Indianapolis Colts: Jim Caldwell's Case for Head Coach of the Year

Lucas WeickCorrespondent IDecember 23, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 19: Jim Caldwell of the Indianapolis Colts talks with Referee Mike Carey #94 and Tim Podraza #47 against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)
Scott Boehm/Getty Images

As the regular season begins to wind down, the Indianapolis Colts find themselves in a playoff push mode for the first time in many years.

People say injuries are no excuse. Well, in the Colts' case they are; you can't overcome them all, and they have most certainly cost the team a couple wins this season.

Just take a look at some of the names that have missed significant time over the course of this year: Dallas Clark, Gary Brackett, Joseph Addai, Austin Collie, Jerraud Powers, Clint Session, Pierre Garcon, Melvin Bullit and Bob Sanders (not really a surprise).

You can't deny that all these injuries have taken their toll on the team, and they are not as good as they have been in years past because of it.

Yet, the Colts still find themselves with a chance to make the playoffs after a strong team effort to beat division rival Jacksonville, and now can win out to make the playoffs.

And head coach Jim Caldwell is right in the middle of it. He has told his team that the playoffs started last week against the Jaguars and that they need to continue to win.

Caldwell even showed a bit of emotion last week, a rare site indeed from the usually soft spoken coach. He was yelling at his players and telling the refs what he thought of their calls.

I think that is good for the team; all these years under Tony Dungy and Caldwell's first, which was a mirror image of Dungy's coaching prowess, have always been more of a relaxed coaching strategy.

Now Caldwell is feeling the sense of urgency and has instilled that into his team. And the team is responding to this new coaching attitude, posting back to back wins over two divisional opponents, knowing that if they just keep on winning, they will make the playoffs.

A lot of people have said that being the head coach of the Colts is the easiest job in the NFL, having Peyton Manning and all those weapons on offense. Well that may have been true for the past eight years, but most certainly not this year, much in part due to injuries, and Caldwell has done a great job of holding this team together in the face of such adversity.

Team President Bill Polian had this to say: "Regardless of the outcome (of this season), we went to the Super Bowl last year and won 16 games. Regardless of what our final record is this year, Jim Caldwell has done the best coaching job of anybody in the National Football League this year to keep this team afloat given everything that's gone on. But they're believers and they have big hearts."

And I too, believe that Caldwell has done the best coaching job this year, and for that he deserves to be Head Coach of the Year.