By Joseph Hayes
This month two years ago, my voicemail inbox was full of interview requests, stemming from a column I wrote.
Fellow members of the media wanted to interview me around the country regarding the column, after then Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell had been asked about it at his daily press conference.
But what I foresaw back in 2017 should serve as a future warning for fan bases that would choose to follow a similar script.
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In the past two years, since the Lions fired Caldwell, they have won exactly nine games.
That’s the same amount that he set as a new standard for the organization, in a state that had fallen far short of the goal in years past.
If 9-7 was not good enough for a franchise that had struggled to achieve such results previously, what should we say about the past two seasons new coach Matt Patricia has led?
Does Patricia deserve patience? Or should we rebuild again? After all, wasn’t General Manager Bob Quinn determining all of this off a two-year sample size when he fired Caldwell?
Have a look at the numbers.
Caldwell enjoyed winning seasons in three of his four seasons under helm, and both under Quinn; all while losing talents such as Calvin Johnson to retirement and Ndamukong Suh to free agency.
But none of this was considered when local media joined in with fans to run Caldwell out of town and applaud the firing.
When Patricia was hired, he was coming off a stellar run with the still rolling New England Patriots. He was seen as a rock star.
He was supposed to make the Lions everything the Patriots were. Instead, the Lions have taken a large step back and his luster has already faded away.
The Lions have won exactly nine games under Patricia. Entering this weekend’s NFC North Division contest at Minnesota, that number is not likely to grow.
The truth is, this is exactly what should have been foreseen when Detroit decided to move away from the man that seemed to stabilize the organization and bring everyone together.
Caldwell was the most successful coach in modern franchise history for a reason and was fired for a friend of Bob Quinn’s, who had no previous head coaching experience.
That must have been a tough pill to swallow for Caldwell. But once more, he handled it with humility, dignity and grace.
And as a result, we all should benefit and learn something in the long run. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
Sometimes, patience really does rule the day.
That’s something to consider once again as the Lions think about another rebuild. Is there anything worth salvaging? Or is it really time to start all over again?
Hopefully, we can all learn from these previous mistakes and save a little time for the next go-round.
Because after all, many University of Michigan and Michigan State University football fans are already clamoring for their next coaching search.