Whether it works or not, Colts owner Jim Irsay shouldn’t have hired an interim head coach with no college or pro coaching experience. It’s an insult to all current assistant coaches with every team. They’ve been been paying the dues, gaining the experience, establishing the credibility.
It’s hard to blame interim coach Jeff Saturday for taking the job. Those who aren’t qualified for a given job are the last to admit it. We all believe we’re better than we are. We all believe we can do things that maybe we can’t. We all are tempted by the opportunity to do something that will prove to us and everyone else that we’re right.
Still, Saturday had a chance to prepare himself for his new opportunity. On Monday night, G.M. Chris Ballard made it clear that, twice, Saturday rejected an effort to join the team’s coaching staff.
“We’ve tried to hire Jeff a couple times,” Ballard said. “We tried to hire him in 2019 as the offensive line coach, and we tried to hire him again this year. [It] just didn’t work out. The timing didn’t work out.”
It didn’t work out when Saturday could have become an assistant. It worked out when the chance arrived to walk through the door as a head coach. Saturday and the Colts would be facing far less criticism right now if he’d just taken the job as offensive line coach, when it was offered by in 2019.
But even without any college or pro experience, and despite a so-so 20-16 record in three years as a high-school head coach, Saturday seems to think he can persuade the league at large that he’s head-coaching material.
“I’m auditioning not only for this [job], but 31 others, like everyone else in this game,” Saturday said.
He’s entitled to think that. And who knows? He could be the next Vince Lombardi. Still, it’s difficult to think that someone who has been out of the NFL for a decade and who hasn’t worked as an assistant coach has all of the qualities necessary to do the job right, starting with perhaps the most important trait — the passion.
If Saturday had that passion, he would have been doing something more than serving as a consultant with the Colts in the 10 years since retiring.