Report: Colts Owner Jim Irsay Chose Interim Coach Jeff Saturday Without the Consent or Recommendations of Advisors
The hiring of Jeff Saturday as the new interim coach of the Indianapolis Colts came as a surprise throughout the NFL world. Most people around the sport questioned the hiring. New reports allege that the top executives in the Colts organization wanted to go in a different direction, and that the decision to hire Saturday was solely made by Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rappoport, both Colts general manager Chris Ballard and president Pete Ward were against the hiring of Saturday and wanted Irsay to go in a different direction. It is reported they were favoring two coaches in their current staff who were former head coaches in the NFL.
The Colts defensive coordinator Gus Bradley was the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2013-2016. In that time he was 14-48 with no playoff appearances. Bradley has been a coach in the NFL since 2006 and is currently the defensive coordinator for his fourth NFL team.
The other former head coach currently on the Colts staff is senior defensive assistant John Fox. He was a head coach from 2002-2017. He was the head coach of the Panthers from 2002-2010, the Broncos from 2011-2014, and the Bears from 2015-2017. Fox won six division titles, had seven playoff appearances, and went to two Super Bowls. Overall, Fox was 133-123 as a head coach.
Irsay wanted to make the hire on November 5th, while other members of the organization allegedly wanted to take their time with this decision due to the significance it brings. While Saturday was still a team consultant, Irsay reportedly called him on the fifth to talk about the Colts offensive line. Later that same day, Irsay chose to name Saturday the interim head coach. Irsay defended his choice in Saturday’s introductory press conference.
“I’m glad he doesn’t have any NFL experience,” Irsay said on Tuesday. “I’m glad he hasn’t learned the fear.”
It has been heavily speculated that the benching of starting quarterback Matt Ryan in the last two weeks was Irsay’s decision showing how truly hands-on he is with the franchise. The Colts after the firing of head coach Frank Reich had not one single coach with offensive play-calling experience.
Jeff Saturday will be making his NFL interim head coaching debut on Sunday as the Colts will be in Las Vegas to take on the Raiders.
Sports Illustrated has more HERE.