Despite his Super Bowl pedigree, the league continues to undervalue the Detroit Lions’ Jim Caldwell and his abilities as a NFL head coach.
Since taking over the reins of the Detroit Lions as their head coach in 2014, Jim Caldwell has posted a regular season record of 27 wins and 21 losses. The 62-year has led the Lions to two playoff appearances in three years. But Detroit has yet to record a single postseason victory since 1992.
So how does the Lions’ head coach compare to his peers? According to a recent list published by NFL.com, Caldwell ranks 19th among all NFL head coaches.
"“Caldwell has seen the Lions to a couple of playoff performances over the last three years,” wrote NFL analyst Elliot Harrison on the league’s official site. “Yet, when Matthew Stafford sustained a finger injury late last year, Detroit dropped three straight to finish the regular season. As the quarterback goes, so goes the head coach, at least in this case.”"
Caldwell has won two Super Bowls rings as a quarterback coach and coordinator. And as a rookie head coach, he led the Indianapolis Colts to Super Bowl XLIV, where they were defeated by the New Orleans Saints back in 2010.
But just like in Detroit last season, an injury to his quarterback hurt Caldwell’s effectiveness (as one might expect it would). In 2011, the former Colts’ head coach lost his job when quarterback Peyton Manning missed the entire season due to a neck injury and the team posted a 2-14 record. Caldwell had just led the team to a 10-6 record the season prior.
Despite those accolades, Harrison had several other NFL head coaches like the Minnesota Vikings’ Mike Zimmer (10th), the Dallas Cowboys’ Jason Garrett (13th), the Colts’ Chuck Pagano (15th), the Miami Dolphins’ Adam Gase (16th) and the Houston Texans’ Bill O’Brien (18th) all ranked higher than Caldwell on his list.
Personally, I believe Jim Caldwell’s achievements as a NFL head coach are a bit underrated. And he’s taken on a big challenge in Detroit to bring the Lions’ back to prominence. Although the team hasn’t cracked that playoff ceiling in over 25 years, with Caldwell at the helm, it seems like only a matter of time.