On Tuesday the Colts fired Jim Caldwell after 3 seasons. Now for some they might look at the present situation and think “why wouldn’t you fire a guy who just went (2-14)?”
I’ll tell you why. Because that same guy led the Colts in the post-Dungy era to two division championships and a Super Bowl appearance. There will be many that say he only has this success because of Peyton Manning and , while Manning has a huge part in the success of this franchise, his ability should not be understated. After that Super Bowl appearance the Colts weathered a rash of injuries that included their best slot receiver (Austin Collie) , their top tight end (Dallas Clark), two of their best on defense (Kelvin Hayden and Bob Sanders) and that doesn’t even include the guy who replaced Collie (Anthony Gonzalez) going down as well.
What this firing also does is raise a serious red flag for African-American coaches in the National Football League and the rate of success they need to win in order to have adequate job security. I give credit to Irsay for staying in-house and choosing Caldwell to succeed Dungy following his retirement. But ultimately, that credit is revoked when you just terminated one of the better coaches in the league as a knee-jerk reaction to a season you entrusted to Curtis Painter, Dan Orlovsky and 79-year old Kerry Collins. For those of you counting at home it would have taken a modern miracle to win with those odds.
The list of replacements for the position was even more confusing.
First names out for the position were two former head coaches with a combined (15-65) record. I did say combined, and yes you read that win column correctly. Steve Spagnuolo and Marty Mornhinweg combined to win 15 games in 5 total seasons in St. Louis and Detroit. This is the direction you want your franchise to go? In the case of Spagnuolo the ink hadn’t even dried on his pink slip before he was mentioned as a candidate in Indy. Hard to understand the thinking on this one.
NFC Championship Prediction
Giants 28, 49ers 21
I’ve learned not to bet against Eli Manning, especially on the road in the playoffs. I’ve also been burned on my predictions against the 49ers all season. I wouldn’t be surprised if this score was flipped and San Francisco makes their first Super Bowl since 1994. It’s all going to depend on how Manning navigates this 49ers secondary and if Alex Smith can sustain a rejuvenated Giants defensive line that is much improved since their week ten matchup.
AFC Championship Prediction
Ravens 21, Patriots 34
I like the Ravens defense. I like coach John Harbaugh. I don’t like Joe Flacco and his ability to go bullet-for-bullet with Tom Brady. Brady was focused last week in his barrage against the Broncos and I think that singular focus will be seen in this game. Ray Lewis will have his troops ready but if their offense doesn’t move the ball efficiently against the Patriots it won’t be pretty for Baltimore.