When A December Coaching Change Sparked A Super Bowl Run

December 12th, 2022

Veteran offensive coach Jim Caldwell.

Joe sat maybe 15 feet from Bucs coach Todd Bowles after the game when he was asked about any changes to coaches. Bowles said it was “way too late” for such a drastic move.

Ordinarily, Joe would agree. But there is a precedent. The Baltimore Crows canned its offensive coordinator in December of 2012, which sparked the team to make a winning Super Bowl run.

Joe has to give loyal reader @theAutumnWindz credit for tipping Joe off. Joe double-checked the intel and it is true!

Baltimore coach John Harbaugh grew frustrated by his stalled offense as the postseason approached. Harbaugh fired then-offensive coordinator (S)cam Cameron and replaced him with former Colts head coach Jim Caldwell. The move was made on Dec. 10, 2012.

Today is Dec. 12.

So what did the Crows do when Caldwell, a seasoned playcaller took over? They ran the table ending with a win over San Francisco to win the Super Bowl behind quarterback Joe Flacco.

Caldwell is a damn good coach. The last time he was a head coach he had three winning seasons in four years in Detroit — in Detroit! He got tossed aside after the 2017 season following consecutive 9-7 finishes. Only now are the Lions starting to show life again.

So if you are asking if Joe would hire Caldwell, who last coached with Miami in 2019 before he had to step away due to medical issues, to take over for failing Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, Joe has only a two-word response.

Hell yes!

And it really wouldn’t be like Caldwell is foreign to the Bucs coaching staff. When Caldwell was Colts head coach, his offensive coordinator was Clyde Christensen, the current Bucs quarterback coach. And Caldwell also had a guy in Indianapolis as a senior offensive assistant. His name is Tom Moore, the current Bucs’ senior offensive assistant.

Joe isn’t saying Caldwell, who will turn 68 next month, would transform the Bucs into a Super Bowl winner this week. But Joe damn sure believes he would improve the offense from its current drek under Leftwich.

If Joe was a high-ranking Bucs suit, he’d be on the phone with Caldwell this morning asking how quickly he could get to Tampa.

61 Responses to “When A December Coaching Change Sparked A Super Bowl Run”

  1. Brian Says:

    Joe – was Caldwell already on the Ravens staff?

  2. Darin Says:

    Caldwell or caldnotsowell are both better options.

  3. SufferingSince76 Says:

    Makes too much sense, Joe. Therefore, it will not happen. The Glazers should demand it, but they won’t. Bowles is not head coach material. Leftover? No effing way he was the brains behind the offense the last two years. If he was, he went stupid in the offseason.

  4. #99 the Big fella Says:

    I swear I will not spend another dime on the bucs or watch another game until they fire Byron. This is absolutely insane that it hasn’t been done yet..If Bowles wants to save his job he better do it today.

  5. VATom Says:

    Yeah, let’s be honest. I can’t see them progressing under Lefty. So almost anything woukd be an improvement. What’s wrong with Christianson? He can call plays. Anyone. What’s Brady’s kid up to? He must play Madden. He could probably call plays better than Bye Ron. I would rather have seen Leftwich succeed. I really would have. But I admit I cannot believe how bad this offense looks. This is historic bad Bucs offense. How is this possible? Its gotta be a reflection of Byron’s ego and not being willing to adjust? And if it isnt Byron refusing to adapt then it’s an full scale indication this whole organization is failing from Head Coach down. And that is just disheartening. Would’a liked to have seen Brady look really good on his way out of here. Instead he is going to be wearing the classic Bucs Publix brown paper helmet with the eye holes cout out on his way out of town. What a shame.

  6. Kent Says:

    you assigned credit for this bold move to the wrong Harbaugh Joe. John is the coach of the Ravens. Jim is the one who owns Ohio State

  7. adam from ny Says:

    lovin’ this one joeski…

    pull the freaky deaky move to change the team’s current trajectory

  8. adam from ny Says:

    no point in going to the playoffs “as is”…

    if we can even get there “as is”..

    “as was” is more like it…

    as we was in 2020-2021

  9. FairMinded Says:

    I’m all for it

  10. adam from ny Says:


    it’s a guy playing “eeny meeny mini moe” with BA’s play sheet

  11. Waterboy Says:

    Any chance Bucs have of even getting to playoffs is dependent on firing Leftwich. And they need more than a play caller. They need a new set of eyes and ears to recalibrate this completely disfunctional offense

  12. HC Grover Says:

    Sounds good to me.

