> Jim Irsay defends decision to hire Jeff Saturday as Colts head coach NFL

Jim Irsay defends decision to hire Jeff Saturday as Colts head coach

Jim Irsay defends decision to hire Jeff Saturday as Colts head coach

  • Colts
Nov 09
SW Creative
  • SportsWriters

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay defended his decision to hire former offensive lineman Jeff Saturday as the team’s new head coach.

He hit back at the criticism that Saturday was not qualified enough for the job, insisting he was more than capable.

Meanwhile, Saturday, who has little to no coaching experience, said goodbye to his ESPN analyst job to become a first-time professional NFL head coach, replacing Frank Reich. However, Irsay ensured that Saturday was the right man for the position.

“I’m glad he doesn’t have any NFL experience,” Irsay said. “I’m glad he hasn’t learned the fear that’s in this league, because it’s tough for all our coaches. They’re afraid. They go to analytics and it gets difficult.

“He knows this game inside and out with relationships with coaches and players. I understand that he’s fully capable of doing this.”

Saturday was named head coach on Monday, shortly after Reich’s firing. He will coach his first game for the Colts against the Las Vegas Raiders this weekend.

General manager Chris Ballard said the team had always wanted to hire Saturday, but the timing had never worked out. He maintained that Saturday was a good fit for the Colts.

“It doesn’t take long to figure out he’s got leadership, real special leadership in him,” Ballard said. “So for this eight-game stretch and where we’re at, we thought it would be a really good fit for us.”

As an offensive lineman, the 47-year-old was a six-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl XLI champion. With his lack of coaching experience, he is expected to find a solution for the team’s 3-5-1 record this season. Indianapolis’ offensive line has also allowed 35 sacks in nine games.

The team dismissed Reich over these very struggles. His lackluster performance included a 16-3 loss to the New England Patriots this past Sunday.

When NFL teams hire a permanent coach, they must stand by the Rooney Rule, which requires them to interview at least two minority candidates. However, that doesn’t apply in this case because Saturday is an interim hire, per the Indy Star.

"They're stunned. They don't believe it. This is like a circus. The Colts were heavily criticised for the hiring with many questioning whether it went against the NFL's 'Rooney Rule.'"

- Zak Keefer

"Now understand, we've tried to hire Jeff a couple times."

- Chris Ballard

  • Jim Irsay

    James "Jim" Irsay is an American businessman, known for being the owner and CEO of the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League . Jim Irsay's father, Robert Irsay,

  • Jeff Saturday

    Jeffrey Bryant Saturday is a former American football center, current sports analyst and interim head coach for the Indianapolis Colts for the National Football League .

  • Indianapolis Colts

    The Indianapolis Colts are a professional American football team based in Indianapolis.

  • Frank Reich

    Frank Michael Reich Jr. is an American football coach and former quarterback who is the head coach for the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League .