For the second time in three years, the Calgary Stampeders will face the Ottawa Redblacks in the CFL title game. In 2016, Campbell's Redblacks earned the stunning 39-33 overtime overtime win.
Both coaches had issues to address as their Grey Cup reunion got underway.
Dickenson again apologized for his controversial remarks during Calgary's 22-14 West Division final win over Winnipeg. An emotional Dickenson was yelling at officials about some calls that were being made in front of Winnipeg head coach Mike O'Shea when TV cameras picked up Dickenson uttering "(expletive) Canadians.''
"I just want to let you know I let my emotions get the best of me,'' he said. "I talk to my players a lot about having poise and I lacked poise.
"I just want to make sure people know at no time were my comments directed at the Canadian people or the CFL. I really, truly believe I am Canadian, not by birth certificate but by choice. I've lived up here for 22 years, I've got a Canadian wife, two Canadian kids, and Calgary's home. Sometimes in football you maybe cross a line and I certainly apologize for that, and I own those remarks.''
Campbell then confirmed defensive back Jonathan Rose, who finished tied for the CFL lead in interceptions (five) and had a key pick in Ottawa's 46-27 East Division final win over Hamilton, will play Sunday. Rose was ejected late in the first half Sunday for contacting an official, earning a one-game suspension from the CFL.
But it was quickly appealed by the CFL Players' Association, opening the door for Rose to play Sunday.
"We will use him and have him play in the game,'' Campbell said. "I'm going to stay away from commenting on it and our team's going to stay away from commenting on it.
“There's a whole process that's got to happen between the league and the union and let that whole thing play out.''
Dickenson's outburst Sunday belies his usual calm, even-keeled demeanour. But Dickenson, looking to win his first Grey Cup as a coach in his third straight appearance, said the competitive fires certainly burn within him.
"I'd rather be known as a soft-spoken, mild-mannered guy,'' he said. "I'm a competitor, I want to win.
"I think most people that are successful in life have to have a little bit of an edge.''
And no one would know that better than Campbell. He and Dickenson became good friends working together as assistants under Calgary head coach John Hufnagel from 2012-13 before Campbell left to become Ottawa's head coach.
Dickenson remained and succeeded Hufnagel as Calgary's head coach in 2016.
"We had many, many conversations about 'what would this do to a defence?','' Dickenson said. "I became a much better coach just by talking with Rick because of his knowledge on that other side of the ball.
"There's not many guys who are more organized than Rick, that do things the right way. It's a lot of mutual respect and admiration.''
Ditto for Campbell.
"I'm a fan of Dave's because I think he's a quality person but he's also a really good coach.'' Campbell said. "You knew he was going to be a good head coach when he had the opportunity.''
But Campbell isn't quite so big on Dickenson's musical choices.
"When you walk into his office and Dave's watching film ... you got Britney Spears and Katie Perry and all that stuff,'' Campbell said with a smile.
"I've got a daughter,'' Dickenson countered.
Calgary (13-5) finished atop the West Division standings for a third straight year and is a stellar 41-1-2 (.777) under Dickenson. But the '18 season was hardly a smooth one with numerous injuries to the receiving corps and three late-season losses that forced the Stampeders to earn a 26-9 road win over B.C. to clinch first place.
"I think we showed some resiliency and I think that's missing in life these days,'' he said. "We want a resilient team, we want guys that can overcome adversity.
"A lot of people thought we were on our way out. I feel good about the guys in our locker room, and hoping to use that momentum to win one more game.''
Campbell has compiled a 41-47-2 since joining the expansion Redblacks. But after posting a 2-16 marks in '14 - the franchise's first year of operation - Ottawa is 39-31-2 under Campbell.
Dickenson, 45, and Campbell, 47, come by their profession honestly.
Dickenson's father, Bob, was a football coach while his older brother, Craig, served this year as the Saskatchewan Roughriders' special-teams co-ordinator. Dave Dickenson, a former star quarterback, became a coach after spending 10 of his 12 pro seasons in the CFL with Calgary and B.C., earning induction into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2015.
Campbell's father, Hugh, 77, led Edmonton to a record five straight Grey Cups (1978-82) as head coach and also coached the NFL's Houston Oilers. He also won a Grey Cup as a receiver with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and was the CFL's coach of the year in '79 before serving as a long-time executive with the Eskimos.
The elder Campbell was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2000. Rick Campbell followed in his legendary father's footsteps as the CFL's coach of the year in 2015. He was a finalist again in 2016, losing to Dickenson.
Dickenson said Wally Buono - the longtime B.C. Lions head coach who retired at season's end - and Hufnagel served as coaching mentors.
"Those are two guys you want to follow and at least try to emulate,'' Dickenson said. "They're winners, so it was easy for me.''
Campbell said there's a long list of coaches he's learned from, most notably the late Don Matthews and Hufnagel, before departing for Ottawa.
"The first guy I was with was Don, the last was with Huff,'' Campbell said. "And you know, those bookends would be two pretty good examples of guys that are Hall of Fame type guys who endured in football for a long time.
"I think the big thing is to never stop learning. Even if you don't agree exactly with someone there's still something you can always take. I think part of the key in football is to evolve with the game and evolve with the times.''