The Detroit Lions went to the playoffs three times since 2000 and twice in the last four season thanks to the leadership of head coach Jim Caldwell. Despite Caldwell being the first head coach to post a positive record as head coach of the Lions since Joe Schmidt’s tenure with the franchise ended in 1972, the team elected to fire him.
They made a formal announcement on Twitter on the morning of New Year’s day.
Detroit Lions General Manager Bob Quinn has informed Jim Caldwell that he will not be returning as head coach.
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) January 1, 2018
Caldwell went 36-28 over four seasons with the Lions including a 9-7 record this season. The Lions appeared to be playoff bound after starting 6-4 but a 3-3 record to end 2017 saw its lowest point in week 16. The Lions lost to a struggling Cincinnati Bengals team and it ended their playoff hopes.
The Lions had one of the best, and highest paid, quarterbacks in the NFL under center during Caldwell’s tenur but their stats never really reflected his proficency. Matthew Stafford was a bonefide gunslinger under Caldwell but they could never get a good roster around him. No runningbacks really made an impact for Detroit and they went through two big departures with Ndamukong Suh leaving town and Calvin Johnson announcing his retirement. Detroit only finished top 10 in points once (2017) during Caldwell’s tenure and once in defensive yards and points allowed (2014).