Almanac NFL: The 2023 Jim Caldwell Cup – Week 18


Greetings Tipsters


Time is of the essence and when one is preparing for an interstate move there doesn’t seem to be enough of it. Well, we did have time for an awesome farewell party on Sunday but then you wake up and have trouble moving with anything remotely approaching fluidity… But I am at my best when the deadline is tight, like getting an HD on a uni essay I started five hours before due.


Dan Campbell, Detroit Lions Head Coach, thrives on pressure. The team wrapped up the Divisional Championship, first time since 1993, in Week 16 but, nonetheless he played all the starters the next week on the off-chance that other results fell our way and we secured #2 seed in the NFC. It didn’t work out and champion rookie Tight #nd Sam La Porta hyperextended his knee and bruised the bone but he may be back for the playoffs this weekend 2hen LA Rams, quarterbacked by former Lions champion Matthew Stafford, visit for the first playoff match at Ford Field.


Black Monday has seen three coaches get sacked, no -one was surprised that Arthur Smith and Ron Rivera lost their jobs – they’ll probably get a OC and DC job somewhere else – but Mike Vrabel’s firing from Tennessee was a bit of a surprise.


Sure, he’s only had 6 wins from the last 24 matches but they were all this season. He hasn’t had a lot to work with, player-wise. He’s a good coach and footballers like playing for him. Interestingly he 2as a lineback3r for the Patriots, has two Superbowl rings and was smart enough to not coach there.


Scene – interior, nightime
Amy , Titans owner, on telephone
“Robert, Amy Strunk”
Robert, Patriots owner
“Amy, how are you?”
“Good, now listen, we’re thinking about sacking Vrabel”
“You are? He’s a very good coach”
“Yes, but sometimes a coach has been around too long. Goodnight Robert”
“ Well, thank you Amy”


Vrabel’s almost the only coach who’d have half a chance of replacing Bill Belichick. Any hip young OC with a groovy haircut would be doomed. Mike’s a solid, barrel-chested bloke and he’s well-loved by Pats fans. Make that call, Robert.


Three coaches were sacked mid season, Frank Reich, after eleven games in his first season, Josh McDaniels, eight games into his second season, Brandon Staley, fourteen games into his third. The interesting one is Frank, sacked by David Tepper, hedge fund manager and owner of Carolina Panthers.


In six seasons of ownership, David has sacked three head coaches. Including interims, that’s an average of one per season. The drafting and trading has been terrible, won one game this season but traded away the first round draft pick for a miniature quarterback who had to play behind the worst O-line in the league. Shut out in the last two games, David was filmed throwing a drink at an oppo fan. He’s a micromanaging arrogant fool who knows nothing about football and Carolina Panthers is doomed to years of horror as long as he’s the owner.


Detroit turned it around because Sheila took over from her mum and hired a young, keen GM and HC who had something to prove and let them run it. David’s never gonna do that.


PS – I wrote the above Wednesday and forgot to post it. This morning, Friday, came the news that Bill has left Patriots. Maybe he’ll take the Panthers job, it’s the only chance that team has.


Cheers Tipsters


P&C, a 34K Production, brought to you with the assistance of The Go-Gos live at a high school, 1981.




To read more by Earl O’Neill click here.


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About Earl O'Neill

Freelance gardener, I've thousands of books, thousands of records, one fast motorcycle and one gorgeous smart funny sexy woman. Life's pretty darn neat.


  1. Daryl Schramm says

    I really do enjoy these reads. Thanks Earl.

  2. Thank you Earl or Early for your interesting, educational and witty reports on the NFL.
    In 1986 whilst living in Colorado I started following the Denver Broncos, John Elway and the Refridgerator.
    On Monday mornings I watch the NRL live on Ch 7.
    My knowledge of the NFL is basic but improving with your excellent reports.
    With all the razzmatazz NFL is a popular sport and cultural icon in the USA.

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