Why did the Colts hire Jeff Saturday as interim head coach? | You Pod to Win the Game

Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson and Frank Schwab discuss the Colts firing of head coach Frank Reich and unexpected hiring of former center Jeff Saturday as interim head coach. Has Indianapolis owner Jim Irsay lost his mind? Could this move actually work? Who are the candidates that would’ve been a better choice? Hear the full conversation on the You Pod to Win the Game podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen.

Video Transcript

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FRANK SCHWAB: Why Jeff Saturday?

CHARLES ROBINSON: OK. Thank you.

FRANK SCHWAB: Is this-- are you saying, OK. Is it just a total tank job? Is this, he sees something in Jeff Saturday, because I guess Jeff Saturday said right after he retired that Irsay offered him a front office position, he could have anytime he wanted. So obviously clearly respects Jeff Saturday. What is it, how does Jim Irsay come to, I'm going to hire a guy who has zero coaching experience in college or the NFL? Why did the Colts make this hire, which literally has not happened since at least 1961?

CHARLES ROBINSON: Perfectly good question. I don't think anyone but Jim has that answer. But there are theories. Jim is close to Jeff, has been, obviously, since Jeff played for the Colts all those years and was a great player. He always thought he was a really smart guy. He's been consulting for the Colts now for a couple of years. Now he was there in training camp briefly.

That word, consulting, is interesting, because you hear stories later, and I'll give you an example. Jerry Richardson, when he replaced Dave Gettleman with Marty Hurney, OK? After Hurney had been through the Panthers organization before, and they moved on. And then also they circle back and they bring Marty Hurney back in as general manager.

Someone said to me, oh, well, he's been consulting for a while. I'm like, what does that mean? They're like, you know, he's talking to Jerry.

FRANK SCHWAB: Yeah.

CHARLES ROBINSON: He's like, and I'm like, oh, OK, so he's like the guy with the good ideas. And then when you're pissed off at your GM, you're like, I'm going to go and get this other guy with the good ideas. I think, could Jeff Saturday potentially be that guy who he watches on TV, who he listens to on the radio, who he has a personal relationship with, and by the way, who is beloved in the city of Indianapolis?

I think it is him reaching for an outside-the-box shot and saying, worst case scenario here, we lose out, and we end up getting the quarterback that we ultimately need. And then we figure out what we want to do with the coaching spot. My question to you is, what if this is the Josh McCown situation in Houston, which obviously didn't end up happening because of the lawsuit from Brian Flores. But I think Josh McCown would have almost certainly been the head coach of the Houston Texans. Instead it became Lovie Smith.

What if this is like a Josh McCown situation, where Irsay's like, I like that guy, he's smart, and I think he's an outside-the-box candidate. I'm going to take my shot here. And what if this is actually a permanent hire, and they're trying to play it off like it's not?

FRANK SCHWAB: What if this works? I have been, and we've talked about this, very much an advocate for the CEO head coach. I don't like play-callers. Like, the NFL for decades has been doing the whole like, this is our template. We hire a great play-caller. He comes aboard. Usually these guys are in over their heads calling plays.

They give up play calling. And then you're like, what does he got the job for anyway? His only strength was as a play-caller. There's a reason Mike Tomlin and John Harbaugh are two of the best coaches in the NFL.

CHARLES ROBINSON: Right.

FRANK SCHWAB: These guys were not coordinators. They were just leaders. They were CEOs. They understand the game really well. They delegate to coordinators. What if this works? Like what if-- it's not out of the realm of possibility to Jeff Saturday, who by all accounts, like you said, beloved, a great leader, I mean a guy who knows the game, obviously.

He played it at an incredibly high level. He's been commenting on it and all that kind of stuff. What if it works? It's at least possible. And then I guess Irsay would be vindicated at the end. If they go 6 and 2 the rest of the way, like as crazy as that sounds to say it out loud, he'd be the permanent guy, right? Like that probably happens. It's at least within the realm of possibility.

It's not like the Colts team has no talent at all. I think one thing we do have to talk about, you have so many Black coaches at all levels of football. Reggie Wayne is right there on staff. In this league, that's dying for diversity and hires, why not give a shot to a Black coach? Even if he goes 0 and 8, he still gets valuable experience, maybe another team looks at him and says, you know, Reggie Wayne, I hadn't really thought about him in this way. I like this, let's bring him in for an interview. Let's see what he's all about.

It would just be an invaluable experience. And there have to be coaches, Black and white, who are sitting around saying, I can't get my foot in the door but Jeff Saturday waltzes past the velvet rope and he gets a job, the coach of the Indianapolis Colts the rest of the season. I think that's a fail by Jim Irsay. I really do.