The Indianapolis Colts have had a forgettable couple of weeks. From benching quarterback Matt Ryan prior to last week’s loss to the Commanders to firing offensive coordinator Marcus Brady last Tuesday and head coach Frank Reich on Monday.
The firing was somewhat of a shock but understandable. The team hasn’t elevated to elite levels under Reich. It’s who owner Jim Irsay decided to bring in to replace Reich that has everyone like, huh?
Irsay hired Colts legend Jeff Saturday to be the interim coach for the remainder of the season. That’s strange, because usually when a coach is relieved of his duties, an assistant is put into the interim role. It’s rarely someone who’s not associated with the team on a daily basis placed in that role. And it’s certainly not a guy who has spent most of his time as a talking head on debate shows cutting up with Stephen A. Smith.
But that’s exactly what Irsay did. His move further proved that cronyism is still alive and well. The old boy network that makes the journey to head coaching jobs much tougher for qualified Black candidates.
In Monday’s presser Irsay said this:
Jim Irsay on his interim coach Jeff Saturday:
"Yes, he is fully experienced enough. Yes, he is fully capable."
— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) November 8, 2022
Irsay’s move is exactly why the NFL needs black ownership. Too many times minorities are overlooked, and this is a prime example of that time.
Saturday Only Has HS Coaching Experience: But Louis Riddick Can’t Get A Job?
The aforementioned Saturday is best known for being the center for Peyton Manning during his years with the Colts. And now he’s known for his segments on ESPN’s “NFL Live.” His only coaching experience has come in high school in Georgia, from 2017-2019. But come Sunday he’ll be stalking an NFL sideline as the interim coach of the Colts. Life comes at you fast if you’re in with the right crowd.
Saturday is doing something he has no real experience in. He jumped the line past plenty of qualified coaching candidates who have been putting in the work and developing relationships with the players. Sagacious ESPN analyst Louis Riddick can’t seem to get a gig in an NFL front office. Something is truly wrong with that, and it goes back to lack of black ownership and white owners being most comfortable hiring leaders who look like them.
Jim Irsay is out there man. Wow. Jeff Saturday named interim head coach of the Colts. They just might want to win that race to the first-overall pick more than anyone else.
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) November 7, 2022
Following the move, two prominent sports figures had this to say about the move.
FS1’s Rob Parker was heated on Monday’s airing of “The Odd Couple” on Fox Sports Radio
“It’s just a blatant slap in the face to every minority coach in the NFL that’s put in their due, became coordinators, and put in the grunt work. He’s unqualified and does not deserve this job.”
Jemele Hill, Saturday’s former colleague at ESPN also spoke on the move.
“I like Jeff Saturday and enjoyed working with him at ESPN. This is not a critique of him, but rather an NFL system that constantly moves the goalposts for white coaches, but holds Black coaches to tighter standards. A Black coach would likely never be in Jeff’s position.”
Colts Are An Unmitigated Dumpster Fire Right Now
With an owner like Irsay things aren’t looking up for the Colts franchise. He’s the same guy who called for Commanders owner Daniel Snyder to sell his team. When in all actuality, Irsay’s also got a bit of a checkered past and done some things that make you raise your brow. The difference is he’s in a small market, so it’s not frowned upon as much or thrown into the national spotlight.
.@Colts Owner and CEO Jim Irsay on moving on from Frank Reich and hiring Jeff Saturday: "It was time. I am very excited to have, as Chris (Ballard) is, to have Jeff here and next to me as the interim head coach. Couldn’t be more thrilled about having him here."
— JJ Stankevitz (@JJStankevitz) November 8, 2022
There are people who support the move, such as MNF analyst Booger McFarland, who lauded Saturday’s knowledge of the game and championship pedigree. But there’s levels to this. Irsay is making a complete mockery of the NFL hiring system and is once again telling the league “To hell with your Rooney Rule. I do what I want.”