Dear Jim Caldwell

An open letter to Detroit Lions Head Coach Jim Caldwell from an average Lions fan.

Dear Coach Caldwell,

  • I watch every game on TV.
  • I try to attend one or two home games each year.
  • I have friends that have season tickets.
  • I grew up in this area and have been a fan for all of my life.

At your introductory press conference at Ford Field, I listened to every word, every idea, every concept and philosophical thought you had. I was very impressed and was absolutely sold that you were the correct person to lead the Lions to success. Even in the face of losses, I was convinced your high character and discipline would lead, eventually, to wins on the field.

As the past few years have gone by, I have become increasingly frustrated with a lot of behavior, but I’m going to focus on just one aspect in this letter, that being your communication with the fans. I will not get into the game day decision making, personnel decisions or other football activities.

I listen and watch your press conferences after each game as well as the weekly press conferences on Monday. I hear the annoyance and condescension in your voice as reporters ask question after question. I hear your avoidance as certain questions are asked. I hear arrogance in other answers. You may think the reporters are stupid and ask stupid questions and are a giant waste of your time. In fact, you have directly said as much.

What I want you to know, Coach Caldwell, is that when you are speaking to the reporters you are ALSO speaking to me. The writers for the Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, MLive, Oakland Press and other publications are asking their questions in order to disseminate your answers to their readers. And coach, do you know who their readers are? They are Lions fans like me and tons of others.

When you are asked if there is a change of philosophy or a change in schemes based on the injuries on your defense, please know that this is something I would like asked. It is a reasonable question. When your answer is simply to berate, embarrass and demean the questioner, remember that you are also berating me. You are being condescending and obnoxious to me and all Lions fans that are listening. You are sometimes asked about Deandre Levy’s health. He didn’t play in the last game. What is his status? What is the injury? Did he practice? Did he show up at the facility at all? What is the prognosis? These are all reasonable questions that paying customers and fans would like asked. Questions I would ask if given the chance, but your responses are insufficient and infuriating. “Check the report” is simply not good enough and quite frankly, offensive.

You didn’t like those questions? Tough break, sir. You think you are too smart or above answering such nonsense? Too bad. Beyond being required by the NFL to give the pressers, you should take it as an opportunity to communicate directly to the fans. I can imagine its very tough after a bad loss to talk about all the mistakes, thoughts and decisions made during the game. It’s very, very hard, I am sure. How you handle these hard tasks says more about your character and your true self than anything else. It says more about you than an introductory press conference. When you act like an arrogant ass and demean the writers, you are demeaning all listeners and all readers and all fans. When you behave in this manner, you are an embarrassment to the Lions and the NFL.

What would I like you to do, coach? How about you show a slice of humility? How about a little insight? How about you attempt to communicate to the fans? How about you speak to us as equals…or at least as customers that have a right to answers? How about you act like there is valid information to be given in your press conferences?

Above all, Coach Caldwell, I’d like for you to think of each reporter in the room asking questions as representing 25,000 fans. Fans that pay your salary and pay to have a full stadium, fans that give you and your team a true home field advantage. In other words, do not treat them like a petty annoyance because when you do that, you are treating every single fan with the same embarrassing, arrogant, petulant attitude. And we deserve better.