Jared Goff and former Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell share something in common.
At first thought, one may think their similarities are in how they conduct interviews. I mean, both guys are pretty bland. They lack the charisma that some Lions fans have prayed for in a head coach or quarterback. Along with that, in post-game interviews, they don’t show much intensity. In-fact, both carry a calm demeanor. Besides those traits, they share something else.
The desire for either in Detroit was and is nonexistent.
Well, initially, anyway.
Never forget that Jim Caldwell was never the first choice by a majority of Lions fans.
The Lions hiring Jim Caldwell in 2014 didn’t get that great of a reaction. Many fans and local media pundits ridiculed the hiring. There were talks of Caldwell’s hire as a lazy one. Heck, some said it was the typical uninspired hiring from the Lions. After all, it didn’t help that Caldwell wasn’t even the Lions’ first choice.
Remember, the Lions (and its fanbase) wanted Ken Wisenhunt. Wisenhunt, who guided the Arizona Cardinals to a Super Bowl appearance in 2009, quickly became a favorite to land the job. Once he interviewed with the Lions, he became a fan favorite. However, there was one big problem.
Wisenhunt’s feelings weren’t mutual. And while the Lions were preparing to send a jet to him in hopes of landing a deal, he had other plans. Those plans were taking his talents down south. Wisenhunt spurned the Lions, agreeing to a multi-year deal to coach the Tennesse Titans.
The Lions, on the other hand, had to “settle” for their second choice, with Caldwell taking the position instead.
And remember how that worked out for both teams.
Wisenhunt, the guy everyone in Detroit wanted, had a quick stint with the Titans. The Titans were 7-9 in the previous season before Wisenhunt arrived. In his first year as the Titans’ coach, they regressed to 2-14. After the Titans got off to a 1-6 start in his second season, the Titans relieved Wisenhunt as its head coach.
That leads this back to Caldwell, the no one in Detroit wanted. As the Lions head coach, Caldwell guided the Lions to two postseason berths in four years. While they were unsuccessful in winning a playoff game, the Lions finished 2nd in the NFC North in three of his four seasons with Caldwell as head coach. Then at the behest of then-GM Bob Quinn, the Lions fired Caldwell.
He left the Lions with a 36-28 record, making him the winningest coach in franchise history. After Caldwell’s dismissal, the Lions ushered in the Matt Patricia era. Quinn, who had a relationship with Patricia from their Patriots days, had his guy.
And it was the worst move in franchise history, a move that doesn’t require further discussion. However, people won’t forget that Patricia coached the Lions to 13-29-1 in two and a half seasons.
So what’s the point of this?
The point is if the Lions and its fanbase initially got their way with Wisenhunt as head coach instead of Caldwell, the results could have mirrored Patricia’s results in Detroit. Off the simple fact that things didn’t go as planned, the Lions ended up with a four-year run of “watchable” football.
Now think about this and apply it to Jared Goff.
Don’t think for one second that Jared Goff doesn’t see the hate. That is adding more to that chip on his shoulder.
The 2021 NFL season is about five months away. That’s when Jared Goff will take his first snap as a Detroit Lion. As mentioned above, Goff is just like Jim Caldwell.
Lions fans did not want Jim Caldwell as head coach. Nonetheless, he was the coach instrumental in the franchise’s recent best memories.
Jared Goff is about to walk in those same footsteps. And hopefully accomplish be just as successful, if not better. Goff is coming from a Los Angeles Rams team that overlooked and underappreciated his contributions. Besides being a two-time Pro Bowler, he led the Rams to their first Super Bowl appearance since the “Greatest Show on Turf” era. That season (2018) he threw for 4,688 yards and 32 touchdowns. Had his Rams team not faced the juggernaut known as the New England Patriots, he’d have a Super Bowl ring.
His narrative would be different.
Instead, people made him the scapegoat for a Rams team that underperformed over the last couple of years. He now comes to the Motor City with a chip on his shoulder. And to his credit, he didn’t insult the fans intelligence in his introductory press conference.
He acknowledged his feelings on the trade to Detroit for Matthew Stafford. He mentioned that the chip is on his shoulder.
Think about this.
Goff is 3-3 in the postseason (2-3 as a starter). The Rams traded him for Stafford, who they consider an upgrade, and Stafford is 0-3 in the postseason.
In the end, the Jared Goff experiment in Detroit could be a complete failure. Luckily for the Lions, they can get out of his deal after this season (or next) if he flops. And they can do it without hurting their cap space significantly. Regardless, history is on the side of Goff regarding him working out in Detroit. Lions fans just have to give him a chance. He could shock them just like Caldwell did.