Only in the NFL can a coach go from being asked about the top award in his profession to potentially being in danger of losing his job over the course of a few weeks.
Such is the case with Lions coach Jim Caldwell, who, after building a significant lead in the NFC North, is fighting for his playoff life this weekend against the division-rival Green Bay Packers. Detroit could still get in with a loss, but would need some help from the already-clinched New York Giants, who face off against the Washington Redskins.
"I think the job questions come no matter what in our business," Caldwell said, via The Detroit Free Press. "That's just kind of the way it is. They happen to you when you're winning it all, they happen to you when you're struggling. That's just kind of the nature of the business, so you have to understand that they're going to come. But our real focus is on this ball game, trying to get ready."
I feel bad for Caldwell, and not just because the Lions are struggling through the teeth of their schedule at the moment with matchups against the Giants and Cowboys. Even when the Lions were winning in a breathtaking, high-wire style, assistants Teryl Austin and Jim Bob Cooter were getting almost all of the credit. Both have been listed as potential head coaching candidates this offseason.
Now, Caldwell is being asked about bearing the responsibility should their playoff hopes evaporate.
While this isn't something Lions fans want to hear, it seems crazy to let go of Caldwell after the way he performed in the second half of 2015 and throughout 2016. His steady hand amid chaos has done wonders for a developing young team. His eye for coaching talent is also apparent. Should Cooter remain an assistant, would it be wise to rip him away from Matthew Stafford after his Pro Bowl caliber season?
Caldwell handles all these questions with the excitement of someone filling out their taxes, so we'll never know quite how he feels about the roller coaster. But I would be willing to bet he wants to quiet everyone with a win over Green Bay on Sunday.