Back in November, the Colts stunned the NFL with one of the most puzzling hires in recent memory, allowing former Pro Bowl center Jeff Saturday to finish out the season as interim head coach. Many questioned Saturday’s credentials, dismissing the hire as a pure publicity stunt by attention-seeking owner Jim Irsay. Saturday, whose only prior coaching experience had come at the high-school level, fared about as expected, losing his final seven games to finish 1-7, notably blowing a 33-point lead to the Vikings in Week 15, the largest collapse in NFL history.
The Saturday experiment had seemingly run its course, with most regarding his recent interview as a courtesy, a favor afforded by his close relationship with Irsay. However, Saturday was just granted a second interview, suggesting, despite his initial hiring being viewed as little more than a novelty, that the team views him as a serious candidate to replace Frank Reich. In fact, according to league insider Jordan Schultz, Irsay is ready to remove Saturday’s interim label and make him the permanent head coach, though he’s facing resistance from the front office.
Employing Saturday as a temporary stopgap is one thing, but entrusting him to oversee what could be a lengthy rebuild seems reckless, bordering on irresponsible. The Colts would be setting a dangerous precedent, allowing Saturday to cut the line, bypassing more deserving candidates with stronger resumes. The team is still completing its interview process, with Dan Quinn, Eric Bieniemy, Mike Kafka and Rich Bisaccia all seen as legitimate contenders. Perhaps logic and reason will eventually win out, though there exists the very real possibility that Saturday, once seen as a gimmick, prevails as the last man standing in Indy.
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