Jim Irsay and Jeff Saturday Colts owner Jim Irsay and new interim head coach Jeff Saturday have a laugh during Monday’s introductory press conference. Syndication The Indianapolis Star

A prominent organization has launched an inquiry into whether the Indianapolis Colts followed procedure before hiring interim coach Jeff Saturday.

The Fritz Pollard Alliance, a non-profit foundation that promotes diversity in the NFL, announced Tuesday that, “In light of the recent interim head coaching hire in Indianapolis, the FPA has initiated an inquiry with the NFL into whether this hiring process conformed with NFL Hiring Guidelines for naming an interim Head Coach.”

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport shared the news.

Colts owner Jim Irsay’s decision last week to hire Saturday, who has no head coaching experience above the high school level, brought an onslaught of criticism. The fact Irsay had passed over so many qualified Black head coaching candidates with more experience rankled many critics. CBS Sports analyst Bill Cowher said the hiring was “a disgrace to the coaching profession.”

The Colts did not violate the Rooney Rule in hiring Saturday. That rule, designed to promote more Black head coaches in the league, did not apply in this case because of the time constraints in hiring an interim coach. However, the Fritz Pollard Alliance issued a statement last week saying that it exposed, “a gap in the league’s stated objective. If the spirit of the rule is to expand opportunities, we believe that it must be consistently applied, even in the hiring of interim positions.”

A few days ago, a report surfaced that Irsay had ignored the team’s top executives in hiring Saturday. One source said Irsay seemed “hellbent on hiring Saturday.”

Saturday, a six-time Pro Bowl center with the Colts, won his debut game as head coach last weekend against the Las Vegas Raiders.

The Fritz Pollard Alliance honors the man who in 1921 became the first Black head coach in the NFL.

[Ian Rapoport]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.