While there are those who focus on the fact that Dungy "only" won the Super Bowl once, Caldwell has some awfully big shoes to fill. Dungy was at the helm of 10 straight playoff teams, and he won at least 12 games in the last six seasons with the Colts.
What we do know about Caldwell is that he is older than Dungy, but only by a few months. He's like Dungy in that he's calmer than the Bill Cowher/Jon Gruden overly-excitable type. Having worked very closely with Dungy for the past seven seasons -- six in Indianapolis -- one can assume he'll have many of the same coaching philosophies and traits. Obviously, having worked as a highly-placed coach in Indianapolis' prolific offense means he can't be a total buffoon. Of course, it's hard to screw up with the personnel they have.
Before he entered the NFL via Dungy, Caldwell was the head coach at Wake Forest for eight seasons, and the overall record was not pretty in the least. He compiled a 26-63 record, making a bowl game only once. That might look ugly, but let's remember Wake was not exactly a football school during Caldwell's tenure, and it's possible he's just a poor recruiter. In the NFL, he doesn't have to worry about that. For one, he has already been dealt a hand with a tremendous amount of talent. Also, you have to remember he's coaching for one of the most respected personnel guys in the business, Bill Polian.
In Caldwell's opening presser, he was respectful to Dungy, Polian, and the Colts front office as a whole. He initially read from a script and showed little personality, but then showed a lighter side when he explained why:
"It's to make sure my first press conference isn't immortalized as one of those beer commercials."The Colts, meanwhile, wanted to make sure people didn't think this was a bad decision -- you know, handing over this incredibly successful team to someone with zero NFL head coaching experience, not to mention his colossal failure at the collegiate level.
"I emphasize this was not something out of convenience," Irsay said of Caldwell. "This was about getting the best guy."I think many people would beg to differ with that statement. I don't know if the Colts just didn't want to go through an interview process, or if they have seen enough behind the scenes to really believe he's a better hire than anyone else out there. While a big name hire isn't always the best route, it's possible the Colts could have lured Bill Cowher from CBS, even though he's claimed he doesn't want back into coaching.
Now, we'll never know. Bring on the Jim Caldwell era. Let's hope it's significantly more successful than it was in Winston Salem.