'I thought it was a joke:' Joe Thomas crushes Jeff Saturday hire originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Joe Thomas knows a thing or two about ugly situations in the NFL.
The former 10-time Pro Bowl left tackle was part of 10 losing teams over his 11-career with the Cleveland Browns, including the 1-15 2016 team and the 0-16 2017 team.
But, in Thomas' eyes, nothing he witnessed during his time in Cleveland was as bad as what the Indianapolis Colts did earlier this week.
Thomas absolutely crushed the Colts' hiring of Jeff Saturday as interim head coach, calling it the "most egregious thing" that he "can ever remember happening in the NFL" during a three-minute rant on NFL Network's "Good Morning Football" Friday.
"When you hire your drinking buddy to be the head coach of an NFL football team, it is one of the most disrespectful things I've ever seen in my entire life to the commitment, the lifestyle and the experience that it takes to be an NFL coach, any coach, much less the head coach of the Indianapolis football Colts," Thomas said. "You have got to be kidding me that this is something that Jim Irsay, and Jeff Saturday who's not blameless for accepting the job, could have talked and decided that this was the best thing for the Indianapolis Colts at this juncture of the season.
"... This is something that changes your life when you decide to be a coach. It's one of the reasons I don't want to coach, cause I want to see my children, I want to have a life outside of football. When you're a coach in the NFL, you do not have a life outside of football. ... It's a different lifestyle because it's who you are. So the disrespect that NFL coaches have to feel when they saw that this hire was made is higher than almost anything I can possibly remember in the NFL. And then to defend the decision by saying, 'I'm happy he doesn't have any experience because he's not scared.' Like, if you didn't already insult every person that's worked their entire life to be a head coach in the NFL.
"... I was happily eating some fine French food and drinking French wine because I was in France with my kids earlier in the week. But when I saw this, I thought it was a joke. I thought maybe I had a little Google translate and all the sudden I'm in the wrong calendar and it's April 1 or something. It was the most egregious thing I can ever remember happening in the NFL, and I went 1-31 my last two years in the NFL."
While Saturday is a Colts legend, boasting five Pro Bowl appearances, three All-Pro nods and a Super Bowl ring from his 13 seasons with the franchise, he has zero NFL coaching experience. In fact, the only experience on his resume is as an assistant and head coach at Hebron Christian Academy, a high school in Dacula, Ga. He's the first NFL head coach without any prior coaching experience at the pro or college level since Norm Van Brocklin in 1961.
As Thomas mentioned in his rant, Colts owner Jim Irsay believes that lack of experience is actually a plus.
"I'm glad he doesn't have any NFL experience," Irsay said, via NFL.com. "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 doesn't have all that. He doesn't have that fear. And there was no other candidate. We were fortunate he was available. And he has tons of experience. He knows this game inside and out with relationships with coaches and players. I understand that he's fully capable of doing this."
The Colts' first game under Saturday is in Las Vegas against the Raiders on Sunday. It may be a matchup of two teams with losing records, but you can bet a ton of eyes will be watching to see how the Saturday experiment begins.