Dan Campbell's hidden Metallica reference in Hard Knocks episode one

Joshua Rogers August 10, 2022
Dan Campbell's hidden Metallica reference in Hard Knocks episode one
Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

Lions fans were loving Dan Campbell’s hidden Metallica reference from No Leaf Clover in the first episode of Hard Knocks.

Dan Campbell is one of the NFL’s most colorful and interesting characters, so it’s no surprise HBO selected the Detroit Lions as the focus of the latest Hard Knocks series.

Hard Knocks is a sports documentary series that provides a peek behind the curtain of NFL teams throughout their preseason training camps.

The series was first broadcast in 2001, and over the years we’ve had a bunch of different franchises appear on the show. This year it’s the turn of the Detroit Lions, one of the league’s worst teams (they had a record of 3-13-1 last season).

Former Lions tight end Dan Campbell is now the team’s head coach, and has been tasked with turning the fortunes of the franchise around. It’s a tough ask, but Hard Knocks episode one showed why Campbell might just be the man to do it.

Hard Knocks: The Detroit Lions | Official Trailer | HBO

Hard Knocks: The Detroit Lions | Official Trailer | HBO

Fans loving Campbell’s No Leaf Clover reference

There were plenty of great moments from Campbell in episode 1 (more on those in a minute). However, one some of you may have missed was his No Leaf Clover reference – a song by one of his favorite bands, Metallica.

During the episode, Campbell casually drops in the line “Good day to be alive, sir,” which is a lyric from the song No Leaf Clover. Not only that, the song’s riff featured at the end of the episode.

One fan wrote: “When I heard Dan Campbell make that No Leaf Clover reference, I literally shouted at the top of my lungs, ‘THIS DUDE IS THE ANSWER!'”

Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

Dan Campbell is a huge Metallica fan

It’s no secret Dan Campbell is a huge Metallica fan. During his time at Texas A&M, he was nicknamed “Dantallica” by his roommate Shane Lechler.

Campbell told ESPN he once queued overnight to get good tickets to see the band in Texas.

“I’m a big country/Metallica fan. That’s kind of who I am,” Campbell explained. “I like classic rock, too. So that was something where I really wanted to see [Metallica] so I stayed up. I knew the ticket box was going to be open at 8am and it was probably going to be packed. So I just decided I’d stay up.

“So anyways, I got there. I think I was like fourth in line. It worked out, yeah… they were solid seats.”

His favorite songs are reportedly Ride The Lightning, Master Of Puppets, One, The Unforgiven and Nothing Else Matters.

During his time with the Miami Dolphins, Campbell once spent the opening five minutes of a press conference talking about the band:

His affinity to rock music doesn’t stop there. After joining the Lions in 2021, Pat McAfee gave Dan the nickname ‘MC/DC,’ which stands for Motor City Dan Campbell as well as a reference to rock band AC/DC.

His other golden moments from episode 1

The episode kicked off with a motivational speech from Campbell to his players. There were plenty of f-bombs, but one quote in particular seemed to resonate.

“Doesn’t matter if you have one a**cheek or three toes, I will beat your a**,” he said.

We then saw him sympathize with his players after the first padded practice of camp before explaining how physical practice would better prepare the team for the season.

Campbell then provided the final laugh of the episode as the credits rolled:

The second episode of the five-part season debuts Tuesday, August 16 at 10pm ET on HBO and HBO Max.

What did you make of episode 1? Let us know in the comments below!

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Joshua is a senior sports writer with over four years' experience in online writing. He graduated with a BA in Ancient History from The University of Manchester before receiving an MA in Sports Journalism from The University of Central Lancashire. He became a trending writer for a leading social publisher and later spent time covering the 2018 World Cup for The Mirror Online. He then moved to a social marketing agency where he acted as website editor. His specialties on The Focus include F1, tennis, NBA, NFL and combat sports.