to win Coach of the Year. And his odds had jumped from 60/1 to 25/1.
The AP Coach of the Year Award was established in 1957 -- and claimed that season by George Wilson of the Lions. No Lions coach would win it again until Wayne Fontes 1991. Another 30-some-odd years later, maybe Campbell is due.
Question is, are the Lions due? They'll have to make a serious jump in 2022 to thrust Campbell into the conversation for Coach of the Year. They're coming off a three-win season and their fourth straight last place finish in the NFC North.
Then again, adversity aids the cause. Five of the last seven Coach of the Year winners led a team to the playoffs that had finished below .500 the year prior. If Campbell can push the Lions toward their first playoff berth in six seasons, all his backers in Vegas might be cashing in.
At the very least, don't rule it out. The Lions closed last season with wins over the Cardinals and the Packers. They have the pieces this year to make some noise on offense. Their defense just added six players in the draft, including Defensive Rookie of the Year favorite Aidan Hutchinson. There is some very cautious optimism in Detroit.
And tons of belief nationally in Campbell.