Dan Campbell Wants REAL Lions On Sidelines But “No Fun League” Disapproves

Detroit Lions Head Coach Dan Campbell revealed in a recent interview on Barstool Sports’ “Pardon My Take” that his “ambitious” request to have a LIVE lion on the sideline during games was turned down by the NFL.

That’s right, MCDC wanted a real, live lion roaming the sidelines in Detroit. What a scene that would be!

Known for his passionate and unconventional approach to coaching, Campbell shared that he initially proposed the idea shortly after taking over as head coach before the 2020 season.

He received support from team owner Sheila Hamp Ford but faced resistance from the league.

“Sheila, she had no problem with it, but the league apparently frowns on those types of things,” Campbell said, refraining from directly blaming NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for the denial.

“I’m not gonna point out Roger on this, I’m just gonna say the league frowns on that, let’s just say that,” he added.

In May 2021, Campbell first addressed the lion idea, expressing his desire to have a large, well-cared-for lion as a pet on a big chain, accompanying him during team activities and games.

“We just walk around the building, we go out to practice, we’re at 7-on-7, we’re behind the kicker when he’s kicking. There we are,” he said enthusiastically.

However, he acknowledged the potential challenges in making this dream a reality. “The problem is I don’t know if PETA’s going to allow that, though. It’s gonna be hard. Believe me, though, we would take great care of it. It would be fed well, it would be petted, it would be manicured.”

“I might end up losing an arm because of it, but that would be even better because it would validate what, this is a freaking, this is a creature now. This is an animal. This thing, this is from the wild,” he said.

Live animal mascots are uncommon in professional football, with only a few teams having them. For example, the Denver Broncos have Thunder III, and the Seattle Seahawks have an augur buzzard named Taima.

However, even Taima encountered controversy during a 2021 game when it harassed a fan during a game against the Los Angeles Rams.

Despite the entertaining idea, having a live lion on the sidelines is likely not in the cards for Ford Field. The NFL places a premium on player and fan safety, making it challenging to introduce wild animals into the gameday experience.

Looking ahead to the 2023 season, expectations are sky-high for the Detroit Lions after a promising 9-8 record nearly propelled them to the playoffs. The NFC North division has seen a shake-up with the Green Bay Packers trading Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets, making the race for the division title more wide open.

What do you think of Campbell’s idea?

Should Goodell and the league have approved it?