Jim Caldwell having to work under Frank Reich is a slap in the face

Jim Caldwell

Jim Caldwell
Photography: Getty Images

Carolina Panthers — who are owned by the man who claims they are trying to end the “old boys’ network” within the NFL despite hiring a white head coach instead of a qualified black one — have a new coaching staff led by a trio Frank Reich, Dom Kapari, and Jim Caldwell. The hierarchy at Carolina is a downer on black coaches across the NFL — but Caldwell in particular.

Notice the people who celebrate when black coaches are hired as coordinators and senior assistants instead of head coaches as if accepting these sometimes lateral moves and/or subordinate roles for which they are often overqualified is some kind of promotion.

There’s a lot going on. And on days like today, you’ll see it all over your timelines.

At some point, Reich, Capers and Caldwell will be in an office somewhere talking football. Inevitably, the Super Bowl will be discussed. And when those predictable debates take place, they will speak to the plight of Caldwell and other blacks who have coached in this league. In one chair will be Reich — the head coach — who has a Super Bowl ring from his time as the offensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles from the 2017 season. In the other will be Capers — a senior defensive assistant — who was the defensive coordinator the last time Green Bay The Packers won the Lombardi Trophy. And then there’s Caldwell — a senior assistant who will help on offense, defense and special teams — who has two Super Bowl rings as a coordinator and more combined regular-season and playoff wins as a head coach (64) than Capers (49) and Reich ( 41).

This is the part of the story when you should realize that the most accomplished and successful coach in the room is the black one, but still has to report to a white coach with an inferior resume.

And people wonder why the league has a class-action lawsuit against her for “alleged” racist hiring practices.

“At the end of the day, the desire is to take this team to a higher level. To me, that’s winning a championship, that’s winning a playoff game, and that’s winning a Super Bowl.” That’s what former Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn said when he fired Caldwell from his last position as head coach in 2018.

Mediocrity abounds

Keep in mind that Caldwell had a .563 percent winning percentage in his four-year tenure, which was better than any Lions coach in the last 60-plus years. He also led Detroit to the playoffs twice and won 11 games in his first season. Since Caldwell was fired, the Lions have gone 6-10, 3-12-1, 5-11, 3-13-1 and 9-8 under Matt Patricia and Dan Campbell — that’s 26-54-2.

This is the “moving of the goalposts” that black coaches have to deal with.

Because of this, Brian Flores had to find a job assistant with the Pittsburgh Steelers after being fired as the Miami Dolphins’ big man, now working as the Minnesota Vikings’ defensive coordinator since he can’t be rehired as a head coach. That’s why Steve Wilks had to accept the defensive coordinator job with the San Francisco 49ers after Panthers owner David Tepper was anything but implied that it would be impossible for him to be elevated from his temporary role despite excessive expectations. And that’s why a Colts legend like Reggie Wayne — and other white and black assistants — had to watch Jim Irsay pull Jeff from ESPN on Saturday to be the interim head coach in Indianapolis after Reich was fired, instead of giving it to someone already on the staff.

It’s ridiculous how flagrantly the game is rigged and I didn’t even mention it Houston Texans – until now.

Because not only is Jim Caldwell working for a franchise where he’s the most successful coach on a staff where he’s been surpassed, but he also has to deal with the fact that Josh McCown is his new colleague. McCown — in his first NFL coaching job — was hired as Panthers new backs coach. In case his name sounds familiar, that’s because it is it was speculated that the Texans wanted to hire McCown for the head coaching job last year, despite his only high school assistant quarterback coaching experience. But, Lawsuit by Brian Flores against the league, he “allegedly” played a role in the team selecting Lovie Smith over him — ultimately becoming the second black coach the team hired and fired after one season in back-to-back years. This is the kind of stuff the feds build RICO cases on.

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