A day after defeating the Packers, 35-11, to cap their third winning campaign in four seasons, the Lions fired head coach Jim Caldwell, reports NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (Twitter link).
Caldwell twice led the team to the postseason, the most playoff trips by a Detroit coach since Bobby Ross in the late-1990s. Despite the regular-season success, Caldwell could not deliver a postseason victory, something that has eluded the Lions for 25 years.
Rapoport also reports (Twitter link) the team is expected to interview highly sought after Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia for the vacant head-coaching position. He also notes Lions general manager Bob Quinn’s New England ties will help in the team’s pursuit of Patricia. Before ascending to GM in Detroit, Quinn spent 15 years in New England as a scout and director of player personnel.
The 62-year-old Caldwell has delivered winning campaigns in five of his eight seasons as a head coach and advanced to the Super Bowl with the Colts. His winning percentage of .562 as Lions head coach is the highest of any full-time coach of the franchise for more than one season since Buddy Parker recorded a 47-23-2 mark and a .671 winning percentage in the 1950s.
The dismissal ends longtime speculation over the future of Caldwell in Detroit. After losing his last three regular-season games and the team’s wildcard matchup with Seattle in 2017, Caldwell was retained and given a contract extension. The terms of the deal, however, were not made available immediately and it was later discovered the extension only covered him through the 2018 campaign.
Instead of firing Caldwell, the team hired Quinn to replace former GM Martin Mayhew. With Caldwell now gone, Quinn is set to hire his first head coach on the job.
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