  13. Jeff Says:

    That’s Clueless Todd! Duuuhhhh-yup!

  14. Statistically Insignificant Reader Says:

    Why not. This circle jerk shet show is excruciating to watch.

  15. FortMyersDave Says:

    Lets do it! Fire Leftwich yesterday!!!!!!!

  16. ViSyl Says:

    A playoff spot means absolutely nothing in this division, even more because, as it is, we will get crushed in the first playoff game.

  17. Richard Dickson Says:

    I think the only thing that will wake up the Glazers is a ton of empty seats this Sunday.

  18. Kentucky Buc Says:

    This all assumes Bowles doesn’t have his hands in the offense.

  19. Arn platz Says:

    In addition to a new OC the team needs hunger drive and heart which seems to be sporadic throughout the game, no consistency (good consistency)

  20. Jeffs Dad Says:

    Sure but itll never happen thats admiting a mistake and toad bowels dont admit them

  21. Cobraboy Says:

    I’d just sh!tcan Leftwoch and make Clyde Christenson/Tom Brady the interim OCs.

    I really don’t want to see a curb-stomping for the home team in the first round…and IF the Bucs win the division (which I doubt), that is what will happen under the current leadership.

    This is the most disappointing season in Bucs history.

  22. BucBoy Says:

    Could it be a possibility of the Bucs to replace Bowles with Sean Peyton?

  23. Your Mom Says:

    I always liked Caldwell as a coach. I was even hoping he would be hired here in Tampa.

    He’s a Dungy guy too.

    And, Dec 12 v. 10, but also there’s one more game at the end of the season now than they had in 2012.

  24. NEfan Says:

    Kentucky, I’m with you. He said he learned from the Jets he has to be more hands on in everything. I think Bowels is the real issue. His D was less than anything special yesterday. Why does this ST’s coach still have a job? Bucs fans had to endure 12 weeks of Darden while Thompkins sat on the practice squad??? Joe does anyone ever interview Licht? Or is he in hiding with BA?

  25. Ultra ClodHopper Says:

    It doesn’t matter. Bowles will tie one hand behind the back of any OC anyways. He’s not any better at his job than Leftwich is of his.

  26. Beej Says:

    I keep reading everywhere that the Bucs are a very talented team and are underperforming. I’m not so sure our roster is that good, as a whole. Front 7 has gone from the best, to merely above average last year, to division 2 college THIS year. O-line can’t open a hole against a decent team, tight end play is …. meh. I could go on

  27. tampabayallday Says:

    Abolish every single wr screen they got in the play book that garbage makes me sick

  28. ClwJB Says:

    Head in the sand Todd isn’t canning his buddy

    They will get fired in unison

  29. Manny Says:

    For one i dont care what bowles says. Its absolutely never to late for coaching changes. It cant get any worse than this and two, the ravens made that turn around and won the super bowl, due to ray lewis announcing he was retiring ahead of the playoffs and he just cane back from a long injury. The team ended up playing inspired play for ray and joe was also in a contract year, with a great offense. Everything kind of clicked together but im sure caldwell did make a bit of a difference. Im def leaning more on ray lewis retirement announcement. Im a life long ravens fan, way back when people would talk crap about them all the time and say they suck. Now they have fans all across the country. People i went to school with laughed at me for wearing a diff ravens shirt for two weeks straight when they wont their first super bowl and now some of them are raavens fans. Thats just band wagon nonsense.

    The point is its never too late for a coaching change. Hell i would love arians in any one possible. If he doesnt want to overstep, let him take the OC spot and if his health keeps him from being on the field, let him call the plays frim the box.

  30. DungyDance Says:

    Asking a head coach who has demonstrated cowardice on multiple occasions to make such a bold move is quite a stretch. But it is an uplifting thought for a gloomy Monday morning.

  31. BucsFanSince76 Says:

    No the most disappointing season was Sam Wyches’ final season in 1995 when he famously said As you write your ugly headlines, just don’t misprint — that’s 5-dash-2,” Tampa Bay Coach Sam Wyche said. “I can see the expressions on some of your faces that that was not good enough. There was a time I could remember fans, and some of you, saying to me: Just win, just do it somehow.’ . . . Maybe it’s a sign that we’ve moved to another level now that you expect us to win big.” Buccos finished that campaign at 7-9. Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks were rookies and Malcolm Glazer was a rookie owner.

  32. Frank Pillow Says:

    Keeping digging that grave for yourself Todd!

