INDIANAPOLIS—For most of his Sunday press conference, Jim Caldwell tried to play off that things were not too different Sunday from his other games with the Colts.
"My routine is the same as it was, has been here for the last seven years," said Caldwell, who unlike those times was now front and center in charge of the team.
"I've had a few of them in my lifetime, you can probably tell, I've got grey hair, the rest of it that's there, but most of it was gone," said Caldwell, who took off his hat to reference the statement. "I've had a few fourth-and-one calls in my life."
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But unlike ones in the past, the consequences of such help Caldwell to his first game as the Indianapolis Colts' head coach, as his team squeezed by Jacksonville 14-12.
Officially it was the 22nd coaching debut in the Colts' history, dating back to their time in the All American Football conference. Here are some stats from coaching debuts since the team began play in 1947.
The Record-Caldwell's win puts new Colts coaches at 10-12 all time when starting off their career. Cecil Isbell was the first coach in Colts' history and won his debut 16-7 over the Brooklyn Dodgers on September 7, 1947 when the Colts were in the All-American Football Conference.
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Just Like Dungy-Many on the Colts said that Caldwell's mannerisms and procedures are similar to the coach he's succeeded-Tony Dungy. At least in their opening games, the two were similar. Dungy debuted against the Jaguars on the road and was able to get out of Jacksonville with a 28-25 victory. That's about how Caldwell's debut went, only his cushion for success was a point less.
Legends Have Rough StartOn the Baltimore side of Colts' history, Weeb Ewbank and Don Shula are the two pillers of leadership during the franchise's glory days of the late '50s and early '60s. Yet each of them lost in their first games as coach of the franchise. Ewbank was blanked 48-0 against the LA Rams at home on September 26, 1958, while Shula fell to the New York Giants in Baltimore on September 15, 1963. It didn't really affect their careers, as Ewbank led the Colts to two NFL championships in 1958 and 1959 while Shula took them to four division championships and an appearance in Super Bowl III.
Middle Ground-While many people just know the Colts for the success thanks to the last decade, the franchise has had its struggles. Five coaches, in fact, made their Colts' head coaching debuts in the middle of the season, most recently Rick Venturi, who took over from Ron Meyer in the middle of the Colts 1-15 1991 season.
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Double The Fun-Ted Marchibroda has had the chance to coach the Colts twice-and in two cities none the less. He the only one to do that in franchise history, and he also is the only won to win in both of his coaching debuts. In 1975, Marchibroda took the Colts into Soldier Field in Chicago and beat the Bears 35-7. When he returned in 1992 to try and bring the team back to respectability, he helped start things off right with a 14-3 over Cleveland at the Hoosier Dome.
A Win Is Super-There is one thing that a win can mean for Caldwell, in accordance with Colts history. The team has two Super Bowl championships, one in 1971 and another in 2007. Each of those coaches-Don McCafferty of the Super Bowl V Colts and Dungy of the Super Bowl XLI team-won their opening game. Yeah, its a bit of a stretch, but the won-loss record doesn't lie.