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Colts fire coach Jim Caldwell after 3 seasons
And it is now headed in a different direction, even if Manning comes back as expected from Sept. 8 neck surgery.
Caldwell — who won his first 14 games, an NFL record for a rookie head coach, and became only the fifth first-year coach to take his team to the Super Bowl — won’t be there when the Colts resume practice. With fans complaining about game management and clamoring for a change since midseason, Irsay didn’t have much choice.
With Manning, the Colts won a league-record 115 regular-season games over the previous decade, tying the league mark for most consecutive playoff appearances (nine), winning two AFC titles and one Super Bowl trophy, the Colts lost their first 13 games in 2011, then won twice in five days and nearly lost the No. 1 draft pick, too.
Without Manning, Indy started 0-8 and was the heavy favorite to win the Andrew Luck sweepstakes at midseason. Caldwell’s team lost the next five games, too, before finally winning two straight to avoid becoming the second 0-16 team in league history.
A season-ending loss at Jacksonville, officially gave the Colts the top pick, which is expected to be used on Luck.
Players never gave up on Caldwell and many cited their preference to keep playing for him next season. Manning was one of Caldwell’s supporters, calling the coach that helped him win a record-setting four MVP Awards a “friend.”
But the disastrous 2011 season was too much for Caldwell to overcome after winning AFC South titles in each of his first two seasons in Indy.
The decision came Tuesday, setting off the second major search of the month.
“Change sometimes isn’t always the easiest transition to make but it’s part of this game, part of this league and part of the direction we need to get going in this new era of Colts football,” Grigson said.
By Tammy Bruce
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