The rumors had been flying around for a while now about Tom Moore and Howard Mudd retiring, the Colts Offensive Coordinator and Offensive Line Coach respectively. Today those rumors became official when Jim Irsay, the Colts owner, stated that Moore and Mudd had formally filed their retirement papers. The two decided to retire earlier than they had wanted to because of a recent change in the NFL’s pension plan. Together Moore and Mudd combine for nearly 70 years of NFL coaching experience.
The Colts sideline is going to look a whole lot different in 2009. From 2002 to 2008, the Colts had the same core of coaches. Tony Dungy (Head Coach),Tom Moore (Offensive Coordinator), Ron Meeks (Defensive Coordinator, now with the Carolina Panthers), Russ Purnell (Special Teams Coordinator, now with the Jacksonville Jaguars), Howard Mudd (Offensive Line Coach) and Jim Caldwell (Quarterbacks Coach/Associate Head Coach), five of those six are now gone. Jim Caldwell was named the Head Coach (as expected) when Tony Dungy retired, and he is the lone remaining member of that group. It’s phenomenal that we had such a sturdy coaching staff for that long considering how often assistants and coordinators are often hired away by other teams who are offering more money or higher position especially with how much success the Colts have seen. Now it’s gone.
The five that are now gone combined for 136 years of coaching experience in the NFL. The new five coming in are Larry Coyer (Defensive Coordinator), Ray Rychleski (Special Teams Coordinator), Frank Reich (Quarterbacks Coach), with Clyde Christensen and Pete Metzelaars expected to step in as Offensive Coordinator and Offensive Line Coach respectively. These five combine for an impressive 29 years of NFL coaching experience, which doesn’t sound too bad until you know that Christensen and Coyer combine for 23 of those 29 years and that Metzelaars has five of the remaining six.
Tom Moore had been the Colts Offensive Coordinator since 1998, and Howard Mudd became the Colts Offensive Line Coach that same year. In that eleven year span Colts have easily had the best offense in the NFL, ranking first in the league for that time period in points per game (26.1), yards per game (362.9), passing yards per game (257.7), passing yards per attempt (7.6), completion percentage (64.3), passing touchdowns (340), quarterback passer rating (94.4), third-down percentage (45.1) and fewest sacks allowed (214). I don’t think that there has ever been any offense in NFL history that has been that successful for such a long period of time.
I would love to say that I think the coaching change is going to be a smooth transition and that the Colts will continue with the dominance that us Colts fans have become used to, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. As I’m sure all of you know by now, both my NFL team (Colts) and my college football team (Vols) have gone through huge coaching staff changes this offseason. One has me very excited, while the other has me very nervous. When it was just Dungy that was leaving I figured it would be fine because Caldwell had been in position to take over for a few years and he (as well as the rest of the organization, teams and fans) had been preparing for it. Now that we have a coaching staff with over a hundred years (that’s a century!) less of NFL coaching experience I’m extremely nervous, and I haven’t even mentioned the fact that Marvin Harrison is gone, who is easily one of the top 5 receivers in NFL history, ranking second in NFL history with career receptions (1,102), fourth in career receiving yards (14,580) and fifth in career touchdown receptions (128).
But have no fear, WaB readers! I’m am still as blinded by my bias as ever and am still recklessly optimistic! My confidence in Peyton Manning is still in tact and that is enough for me to keep my head up, because while it was in 1998 that Moore and Mudd joined th Colts and it was then that the impressive stretch that I mentioned before started, this was also the same year that Bill Polian became the Team President (December of 1997 technically) and the year that the Colts drafted Peyton Manning with the first overall pick in the NFL Draft.
So while I am certainly nervous about the changes that have happened so far this offseason, I do believe that the coaching transition will be as smooth as you can hope for when going through this big of a change. The Colts had everything in place to be prepared for this and with Peyton Manning under center we can still keep our streak of 12 or more wins alive, and will still be in a position to contend for another Super Bowl.
Let me know how well you think the Colts will do this year with all of the changes that they have gone through in the offseason.
Filed under: NFL Tagged: | Bill Polian, Clyde Christensen, Colts, Frank Reich, Howard Mudd, Indianapolis, Jim Caldwell, Jim Irsay, Larry Coyer, Manning, Marvin Harrison, Pete Metzelaars, Peyton, Ray Rychleski, retire, Ron Meeks, Russ Purnell, Tom Moore, Tony Dungy