Let us honor a classy man

By Tom Quiner

Jim Caldwell loses with class.

Jim Caldwell (right) loses with class.

The stakes were high.

The season was on the line.

The Detroit Lions led the Dallas Cowboys 20-17 in the fourth quarter of their play off game. The loser goes home.

The Lions had the ball, and they were moving towards a potentially clinching score. With a third down and one yard to go on the Cowboys 46 yard line, Lions quarterback, Matthew Stafford, whipped a pass toward his receiver, Brandon Pettigrew.

What happened next cost the Lions the game. An official threw a yellow flag against the Cowboys, which would give the Lions the ball deep in Cowboys’ territory. As we watched the replay which clearly showed the infraction, all of a sudden, the officials changed their mind and said ‘never mind, there was no infraction.’

The Cowboys got the ball back and went on to score the winning touchdown.

To fuel the ensuing controversy, the official who changed the call had been photographed on Jerry Jones’ (owner of the Cowboys) party bus last summer. Are they buddies?


Detroit Lions fans have a pretty good reason to be bitter about this loss.

Here is the bright spot in this whole affair: Lions coach Jim Caldwell responded with total class.

If Barack Obama had been coach, is there any doubt that he would have been blaming the officiating for the loss? Oh … and he’d be blaming George W. Bush for it. After all, he blamed Bush for:

• a lack of fiscal discipline.

• for putting off tough decisions.

• for causing deficits because of his tax cuts.

• for the Gulf Oil Spill.

• for lousy regulatory policy.

• for the Prescription Drug Bill.

• for an overall bad economy.

• lack of job creation.

• for failure to recognize Europe’s leading role in the world.

The blamer-in-chief would have said: “The previous president hailed from Texas, creating a climate of fear for officials who wished to penalize the Dallas Cowboys or any other Texan team.”

Lions coach, Jim Caldwell, who graduated from the University of Iowa, sucked it up and didn’t place blame:

“To lose it also on somewhat of a controversial issue, the one thing that I told them is that we’re not going to ever make any excuses about, or creating any crutches for wins or loses, and in this particular case there will be no exception.”

End of story.

Jim Caldwell is a class act. Way to hold your head high, Jim, and remind us that there really are some good role models in the NFL.

I hope the president was watching.



  1. Roger Rowland on January 6, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    Tom – This is a good post. In todays’ world, hardly anyone wants to take responsibility for anything. Things like this should get more recognition. This coach is obviously a real stand-up guy.

  2. Dennis Wagoner on January 6, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    Jim Caldwell coached here in Indianapolis sandwiched between Tony Dungy and Chuck Pagano. Three class acts right in a row – all of them competitors and sportsmen at all times.

    • quinersdiner on January 6, 2015 at 6:10 pm

      You know I’m a longstanding Colts fan, Dennis, going back to the Unitas years. And you’re right, the Colts have enjoyed some really classy coaches the last ten years.

  3. oarubio on January 7, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    Of course the President was watching. He said had he been in football, he could have been Jim Caldwell… or something like that.

    • quinersdiner on January 7, 2015 at 4:41 pm

      Mr. Obama is no Jim Caldwell. Perhaps it is the difference between having lived in Illinois instead of Iowa (no offense).