Jan 15, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell speaks during a press conference at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Lions Head Coach Jim Caldwell Ranks 22nd In NFL Coach Rankings


NFL.com’s Elliot Harrison recently posted his power rankings of the all 32 head coaches in the NFL. Jim Caldwell ended up at number 22 on his list.

Here’s Harrison’s take on where Jim Caldwell stands as the Detroit Lions head coach.

Fairly or unfairly, Caldwell has much to prove in his second go-around as an NFL head coach. While the Colts made it to the Super Bowl in his debut season of 2009, many felt that it was “Tony Dungy’s team.” In Detroit, Caldwell has an opportunity to show that his leadership style works. But with Green Bay and Chicago in the NFC North, he certainly has inherited a challenge.

While Caldwell may have inherited Tony Dungy’s team in Indianapolis, he also had to maintain a team that was depleted of talent at the hands of Bill Polian. It really is tough to know where Caldwell stands as a head coach. Is he the guy who took the Colts to the Super Bowl (and a 14-2 regular season record), or is he the coach that steered them to a miserable 2-14 record just two years later.

I believe the answer lies somewhere in the middle. I think Peyton Manning could make any coach look good, but at the same time I’m not ready to dispute everything Caldwell during his Super Bowl run. I also don’t think many coaches would have gotten much better results out of the 2011 Colts team that got him fired.

This year, with a clean slate, we’ll finally get to see who the real Jim Caldwell is.

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  • Derek Mack

    22nd for a coach with 3 Superbowl appearances seems arbitrary and baseless. I know there are those who want to judge Caldwell’s entire career based on the 2-14 season he posted in 2011. Truth is, everyone around the league knows Jim Irsay wanted his team to tank that season so the Colts could position themselves to draft Luck, and move on from Manning era. Irsay cleaned out his entire regime, including his head coach, franchise QB, and GM. He also sent key personnel like Dwight Freeney away to rebuild the team in a different image. Despite those sweeping changes Caldwell is the only person who has a stigma attached to his reputation, a staggering fact considering he is also the only member of that group who went on to win another Superbowl.

    Jeff Saturday, Peyton Manning and Bill Polian were among many who were privy to the situation who provided unsolicited support for Caldwell when arrogant fans and bloggers following the Lions attempted to disparage Caldwell’s hiring on the basis of a single season. I’ve read nonsense from fellow Lions fans and a few bloggers where Jim Schwartz was praised for the job he performed while they dismissed Caldwell’s successes. The fact is, there is sufficient information to show Jim Schwartz was one of the worst first-time head coaches in NFL history while Jim Caldwell was arguably the best. Even if he has not progressed as a head coach, there’s no doubt he isn’t one of the bottom tier coaches in the NFL. This is a baseless supposition rooted in nothing that can be objectively observed.

    • Chris Wyman

      He called timeout twice in the same year for the other team. He’s incompetent to say the least and he lost both of those games one of which I’m not mistaken was the AFC Championship game vs the Jets.

  • Chris Wyman

    He called timeout twice in the same year for the other team. He’s incompetent to say the least and he lost both of those games one of which I’m not mistaken was the AFC Championship game vs the Jets. The Lions will lose their first 3 games and finish 1-15. He inherited a team that finished 1-7. This team is gonna implode under Jim Caldwell. Fail.