The Indianapolis Colts announced Tuesday that they've hired Shane Steichen, offensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles, as their new head coach.
Steichen, 37, has spent the last two seasons on head coach Nick Sirianni's staff, helping to develop quarterback Jalen Hurts and calling plays for 2022's most potent rushing offense. Though the Eagles lost Super Bowl LVII to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, Hurts balled out, turning in an all-time great performance.
Steichen has a history of developing good, young quarterbacks (which is something the Colts desperately need). Before joining Sirianni's staff in Jan. 2021 he was the offensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Chargers, helping to coach Justin Herbert to an unbelievable rookie season.
It wasn't until a few days ago that Steichen emerged as a top candidate to replace Frank Reich, who was fired in the middle of the Colts' miserable 2022 season. Reich's interim replacement, Jeff Saturday, was thought to have the best chance to get the job, despite going 1-7 and having no NFL or college coaching experience prior to being named interim head coach.
Colts have a wide-ranging search
The Colts had one of the longest searches you'll find in the NFL.
The team said it interviewed 13 candidates. It included offensive and defensive coordinators from around the league. Many were brought in for second interviews, which reportedly included Irsay and took up to 12 hours each.
There was no common thread among the candidates. The Colts just wanted to cast a wide net and talk to as many coaches as possible for their vacancy.
"Consistent, thorough — I don't care if it takes until mid-February to hire the head coach. It's about getting it right," Colts GM Chris Ballard said, according to the team's site.
After such a horrendous season in 2022, the Colts clearly saw the value in being patient with their search and talking — at excruciating length — with many of the top candidates on the market.
Colts coming off rough season
Last season started with promise for the Colts. They had a new quarterback in Matt Ryan. They were AFC South favorites by the time the season started. Then nothing went right. Ryan struggled. The team started 1-2-1, momentarily righted things with a two-game winning streak, then came three losses in a row and Reich being fired.
Then came the move that shocked the NFL world. Irsay tabbed Jeff Saturday, who had no experience as a coach beyond high school, as the interim head coach. Saturday was a great player for the Colts but him being named interim coach was met with criticism and derision.
Saturday and the Colts won their first game over Josh McDaniels and the Las Vegas Raiders, then lost their final seven games. There were some terrible moments in that streak, but none worse than blowing a 33-0 lead against the Minnesota Vikings and losing 39-36. That's the biggest comeback win in NFL history.
That's how the Colts entered the offseason. Ryan had a miserable season, being benched twice, and his future with the team was up in the air. Indianapolis earned the fourth overall pick of the NFL Draft, which gives the Colts a path to fixing the quarterback situation. Perhaps with a solution at quarterback — something the Colts have been chasing since Andrew Luck retired — things can turn around quickly.
First, the Colts needed to figure out their coaching situation. After a long process, they finally made a decision.