Jim Irsay and Jeff Saturday

Jim Irsay has been widely criticized for hiring Jeff Saturday as interim coach of the Indianapolis Colts, and that’s before critics even heard the full story.

According to NFL.com‘s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero, the Colts owner made the hire “over the advice of his team’s top executives, who tried to talk Irsay out of it.”

Irsay hired Saturday, who has no coaching experience above the high school level, last Monday to replace ousted coach Frank Reich. The hiring immediately drew criticism around the league, given Irsay passed up more qualified Black assistant coaches in favor of Saturday. CBS Sports analyst Bill Cowher said the hiring was “A disgrace to the coaching profession.”

The NFL.com report states that Colts president Pete Ward and general manager Chris Ballard were among those who expressed their reservations to Irsay.

“But sources say Irsay was hellbent on hiring Saturday,” the report states.

Saturday, a six-time Pro Bowl center with the Colts, has been hailed for his leadership abilities. He defended his hiring Wednesday in a talk with reporters.

“Here’s the deal: I’m completely comfortable in who I am as a man,” Saturday said (via NFL.com). “I know I can lead men. I know I know the game of football, and I’m passionate about it. I have no fear about are you as qualified as somebody else. Bro, I spent 14 years in a locker room. I went to the playoffs 12 times. I’ve got five dudes in the Hall of Fame that played with me.

“You don’t think I’ve seen greatness? You don’t think I’ve seen how people prepare? How they coach? How they GM? How they work? I’ve won (one Super Bowl), been to two.”

[NFL.com]

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.