Allen Park – Two months ago, there was thick black smoke emanating from beneath Jim Caldwell’s seat, but after the Detroit Lions have won seven of their past eight games the coach resides on a throne of ice.
The Lions (8-4) have opened up a two-game lead in the NFC North and are on track to win the team’s first division title in 23 years, squashing speculation whether Caldwell’s job is safe beyond this year.
Not that the coach is buying that logic.
“In this business, you’re always on the hot seat,” Caldwell said. “I don’t care what your record is, it’s what have you done lately. I saw, a several years back, Marty Schottenheimer got fired after 14-2. If that doesn’t tell you something about this business, nothing will.”
When the Lions were 1-3, Caldwell’s future with the organization appeared to be on an entirely different track.
There was a healthy percentage of fans who didn’t want to delay the inevitable, calling for general manager Bob Quinn to ax the coach then and there to send a message. Speculation was already running rampant about which New England Patriots coordinator – Josh McDaniels or Matt Patricia would be the best replacement.
Caldwell claims he never heard the calls for his head and he doesn’t draw any satisfaction in proving his doubters wrong.
“Satisfaction doesn’t come from showing people we can do this, we can do that,” Caldwell said.
“That doesn’t stimulate me at all. I coach because I love to see men perform at their absolute best and try to take them to heights maybe they can’t take themselves. Those are the things I think drive our staff and drive the people in our business, more so than anything else.”