Thursday, December 8, 2022
    HomeSportColts top execs tried (and failed) to talk Jim Irsay out of...

    Colts top execs tried (and failed) to talk Jim Irsay out of hiring Jeff Saturday as head coach

    The Indianapolis Colts hiring former player and ESPN analyst Jeff Saturday to replace Frank Reich as head coach was pretty shocking, and it sounds like not everyone inside the building was in favor of the move.

    According to Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, several top Colts executives, including Pete Ward and general manager Chris Ballard, tried to talk owner Jim Irsay out of hiring Saturday, but were not able to convince him to hire someone with coaching experience above a Catholic high school in Georgia.

    Irsay was described as “hellbent” on hiring Saturday, but he may have done so without considering the ramifications — not just among players, but the coaching staff as well. Without Reich, who handled play-calling duties, and offensive coordinator Marcus Brady, who was fired several weeks ago, there was no one to call offensive plays.

    The Colts eventually settled on 30-year-old pass game specialist/assistant quarterbacks coach Parks Frazier as their play caller, even though he has never called plays in the NFL. But apparently Frazier wasn’t their first choice. According to Pelissero and Rapoport, quarterbacks coach Scott Milanovich was their first choice for that job, but Milanovich turned it down after they offered it to him with no revision to his current contract.

    So why would Irsay hire Saturday if it was going to cause so much upheaval (and likely grumbling from the numerous Colts coaches with much more experience who were passed over for this job)? The true reason is known only to Irsay, but Saturday’s “leadership” qualities were apparently a big factor. Saturday emphasized that he “know(s) how to lead men” during Wednesday’s introductory news conference. And those leadership qualities are already coming in handy, according to Pelissero and Rapoport.

    [Saturday] does have natural leadership traits, which sources say have already shown through as Saturday navigated an unprecedented situation with coaches and players in preparing the team for today’s game against the Raiders in Las Vegas.

    Saturday will make his NFL coaching debut (and Frazier will make his play-calling debut) against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday at 4:05pm ET.

    Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay reportedly hired Jeff Saturday as interim head coach over the reservations of his top executives. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)



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