Jim Caldwell was informed on the first day of 2018 that he will not be returning as head coach of the Detroit Lions. From 2014-17 Jim Caldwell led the Lions to a 35-28 record over 64 regular season games.
Here is the statement made by Lions’ owner Martha Ford:
Caldwell is the first Lions head coach to finish his team career with a winning record since Joe Schmidt (43-34-7) from 1967-72.
The Lions made the playoffs two out of four years under Caldwell and had three seasons where the team finished above .500. The team lost to the Seattle Seahawks in a 2017 NFC wild-card playoff game last season in Seattle.
The Lions also controversially lost to the Dallas Cowboys in the 2015 playoffs after referees picked up a defensive pass interference flag called against the Cowboys that would have resulted in a Lions’ first-down in a crucial moment in the game.
Previous head coaches in Detroit had nowhere near the amount of success Caldwell enjoyed.
Before Caldwell were the tumultuous and undisciplined times led by Jim Schwartz from 2009-13. Schwartz coached 80 games for the Lions and finished with a 29-51 record, leading the team to its first playoff appearance in 12 years in 2012 in a loss to the New Orleans Saints.
Although, Schwartz’s most memorable moment might be this altercation with then San Francisco 49ers head coach, now head coach at the University of Michigan, and beloved Michigan man Jim Harbaugh.
Before Schwartz was Rod Marinelli who led the Detroit Lions to an historic record. Between 2006-08 Marinelli went 10-38 and orchestrated a perfect 0-16 season. Lions’ fans owe a thank you to the 2017 Cleveland Browns for getting that team off the hook as being the worst team in NFL history.
Steve Mariucci coached the Lions beginning 2003 and was fired nine games into the 2005 season. He coached 43 games and went 15-28.
Caldwell impressively straightened and gave direction to a ship that was aimlessly floating in open water hoping for the best. It now feels like the Lions are a more respected NFL organization with an actual plan moving forward.
Jim Caldwell was hired as the Lions head coach on Jan. 14, 2014 under former general manager Martin Mayhew and former team president Tom Lewand. Bob Quinn was introduced as the new GM in 2016 and Rod Wood was hired as president in late 2015. Now, Quinn has the opportunity to implement a coach who may fit his system better.
Lions fans owe Caldwell a thank you for the class and respect he brought to the organization after the tumultuous and undisciplined past under Schwartz and previous regimes. As Mrs. Ford said, the organization is better from Caldwell’s tenure.