Like it or not, the Indianapolis Colts will probably retain Jeff Saturday
By Chris Phillips,
Despite what fans may prefer, there is a very good chance the Indianapolis Colts bring Jeff Saturday back to be the head coach in 2023.
The 2022-2023 Indianapolis Colts season was one of the worst in the past decade and unfortunately, there wasn’t an injured star quarterback to provide hope, like Peyton Manning or Andrew Luck.
The team had the 31st-ranked offense and 30th-ranked defense in the NFL . All of this led to the in-season firing of head coach Frank Reich. This move was shocking to some, however, the hiring of Jeff Saturday as interim head coach might have been even more of a surprise. This all brings us to their off-season search for a new head coach.
The Indianapolis Colts are in the middle of their second-round interviews with candidates. At the end of last week, it was reported that the organization would pair down its list of contenders. Saturday is drawing the strongest reaction from fans, and while they may not like it, there is a strong possibility he could end up being the next head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.
Jim Irsay’s soft spot for Jeff Saturday
As previously mentioned, the hiring of Jeff Saturday to be the interim head coach was a shocking decision. During his tenure as head coach, the team went 1-7 and ended the season on a seven-game losing streak. There has been a large portion of the Colts fanbase that has voiced their concerns about Saturday’s candidacy. Even going as far as to create a petition against him.
Despite all of this, the team has given Saturday a legitimate shot at being the permanent head coach. Mainly because of owner Jim Irsay’s love for Saturday and the Colts era that he was a part of. Saturday is one of the most beloved Colts players in team history. However, his run as head coach was incredibly unsuccessful.
At this point, there is growing speculation that the list of head coaching candidates is so vast because they are trying to find a candidate that will impress Irsay enough that he’ll agree to move on from Jeff Saturday.
There is also the thought that at the end of the head coaching search, the team will end up hiring Saturday anyway. In the event they do retain the team great, the message to the fan base will be something to the effect of, “there just wasn’t a head coach we liked better and felt was better equipped to win a Super Bowl.”
Indianapolis Colts owner will always have the final say on head coach, right or wrong
Colts fans should prepare themselves for the idea that in the end, Saturday could be the man who gets the position. He would obviously not be the fans’ first choice but perhaps he surprised many in the organization. Again, this past season he was working with someone else’s coaching staff.
Maybe Saturday’s coaching staff choices could better help get the most out of the talent on the roster. Not to mention the players the team brings in from free agency and via the draft. As this fan base should be well aware, getting a franchise-level quarterback can make the entire roster better than it should be.
On Wednesday, ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter was on “The Pat McAfee show” and speculated that Irsay will ultimately hire Saturday to be the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. And Colts fans have seen a lot of national media guys come out to advocate for Saturday to be a good head coach.
The longer that Saturday is in contention, the stronger his chances are that he will be the final choice. It’s been reported that the Colts are open to conducting a third-round of interviews with candidates. And if this happens it could be the first real insight into who the top choices are, especially if Saturday makes the cut.
At this point, it remains to be seen who is the clear front-runner for the Colts’ head coaching position but Saturday is still very much in contention. Irsay loves Saturday and is his biggest advocate. It’s up to the team’s general manager Chris Ballard and his staff to persuade Irsay from repeating the mistake.
Ultimately Jim Irsay will have to sign off on the final decision for the head coach. This past season, he compounded previous knee-jerk decisions by making another bad decision and not letting the people he hired in the front office do their jobs. Like it or not, don’t be surprised if Irsay continues his decision stranglehold on the team and retains Saturday for next season and beyond.
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