With Jim Caldwell Fired Is It Time For Peyton Manning, Player-Coach?

I’m not sure what the Indianapolis Colts were thinking when they fired Jim Caldwell.

In his three years as coach of the Colts, he went 14-2 in 2009, 10-6 in 2010 and 2-14 in 2011. Yes, Indianapolis was terrible this year without Peyton Manning under center, but just two short years ago, with #18 healthy, the Colts won the AFC and played in Super Bowl XLIV. In 2010, Manning threw for a career-high 450 completions and 4,700 yards to go with 33 touchdowns.

The Colts relied so heavily on what Manning could do that they were lost without him in 2011. It’s not surprising that Indianapolis wen’t 2-14 this season.

Jim Caldwell may have gotten a raw deal in Indy, but a 2-14 season didn't help his cause.

I don’t necessarily agree with the firing, but Caldwell’s last season left them with a predicament on their hands.

The Colts will be bringing in a new general manager and head coach, who will have to deal with drafting Andrew Luck No. 1 overall.  Of course, they don’t have to draft Luck, but all the reports and indications say that the Stanford quarterback will be the No. 1 pick, and it’s the right move to make for the future of the organization. There’s no correct answer to what should be done with the situation. Do you give up on the last few years of one of the best quarterbacks of all-time?

Here’s a crazy idea: make Peyton Manning the head coach. He’s essentially the offensive coordinator already, and he knows the organization as well, if not better than anyone currently on staff. He’s as smart on the offensive side of the ball as any player or coach in the league, and being a quarterback, he’s seen every defense imaginable.

He would admittedly need a strong defensive coordinator, especially for during practice, but on game day, everything goes through Peyton anyways. Why not make him head coach too?

peyton_manningIf you were to give him the head coaching title too, it would inevitably make him more invested in not only his personal success but the success of the team as well. From a health perspective, Manning should not be playing after his skills have diminished. If he’s not on his A-game, he’s more susceptible to a hit that could severely damage his quality of life. Yes, that’s true for any player on any given play, but more so for a quarterback who has had multiple neck injuries.

If he knows whenever he’s done playing that he can just transition into the other part of his role, as head coach, he may be more inclined to call it quits before it’s too late.

Personally, I think Manning has another two years in him before he should retire. Having Andrew Luck sit for two years, learning from one of the best ever, before taking over the starting role while continuing to learn from Manning would be the perfect situation for the Indianapolis Colts.

So why not give it a shot? Coming off a 2-14 season, they’ve got nothing to lose.

About Chris Callaway

Chris lives and works in La Crosse, Wisconsin, working primarily on-air while doing some writing as well. He is a part-owner of the Green Bay Packers, a Milwaukee Brewers die-hard, learning hockey while supporting the Minnesota Wild, and is also a fan of the Wisconsin Badgers and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Follow him on twitter @ccallaway33.


  1. It's an intriguing idea, but it simply could never work. First off, there are just too many logisitical issues a head coach has to deal. Peyton Manning would never want to deal with those, nor could he and still prepare individually like he wants to prepare. You're right: he's essentially the offensive coordinator anyway, which won't change as long as he's starting, but being a player-coach in football is much, much different than it would be in basketball. Neither could really work in this day and age because of the media spotlight and demands, but it would be most difficult to do in football.

  2. Nico the Sad says:

    In a perfect world, Jerod….. in a perfect world.

    In a less than perfect world, Peyton will retire, stay on for one to two less than perfect seasons, or be traded. It's a damn shame, but in the immortal words of someone FAR more intelligent than I…..

    "It is what it is, and it do what it do"
    – Rasheed Wallace

    ……………… That pause was me "Tebowing"


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