  33. AMI_Chris Says:

    Rich Kotite, er, Todd Bowles has a five-year contract. He’s not thinking short-term.

  34. adam from ny Says:

    it’s playing out for carolina or atlanta to be huge end of the season games due to coaching deficiencies at one buc…

    at least one game could be for all the marbles.

  35. adam from ny Says:

    the fact that bowles thought he had matt gay or jose borales as his kicker to go for a 55 yarder to start the game was pure buffoonery…

    it’s like he was on the sideline thinking to himself:

    “the fans and media think i’m a scaredy cat, well i’ll show them…i will go for this obtusely long field goal with my weak kickers leg, 5 minutes into the game, and show them all”

  36. adam from ny Says:

    that was the beginning of the end right there…

    day done…game over…

    everyone quietly shook their head around said dude at that point

  37. Wokeizdunn Says:

    Unlike 20212, firing at black coach at any level raises eyebrows, even if it is justified…as it would be in this case for either TB or BL…or both. But the Glazers have never worked that way. And they are too gunshy to make bold moves. I get sick to my stomach when I hear how great JL is as a GM…how it he went and got Brady. Well, Brady wanted to be here, and they offered him all the say/decisions he asked for to come here–which is what he wasn’t getting in NE. Brady is also why ME13 CG14, NS90, LF7, and others signed on/stayed/took paycuts to get a SB. Now we are just JL and Gabbert and Trask left after this season. Firing the coaches wouldn’t do any good here anyway, because soon, many big names will not want to play here. 1980s-90s here we come. Fan base: Back to 2009 and years of half empty stadiums again.

  38. BucHead588 Says:

    This isn’t Leftwich this is Bradys offense looks just like the Pats short throws we don’t have run after catch WRs though We need BA back you can see this offense come alive when they throw for more then 3 yards a throw 2min offense is evidence

  39. Marc Coppola Says:

    Only if team leadership had any balls….

  40. MadMax Says:

    I remember that. They also switched up positions on the oline using the same players, and the oline vastly improved.

  41. Goatfarmer Says:

    Yes. Caldwell. Great idea.

  42. Pewter Power Says:

    You don’t hire a guy off the street with like four games left in the season because it worked out once in the history of football. There are 3-4 legitimate playcallers on hand that could run this same exact playbook better than BL

  43. Anthony Says:

    First off players have to play and not make constant mistakes. With that being said the offense is way to predictable. They can just run 40 times a game because they would probably get 40 yards. Once again no hurry up to speak of no sense of urgency. I don’t believe the Bucs will win the south. No playoffs this year unless the offense adjust to what works. Bowles doesn’t want to burn players out just like the timeouts. Well in 4 weeks they can all have a long winters nap

  44. Joshua porter Says:

    Maybe bruce has it in him to coach the 4 games and the 1 we might if we backdoor the playoffs

  45. Bojim Says:

    Way too late in the season for Caldwell. Move someone already on the staff. It’s probably too late for that too but at least BL would be gone.

  46. Darin Says:

    It’s not too late in the season to change anything with this offensive offense. It can’t get worse

  47. NEfan Says:

    Winning just enough to keep their jobs.

  48. orlbucfan Says:

    I recall when Clyde Christiansen was so bad, he was one of the reasons Tony Dungy got fired. You Joes, remember that one?

  49. BuckyPhillips Says:

    Bowles and Brady got to go! Brady can’t hit the long ball!!!!!!

  50. NEfan Says:

    Bucktoothphillip@ you’re right, freaking Brady should have jumped off the bench and tackled Brady and sacked 3rd string Brock Now League MVP Candidate Purdy.

  51. NEfan Says:


  52. Bucamania Says:

    Ultra ClodHopper Says:

    It doesn’t matter. Bowles will tie one hand behind the back of any OC anyways. He’s not any better at his job than Leftwich is of his.

    Nailed it!

  53. Rod Munch Says:

    The Bucs aren’t going to do a damn thing.

    First, they’re not going to dump a guy that Arians groomed for a HC job and wasted many years on. Credit to Arians for nearly getting that idiot the HC job in Jacksonville, but that’s where Arians should have just called it a day and gave up on the idiot Leftwich, when he was so stupid he turned down the job because they refused to give him his hand picked GM. The idiot Leftwich actually believes he’s such a great coach that he’d have his pick of the litter next year. When you’re dealing with someone that delusional – there’s no hope.

