By: Eric Thomas
The Lions announced that they are going to interview Ravens Offensive Coordinator Jim Caldwell. Don’t let him get back on the plane. He could be the guy. Caldwell has quietly had an amazing career in the NFL.
While plenty of Lions fans rolled their eyes at the prospect of Caldwell coaching the Honolulu blue, Caldwell could be the perfect fit. His resume is impressive. He’s turned quarterbacks with big arms into Super Bowl MVPs—that’s plural because he did it twice. Detroit has their own turnover prone quarterback with a big arm. This could work.
Here are the five reasons Jim Caldwell should be the next coach of the Lions:
He was a Head Coach in the Super Bowl – This one is easy to forget. Peyton Manning totally overshadows his head coach, no matter what the situation. Is anyone really talking about the genius of John Fox right now? Caldwell spent three seasons as the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts after Tony Dungy left. He finished with over ten wins twice—but we only seem to remember the last one when Manning was injured and missed the season.
He was Peyton Manning’s quarterback coach when Manning was 26 – Manning was a young, rocket-armed turnover machine when Caldwell became Manning’s quarterback coach in 2003. Manning’s interception numbers decreased almost immediately after Caldwell joined the Colts. Stafford will be 26 next year, and is coming off a similar season. Works for me.
Caldwell has two rings – Jim Caldwell has been to THREE Super Bowls, and walked away from two of them with hardware. He won his first ring in 2007 with the Colts as Peyton Manning’s quarterback coach. He was the head coach of the Colts in his second title game and he was the OC of the Ravens to get his second ring. Caldwell commands immediate respect in a locker room for his Peyton pedigree and his two rings push him into the stratosphere.
Caldwell has answered his critics – He was dismissed from the Colts after one of the most understandable 2-14 seasons in history. Some in Indy claimed Caldwell was a beneficiary of Peyton Manning’s abilities. Any coach, it was said, could win when you have Peyton Manning running your offense. Caldwell was hired by John Harbaugh as the quarterbacks coach for the Baltimore Ravens prior to the 2012 season. Joe Flacco looked like he was on his way out in Baltimore after the team didn’t sign him to an extension. Too many turnovers and inconsistent performances left Flacco expendable. Caldwell became Flacco’s coach, and all he did was win the Super Bowl—and was named the MVP of the game. Caldwell’s presence on the team was so powerful; Harbaugh fired Cam Cameron in December of that year and elevated Caldwell to OC. Then—again—they won the Super Bowl, in a year where no one was picking the Ravens in December.
Caldwell deserves another shot – Caldwell might be the most overlooked head coach to ever coach in the Super Bowl. He’s got two rings because he earned them. He coached Peyton Manning under Tony Dungy and Joe Flacco under John Harbaugh. His first season as head coach of the Colts was the most successful debut for any rookie coach in the history of the NFL. I saw a few people on Twitter saying that Caldwell “couldn’t get it done” as a head coach, then hope for Bill Cowher as head coach. Didn’t Cowher lose a Super Bowl once in his career?! Many Lions fans have zeroed in on Ken Whisenhunt (yrs. truly included, and he would be a fine choice) but Caldwell has a FAR more impressive resume.