Four different head coaches have led the Indianapolis Colts to winning records since 2002. Interestingly, all four of them will be available for head coaching opportunities this offseason.
One of those four former head coaches is Tony Dungy, who has been out of the league since 2008 and has been in his “cushiony” television analyst job for years. It’s not very likely that he interviews for any openings.
However, one of the other three recent Colts former head coaches, Jim Caldwell, made his intentions clear on December 14 that he would like another shot as an NFL head coach.
“I have a strong desire to do so, to get back in the league as a head football coach,” Caldwell told The 33rd Team in a live video. “I’ve had numerous opportunities to do other things, which I wanted to refrain from until I’ve exhausted every avenue in this area, and I’m probably about in my last cycle coming up.”
Caldwell coached the Colts from 2009-11, getting fired after the disastrous 2-14 campaign in 2011 when Peyton Manning was out with his neck injury. Caldwell also served as head coach for the Detroit Lions from 2014-17.
He owns a 62-50 record as a head coach.
Caldwell’s Record as Head Coach
In his first season as head coach in Indianapolis following Dungy’s retirement, Caldwell led the Colts to a 14-2 record and a Super Bowl appearance in 2009. He was never able to repeat that high-level of success, but Caldwell did record two more double-digit win campaigns in his next three seasons.
Manning has largely been credited with Caldwell’s success with the Colts, especially when the team went to the Super Bowl. Manning won his fourth MVP in 2009.
But Caldwell went 11-5 with a young Matthew Stafford in Detroit during 2014. Then he led the Lions to two other winning seasons in 2016 and 2017.
In fact, Caldwell posted a better overall record with the Lions (36-28) than he did with the Colts (26-22).
Detroit has had four winning seasons since 2001, and Caldwell recorded three of them. Over the last 21 seasons, the Lions have also made three playoff appearances. Two of them were with Caldwell at the helm.
If that wasn’t impressive enough, Caldwell’s .563 win percentage with the Lions was the highest any coach has recorded since Buddy Parker led the Lions to a 47-23-2 mark from 1951-56.
Caldwell an Advocate for All Black Coaching Candidates
As much as Caldwell desires another shot at being an NFL head coach, the 67-year-old is also a supporter of all black coaches.
“It’s not necessarily all about me either. I love the fact that people talk about me just in terms of getting a position as a head football coach again, but there’s a lot of other great candidates out there,” Caldwell told The 33rd Team. “One of the great missions that we have with the quarterback summit run in conjunction with the National Football League and the Black College Football Hall of Fame is that we’re trying to make certain that we bring some exposure to the individuals that are out there that are ready to go and certainly capable of leading a team.”
Caldwell then named 10 black coaches that he says are ready to become head coaches in the NFL next year. Four of them have previous NFL head coaching experience, but a majority of them he identified as “ready” because they have been great leaders and coordinators.
Even if Caldwell doesn’t get a third opportunity this offseason to be an NFL head coach, he says he would be happy if other black coaches get their chances.
“I’d love to see five, six of those guys get a job and perhaps I’m left on the sideline,” Caldwell said. “I’d love that.”