Stat proves Dan Campbell was the best head coach in the NFL in 2023
On Sunday night, the Detroit Lions suffered a heartbreaking loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game, and it did not take long at all for people to begin blaming Lions head coach Dan Campbell for making bad decisions. Twice during the game, the Lions were technically in field goal range on fourth down, but Campbell decided to go for the first down. On both of those occasions, the Lions failed to convert, leading people to place blame.
One Stat Says It All
If you have followed the Lions at all over the last couple of seasons, you are well aware of the fact that Campbell loves to go for it on fourth and manageable when they are on their opponent's side of the 50-yard line. And, if you have followed the Lions over the last couple of seasons, you should be aware of the fact that Campbell has been VERY successful on fourth-down decisions.
According to a model from Eric Eager of Sumer Sports, Campbell's coaching decisions added more wins to the Lions than any other coach in football. In fact, according to the SumerSports In-Game Coaching Model, which quantifies coaching decisions in four different facets of play: fourth-down decisions, two-point conversion decisions, timeouts, and delays of game, Campbell was by far the best.
Eager tweeted out on Wednesday that “Dan Campbell added 1.04 wins above the average coach on in-game decisions during the 2023 season, which was twice as much as any other coach in football.”
TL;DR (too long didn't read)
- Fourth-Down Boldness: Detroit Lions Head Coach Dan Campbell is known for his propensity to take risks on fourth down, especially in manageable situations within the opponent's territory, a strategy he continued in the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers.
- Failed Conversions in Key Moments: In the NFC Championship Game, Campbell's decision to go for first downs instead of field goals on two crucial fourth-down situations resulted in failed conversions, leading to criticism and blame for the Lions' heartbreaking loss.
- Statistical Success in Coaching Decisions: Despite the recent criticism, statistics from Eric Eager of Sumer Sports highlight Campbell's overall success in coaching decisions. According to the SumerSports In-Game Coaching Model, Campbell added 1.04 wins above the average coach in 2023 based on decisions in four key facets, making him the most successful coach in this aspect.
Bottom Line: Dan Campbell is the man!
While Dan Campbell's aggressive fourth-down calls in the NFC Championship Game have drawn criticism due to their unsuccessful outcomes, his overall approach to in-game decision-making has been statistically validated as highly successful, contributing significantly to the Lions' wins. This suggests that while the specific decisions in the championship game were debatable, Campbell's coaching strategy, in general, has been beneficial for the team.