    Second, the Glazers are trying to dump Manchester United for over $7-billion dollars right now – and the last thing they’re going to do is fire an ‘up and coming young black coach’ – if they did so, we know exactly how the media would cover it, and how they’d tried to make the Glazers out to be klan leaders (despite the fact the Glazers have hired more black head coaches than any else in football). No, the Glazers aren’t going to do anything that even hints at controversial until after that sale is done.

    Also, that isn’t a reflection on Bowles at all, if you heard him rip the woke reporters earlier this year when they tried to make the game vs Pittsburgh a game about two black headcoaches, if you heard that, you know Bowles isn’t on the woke bandwagon.

  54. Rod Munch Says:

    Ultra ClodHopper Says:

    It doesn’t matter. Bowles will tie one hand behind the back of any OC anyways. He’s not any better at his job than Leftwich is of his.


    Bowles was forced to take Leftwich as part of the gig, he had zero say in it, and he has zero say in the offense, outside of saying generic crap like, ‘we got to run the ball’ and ‘we can’t turn the ball over’.

    Over the years Arians told us what was coming with Leftwich, people just had to pay attention and read between the lines. In particular, early on with Jameis, Arians said publicly, multiple times, that Leftwich can’t be so predictable and so conservative. Arians was there, in game, to force Leftwich to mix things up, and to be aggressive, but it was always obvious once Leftwich got his shot, he was going to be ultra conservative, and ultra predictable. The Steelers game was peak Leftwich, and that would be what he’d run 100% of the time if he was a head coach. In fact, if anything, I bet Bowles is the one telling Leftwich to open things up.

  55. bucs4life Says:

    We’ll never get someone like Caldwell. Why would he want to take part in a franchise — and fan base — held hostage by Bruce Arians and his coaching tree? Why would he take part in a blaming party against Tom Brady? He’s not nuts, unlike some people.

  56. Micah Says:

    So y’all giving Brady a pass? His arm strength looks weak. His accuracy is way below his usual. Are we now finally watching him fall off that proverbial cliff???

  57. Browsing from DC Says:

    The NFL is largely a “copycat league”. When a team is doing something very well, others try to emulate it. It’s been that way for a long time. Unfortunately, we have stubborn “I’ll do it my way” coaches.

    Watching San Fran run a beautifully crafted offensive game plan (with a rookie making his first start against a supposed top 5 or 10 defense) tells you all you need to know about the impact of a good coordinator. Sure, they have some stellar weapons like McCaffrey, Deebo, etc but when they get 5 yards before they get touched, that’s run scheme.

    Open receivers? 49ers had em. Ours were in lock down mode with the exception of the Evans blown coverage, TD then not a TD.

    I remember one play in particular. Julio Jones caught one of those too-often-used quick side throws/screens. He was forced out about 4 yards shy of a first down. Now it’s 3rd and manageable….and Jones tosses the ball to the ref and is pulled to the sideline to watch the 3rd down play (they failed). Wtf isn’t JJ in on 3rd down and 4 or 5? Asinine.

    Cr*p like that is why Joe is right. It’s not too late for a coaching change but it may be too late for the Bucs if they wait another week. Count Bengals as a loss right now but the rest of the games should be winnable with (redundant) better play calling.

  58. HA-HA-HA Says:

    I remember Ray Rhoads being dumped by Green Bay after one year.
    I doubt the ‘assers will care.
    Maybe they’ll cash out. Didn’t the sell the Soccer team?

  59. BOAT Says:

    Arians somehow managed to convince the Bucs to have the worst head coach in the league and the worst offensive coordinator in the league at the same time. Arians missed his true calling in life. He should have been a politician.

  60. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I do not believe we will get more than an appearance in the playoffs unless we fire Bowels. I like Cadwell and think he would have been great to have years ago.

    Replacing Leftwich now? It might make a difference if it’s Caldwell.


    BucBoy Says:
    December 12th, 2022 at 7:49 am
    Could it be a possibility of the Bucs to replace Bowles with Sean Peyton?


    Replace Bowels with Peyton now. Replace Leftwich with Caldwell directly after (or promote Christiansen).

    Peyten is an offensive genius…and hiring him now might just convince Bady to play longer…because there is no way he plays again under Bowels and Leftwich.

    Plus…the thought of dominating the Saints with their former head coach….

  61. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    orlbucfan Says:
    December 12th, 2022 at 10:27 am
    “I recall when Clyde Christiansen was so bad, he was one of the reasons Tony Dungy got fired. You Joes, remember that one?”

    I recall…I also remember Dungy later saying it was the wrong thing to do.