Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell is getting lots of clicks and other attention for his post-game locker room speech after his team upset the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs 21-20 on Thursday.
“Now, let me ask you this,” he said to his players. “Did we expect to win this game?” They answered “yes.”
He thundered back, “That’s exactly what we did, because we’re built that BLEEP-ing way!”
I have to wonder what he would have said if the Chiefs hadn’t dropped a half-dozen passes, but I don’t want to take away from a good rousing speech.
Some folks have suggested that pros who play for money don’t go for that “college rah-rah” stuff. But, come to think of it, with the transfer portal and the NIL (Name, Image and Likeness), the collegians are playing for money, too.
There are times when emotional tricks can backfire. Sports Illustrated once wrote about a college coach years ago whose team was playing the University of Georgia Bulldogs.
As a stunt, he brought a real live bulldog into the locker room and said, “Here’s what we’re going to do to those Bulldogs.” He placed his hands around the canine’s throat and pretended to choke it.
Well, as you might imagine, the bulldog – a breed renowned for its tremendous toothy grip – took exception to this bit of theater and got ahold of the coach.
It took several players to pry the pooch loose from the coach, who collapsed in the corner, about as de-motivated to take on a bulldog as you can get.
The greatest locker room speech ever was performed – ad libbed, actually – by Bill Murray in the film “Meatballs,” in which he counseled his players, “It just doesn’t matter whether we win, because all the really good-looking girls would still go out with the guys from the other team, because they’ve got all the money.”
Unorthodox, but it worked. We’ll see how Campbell’s approach holds up, too.