DETROIT — Jim Caldwell gave the Lions (9-7) consecutive winning seasons for the first time since 1995. It wasn’t enough to save his job.
The Detroit Lions have officially fired Caldwell from his position as head coach. The news of Caldwell’s dismissal was announced by the Lions via Twitter shortly before 8 a.m. on Monday.
Caldwell was 36-28 in four years with three winning seasons and two playoff postseason appearances. However, the Lions came up short in both of those playoff games.
Following yesterday’s season-finale win over the Green Bay Packers, Caldwell was asked about his job status with the Lions. At the point he said he was still the coach.
“I’m not done yet,” Caldwell said after a 35-11 win against Green Bay.
Caldwell entered the season with already some pressure to take the Lions to the next level after losing the final four games last year, including a NFC North winner-take-all home game against the Packers. However, it appeared the team was ready to back Caldwell when they announced earlier in the season he received a “multi-year” contract extension during the offseason. That “multi-year” extension turned out to be nothing more than a one-year extension with a multi-year option.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported the new details on Caldwell’s contract extension before Dec. 10’s matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, stating “the contract extension he received wouldn’t factor into” whether or not he was retained. Once the Lions lost to the Cincinnati Bengals on Christmas Eve and were officially eliminated from making the playoffs, it appeared the writing was on the wall for Caldwell in Detroit.
Caldwell will end his four year career in Detroit as the Lions’ winningest coach in the Super Bowl era.
With the Lions moving on from Caldwell, the search for a new head coach will begin for general manager Bob Quinn. NFL.com’s Michael Silver reported on Saturday that New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia is the “leading candidate” to take over as the next Lions head coach.
Other names being thrown out there right now include: Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Houston Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel and Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley.
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