From 2014-17, Jim Caldwell went 36-28 with two playoff appearances as head coach of the Detroit Lions. He was the first head coach to go over .500 with at least a full season’s worth of games since Joe Schmidt from 1967-72.
The Lions have been a long moribund franchise. The decision to fire Caldwell was somewhat surprising in 2017, and looks worse with every Lions loss.
The team hired former New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia to replace Caldwell. He went 13-28-1, and was fired after the team’s blowout Thanksgiving day loss to the Houston Texans. The team also let go of general manager Bob Quinn.
NBC Sports’ Tony Dungy has a pretty bold idea for the Lions: hire Jim Caldwell back. During an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show, he cited the things that Martha Firestone Ford said when she made the decision to fire Caldwell a few years ago, as evidence that he had the franchise in the best place it has been in decades.
“Just listen to Ms. Ford’s press conference when she let him go. That was the most unbelievable thing I have ever heard,” Dungy said, via Sports Illustrated. “Hey, our locker room is better, we’ve got great direction, we’ve won more games than we’ve had over any three-year period of time in the last 40 years, our city is better (and) our players believe in him. But, we are going in another direction. Come on. That says a lot right there.”
“If I were them, I would bring Jim Caldwell back, and say hopefully we can fix this thing,” he continued.
Eisen has been saying similar things about the opening, going back to the decision to fire Patricia last week.
Hire Jim Caldwell back and choose a GM who knows him and go to work. https://t.co/zQGcEWacFo
— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) November 28, 2020
I don’t know that many Detroit Lions fans would love a retread, even if Caldwell had more success than any coach they’ve had in decades.
San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, a Michigan native, has a lot of support for the job, while other names like Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh have also come up.