HBO Hard Knocks will shift the narrative surrounding the Detroit Lions

The 2022 premiere of HBO Hard Knocks was quite the hit.

For many fans, this season of HBO Hard Knocks will provide us with a rare behind-the-scenes look into the everyday life of the Detroit Lions training camp and preseason. It’s such an incredible experience to watch these professional athletes go to work and compete against each other for employment. HBO Hard Knocks also pulls the curtain back on the coaching staff and the organization’s higher-ups. Although the team’s principal owner, Sheila Ford Hamp, didn’t appear in the season premiere, she will be spotted often patrolling the sidelines of training camp in the following episodes.

In the first episode, the show focused primarily on head coach Dan Campbell and the intriguing coaching staff loaded with former players he’s assembled with the Detroit Lions. Many of the national media view Campbell as just a ‘rah-rah’ head coach that comes up with a bunch of odd yet hilarious cliches involving biting knee caps. Plus, Campbell’s newest rant provided the country with to open the show Tuesday night, talking about how he envisions the 2022 Detroit Lions.

Campbell said he wants his team to adopt the mentality that they will play anyone anytime, anywhere. Campbell exclaimed what the word ‘grit’ means to him. He mentioned that this Lions team would play you on grass, turf, in a landfill, or treading water.

The entertaining head coach noted that this Lions team would tread water as long as it takes to (expletive) bury you. Sure, most of the national media members, the Colin Cowherds’ of the world, will treat this as yet another one of Campbell’s rah-rah speeches, but for some reason, this feels different. Maybe some of you will view Campbell as this ultra-intense, high-volumed lipservice head coach whose message will quickly wear on veterans. But to me, 2022 feels different.

Campbell finished by quoting Metallica’s ‘No Leaf Cover.’

He said you often hear the saying; you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Campbell said the song equates to a freight train coming your way. Campbell explained that if you see the light in the tunnel, it’s because you are about to be smoked by a train. The animated head coach explained that he wants the Detroit Lions to be that freight train and run over their opponents this season.

HBO Hard Knocks will change how football fans view the Detroit Lions.

Something tells me that two years ago, the meeting room would not have erupted in the way it did during the rookie initiation period when Aidan Hutchinson busted out to Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean. Or the team’s reaction as Malcolm Rodriquez displayed his neat salsa moves.

It’s no secret that the Detroit Lions have been the league’s laughing stock for years, especially highlighting the Matt Millen and Bob Quinn eras. Those days are long behind us, and this Detroit Lions team will be viewed far differently.

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This coaching regime has changed the culture surrounding the Detroit Lions, and it was on display during Tuesday’s episode of Hard Knocks. Running back Jamaal Williams broke down practice with a heartfelt speech saying that last season’s three-win team is not what this group is. This group is expected to better themselves and strive for excellence. Teammates consoled Williams as he was nearly in tears.

Don’t let the tears fool you, though. The charismatic running back also provided us with the line of the episode. Williams ran over a defender during the team scrimmage and hollered that he was running through bodies like diarrhea.

General manager Brad Holmes has done a fantastic job reshaping the lackluster roster he was left into something very hopeful. I can’t wait to watch the remaining episodes of HBO Hard Knocks.

Written by Bob Heyrman

Bob currently serves as the Editorial Director at Detroit Sports Nation. Bob's writing is comparable to the third starter in a rotation. Sometimes he throws junk that finds the barrel of the bat and gets smacked over the fence, but the odd time he can toss a complete game shutout. Bob is a passionate lifelong Detroit sports fan. Bob loves the city and can often be found downtown taking in a sporting event or a cold beverage at a local watering hole.

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