Playoff-bound NFL coach makes really bad golf analogy

January 03, 2017

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The Detroit Lions lost the final game of the NFL's regular season on Sunday night to the Green Bay Packers. What they also lost to their rival was a division title and the chance to host their first home playoff game in a quarter century.

At least, the team could still take solace in the fact it would make just its third playoff appearance in 17 years -- and that's what head coach Jim Caldwell was focused on when he met with the media on Tuesday. Check out this quote from the Detroit Free Press:

“Some of you guys probably play a little golf from time to time, and it’s kind of like a golf game," Caldwell said when asked what he'd tell critics who want him gone after the season. "You’ve got a 494-yard par 4, and you hit it off the tee. Some guys hit it right down the middle and then maybe hit a 3-wood to the green, or a 5-wood, in some cases. Some guys are like me: They hit it in the woods and they might have to hit it between two trees in order to get it on the green, but the fact of the matter is we’re still on in two. We’re on in regulation. Everybody’s putting for birdie, and that’s kind of what making the [playoffs] is, right? ... Everybody’s still got a chance, no matter how you got here.”

Wow. There's a lot to break down here. Let's do our best.

First off, it sounds like Caldwell plays golf. A non-golfer would never use a 494-yard par 4 (What is this, the U.S. Open?) as an example. That's way too specific.

Then there's the whole hitting 3-wood or 5-wood for the approach shot. Again, did Mike Davis set up this course?

But Caldwell doesn't say what club he uses for his approach shot, only that he hits it into the woods on his drives. We'll assume this is because Caldwell isn't a good golfer, not because this is some sort of unorthodox strategy.

Regardless of Caldwell's wild tee shot, he says he's on the green "in regulation" even if he had to hit his approach between a couple of trees. Again, this guy must play golf. And he must have a recovery game like Phil Mickelson.

"Everybody's putting for birdie, and that's kind of what making the (playoffs) is, right? . . . Everybody's still got a chance, no matter how you got here."

Yes and no, Jim. Yes, everyone has a chance once you make it to the NFL Playoffs. As a Giants fan, I know that as well as anyone after watching two recent improbable Super Bowl runs. But not all roads are the same. If the Lions had won Sunday night and clinched the division, they'd be hosting my Giants this Sunday. Instead, they're going on the road to face the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday. That's like switching a 20-foot putt for birdie for a 70-footer from off the green.

Oh, and that whole recovering from the trees thing? The Lions got off to a 9-4 start to the season before dropping their final three games to blow the NFC North division. Nice try, Jim.