News broke Monday that the Indianapolis Colts fired head coach Frank Reich, replacing him with long-time NFL center Jeff Saturday as the interim coach. Saturday, who had been a television analyst at ESPN before being hired, is a decorated six-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro with the Colts as a player who has never coached at the collegiate or professional level before. The shocking hire of Saturday has been a notable topic of conversation this week. According to Ben Standig of The Athletic, Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera recently voiced his opinion on the hire.
“Well, it is what it is,” Rivera said. “I just think the disappointment of it is, there’s some veteran coaches that are on that staff, and there’s some minority coaches too that are all clamoring and working to try and get opportunities. But again, I get it, it’s [Jim Irsay’s] team and the owner decided that’s what he wanted to do.”
Ron Rivera’s comments are considerably more diplomatic than the displeasure shared by other football figures. Former Cleveland Browns All-Pro tackle and NFL Network analyst Joe Thomas called the Saturday hiring “disrespectful” in a recent rant:
“When you hire your drinking buddy to be the coach of an NFL football team, it is one of the most disrespectful things I have ever seen in my entire life to the commitment, the lifestyle, and experience it takes to be an NFL coach — any coach, must less the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts,” Thomas said. “You have got to be kidding me.”
All eyes will be on the Colts on Sunday as they face off against the Las Vegas Raiders on the road in Week 10. Will Jeff Saturday prove critics wrong and pull out a victory against the Raiders? Or, will Colts owner Jim Irsay look like a clown for the controversial hire? Only time will tell.