ST. LOUIS, MO - JANUARY 1: St. Louis Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo stands on the field in the second half of the game against the San Francisco 49ers on January 1, 2012 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri. The 49ers defeated the Rams 34-27. (Photo by Whitney Curtis/Getty Images)
Even though this might upset Bob Kravitz to the point where he starts insulting my mother on Twitter, Stampede Blue is reporting to you, our loyal and semi-patient readers, that sources have informed us that Jim Caldwell will indeed return as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts in 2012. We have no additional information on a potential contract extension for Caldwell, who enters 2012 as a lame duck coach.
We have also been told by these sources that the Colts have reached out to former Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo to join the team as the defensive coordinator. Spagnuolo was fired this month by the Rams after two years. Prior to that, he was the defensive coordinator for the New York Giants, and was instrumental in transforming their Super Bowl winning defense. Spagnuolo worked for the Eagles as an assistant before landing the Giants gig.
This information from our sources is consistent with Irsay's private airplane's travel schedule in recent days. Per our friend Laura Callaway (a.k.a., @Lovinblue), who tracks Irsay's travel on her Twitter site and for the fansite Colts Authority:
Irsay's plane scheduled to fly to St. Louis and back today. #Colts— LovinBlue (@LovinBlue) January 16, 2012
Irsay's plane scheduled to return to St. Louis at 6:30pm. Not sure if that bodes well if there was an interviewer on board... #Colts— LovinBlue (@LovinBlue) January 16, 2012
You can use the website flightaware.com to track Irsay's private plane.
While the reports of Caldwell returning in 2012 have generated a collective groan from the Colts fanbase, the acquisition of Spagnuolo, who worked with new Colts general manger Ryan Grigson when both were with the Philadelphia Eagles, seems like a very positive hire.
We'll see how things play out. But, for us at Stampede Blue, this information is solid, and we hope to have a confirmation from the team shortly.
[UPDATE]: We've contacted the Colts and asked for a comment on the Caldwell and Spagnuolo story. No reply, yet.
[UPDATE 2]: The Colts have responded back to us, and have offered no comment. In case you care, this is a big change from the norm. Under the previous regime, the Colts just ignored us. To get a response, and to get it as quickly as we got it this one, was a happy and welcome change.
[UPDATE 3]: The Colts just announced on their website's blog that Jim Caldwell has been fired. No word yet on the Spagnuolo story. It's possible he's being brought in as the new head coach. In any case, our sources (along with Mike Chappell's, Phil Wilson's, and Jake Query's) were wrong about Caldwell staying. Personally, I'm kind of glad they were. I didn't want Caldwell back as head coach. Regarding how everyone from the Colts beat writer to a lowly blogger like me could get this story so WRONG, SI's Will Carroll offers this:
Something makes me think that the Caldwell "flip-flop" was Grigson running a leak test. Well played.
That's certainly plausible. I don't believe the people who spoke to me lied. In any case, Caldwell is now gone. I guess this means we really are entering a 'New Era.'
[UPDATE 4]: Jay Glazer confirms our earlier report that Spagnuolo did indeed interview for the Colts defensive coordinator position.