Colts put screws to coach Caldwell


The Indianapolis Colt fired head coach Jim Caldwell on Tuesday. Photo by OldOnliner / Flickr

When NFL teams are forced to rebuild their franchises from the ground up, some do it subtly over the course of a few seasons, leaving fans in the dark while their reason for waking up Sunday mornings receives a facelift. Some fans aren’t that lucky, though. They might watch their favorite football squad attempt to completely start over in one offseason. It appears the Indianapolis Colts are headed down that scary, unpredictable road.

It shouldn’t be a complete shock to Colts faithful, but sudden change can be a dangerous thing.

Indianapolis started its reformation by firing its lead decision makers, vice chairman Bill Polian and his son, Chris, who served as the team’s general manager. And if you thought it would end there like I did, you were dead wrong. In what I thought to be a surprising move, the Colts fired head coach Jim Caldwell after three seasons. Indy will now join the Dolphins, Raiders and Buccaneers in the search for new coaching blood, but the Colts might be entering the race too late.

Indianapolis is a sexy destination for any NFL head coach. The management is gone and probably would be one of the perks offered to a new coach if they are experienced. An opportunity to truly run the team is exactly what held up Jeff Fisher’s decision to join the Rams or the Dolphins. St. Louis offered Fisher almost total control while the Dolphins wanted him just for coaching duties. And unsurprisingly,  Fisher joined the Rams this week. Who could blame him?

The problem for the Colts is that there aren’t any coaches of Fisher’s caliber really available. They already had a good, experienced coach in Caldwell, who ends his Indianapolis tenure with a 26-22 overall record, one AFC title, two divisional crowns and one really bad season in which he didn’t have the almighty Peyton Manning.

Like many coaches in the past, Caldwell got screwed. He did great things with the Colts. There is no denying that.

Many people will counter that Caldwell’s success was only because of Manning, who missed the entire 2011-2012 season with a neck injury. Yes, a quarterback will always have a lot to do with the success of a professional football team. But in the end, the coach is the one who prepares the entire team. Caldwell did that famously during his first two seasons. And it’s too bad that one player’s injury could possibly cost him any future head coaching jobs.

I know if I were the Dolphins, Raiders or Buccaneers that I would roll the dice on a guy who has coached a team to the Super Bowl and recorded 14 wins in his first year.

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