The Indianapolis Colts, one of two teams remaining with a head-coaching vacancy along with the Arizona Cardinals, have taken another towards finding Frank Reich’s full-time successor. They recently eliminated three candidates for the position: New York Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka (per ESPN), defensive coordinator Wink Martindale (Bally Sports) and Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan (Sports Illustrated).
Those names being crossed off leaves seven coaches whom Indianapolis has interviewed who haven’t been ruled out yet: Colts special team coordinator Bubba Ventrone, Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, Kansas City City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Colts interim head coach Jeff Saturday, and Green Bay Packers special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia.
A new Colts head coach likely won’t be named until after the conclusion of Super Bowl LVII on Sunday given that two of the remaining candidates, Steichen and Bieniemy, are coaching in the big game.
One of the likely reasons as to why Indianapolis is taking its time with such an extensive search is the blowback it received by giving its interim head coaching gig to former player Jeff Saturday. The six-time Pro Bowl and two-time first-team All-Pro center spent 13 of his 14 career seasons with the Colts from 1999-2011 as Hall of Famer Peyton Manning’s center. One of his Pro Bowl seasons occurred in the high point of Irsay’s tenure as owner, the 2006 season, which culminated in the franchise winning Super XLI over the Chicago Bears.
The 47-year-old Saturday retired from the NFL following the 2012 season with the Green Bay Packers, and he then went into TV as an analyst for ESPN. When Reich was fired nine games into the 2022 season, Irsay plucked Saturday out of the ESPN studios and plopped him onto the Colts sideline as interim head coach despite his most extensive coaching experience coming at the high school level. That decision led to blowback around the league and from fans at his selection over other more experienced and diverse Colts current assistant coaches on staff. Saturday won his interim head coaching debut in Week 10 at the Las Vegas Raiders before losing the final seven games of the season, including the biggest single-game collapse in NFL history: Indianapolis blew a 33-0 halftime lead against the Minnesota Vikings in a 39-36 overtime loss in Week 15.
Some Colts fans started a petition on Change.org called “Don’t hire Jeff Saturday as head coach.” The petition currently has more than 4,000 signatures.