Colts part ways with Jim Caldwell; will Peyton Manning be next?

Shutdown Corner

Fresh off a 2-14 season, the Indianapolis Colts have fired head coach Jim Caldwell. The Colts made the announcement on the team website and on Twitter, with a press conference scheduled for 4 p.m.

Before the firing, most rumors had actually pointed to the Colts keeping Caldwell, and it had taken the team an extraordinarily long time to make the call. In the time it took the Colts to let Caldwell go, five other coaches have been fired, and three teams have hired permanent head coaches.

So the Colts, who have the No. 1 pick in the draft, will go into next season without Caldwell, and without longtime general manager Bill Polian. That's a whole lot of regime change. One wonders if that means this is the end of the Peyton Manning era, too.

[Photos: Colts fire coach Jim Caldwell]

There's been no indication that the Colts plan to do that, but if you're going to cut ties with a legend, right now seems like a good time. They're pretty much starting over anyway. At 2-14, everyone on the roster is expendable. There'll be new coaches and new systems to learn. A new quarterback, Andrew Luck, will presumably be on board. It's hard to figure how a 35-year-old quarterback with a bad neck figures into this kind of rebuilding project.

If it were anyone other than Peyton Manning, it would be a foregone conclusion. You can make the argument that you want someone of his stature around to guide younger players, and there are plenty of sentimental, non-football arguments to be made about Peyton being the Indianapolis Colts and how that's no way to treat a legend, etc.

[Related: Did rudeness cost Colts vice chairman Bill Polian his job?]

But Peyton or no Peyton, 2012 will definitely see a new-look Colts organization. They're cutting ties all over the place. Two-and-14 will do that.

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