The Indianapolis Colts shocked the NFL by naming Jeff Saturday their interim head coach after only coaching in the high school ranks for a few seasons.
If it takes you a minute to compose yourself before reading this, we totally understand. The collective laughter that’s been going on for several minutes now comes via the news that the Indianapolis Colts have hired Jeff Saturday to be their new interim head coach. Yes, Jeff Saturday.
There’s nothing wrong at all with Saturday as a person and former NFL player. The Colts were also in need of shaking things up in some way after starting the season with a frustrating 3-5-1 record when they play within a division as weak as the AFC South. Team owner Jim Irsay has been much more vocal lately about the team’s performance and the need to get better, so it’s also not surprising to see him roll up his sleeves and make obvious moves a the final decision maker. That said, no one saw this one coming.
Saturday is a Colts’ icon, a longtime center who is in the team’s Hall of Fame who is forever linked with the sucess of the Peyton Manning years. He carries a lot of good will in the city, and he’s a popular figure to see around Lucas Oil Stadium or at events representing the franchise in some way. That said, Saturday only recently turned to coaching himself and his resume consists of a few seasons of coaching high school football in Dacula, Georgia.
The Colts also issued a press release stating that Saturday has served as a consultant for the team in recent years, but that’s likely mostly just hanging in Irsay’s suite on Sundays as a guest. The reality is the whole coaching change is laughable—from the firing of Frank Reich to Irsay’s decision to not give the interim job to John Fox or Gus Bradley—you know, two other guys with actual head coaching experience at the highest levels.
From a Chiefs perspective, what makes this even worse is that it’s just another example of how insulting these moves must be for a head coaching candidate like Eric Bieniemy. By now everyone in Chiefs Kingdom knows the story of Bieniemy as a very experienced assistant coach of the NFL’s most stable, succcessful franchise who has learned from a Hall of Fame head coach who somehow cannot earn a head coaching job. He’s interviewed with approximately half of all NFL teams in the last few years—some of them twice—and he remains employed by K.C. as a coordinator.
Now Bieniemy can add “watching Jeff Saturday get a head coaching gig before me” to his list of being short-changed. Somehow the qualifications for some head coaching gigs are about nothing more than being a popular player who is well-liked by an owner. For others, you can have years of crystal clear qualifications and ringing endorsements and it still doesn’t matter.