Jeff Saturday is, by all accounts, a really nice guy. The kind of dude you’d love to grab a beer with and share anecdotes a good friend. These qualities got him hired as interim head coach of the Colts, and note that none of them include “good football coach.” Five games into his tenure it’s safe to say that Saturday is on track to be the worst NFL coach of all time.
Jeff Saturday is on track to be the worst NFL coach of all-time, and his critics were right© Jenna Watson-USA TODAY Sports
Every critique of Colts’ owner Jim Irsay still stands. He hired a friend instead of making a good football decision. Irsay wanted praise for thinking “outside the box,” by hiring someone woefully unqualified to lead his football team — which is tantamount to missing the toilet and pooping on the floor, then wanting a present for not soiling your pants.
Hell, Irsay was all over Twitter after Indianapolis won their first game under Saturday — celebrating early. You never celebrate early.
Irsay wanted to “prove the pundits wrong,” but since that point the Colts have lost five games straight. It’s a small sample, but Saturday’s .166 record needs wins to avoid being cemented as the worst of all-time. With each passing week Saturday keeps making history for ineptitude, now holding the record for the worst collapse in NFL history by giving up 39 second half points to the Vikings, and more subjectively one of the most hilarious coaching bungles ever by benching Matt Ryan ahead of Monday Night Football in favor of Nick Foles, who subsequently played so horribly that Joe Buck had jokes.
Jeff Saturday is so out of his depth it’s painful to watch, and this was so obviously avoided. When the Panthers fired Matt Rhule they turned the team over to Steve Wilks, who had head coaching experience. The Broncos just named Jerry Rosburg as their interim, and he has over 20 years of NFL coaching under his belt. Saturday had a 20-16 record coaching Hebron Christian Academy in a suburb of Atlanta. Irsay didn’t look far for an interim coach, because he didn’t want to look far.
The joy isn’t so much about mocking Saturday for being bad, but preening that Irsay’s nepotism failed so horrifically. Believe it or not, there are good reasons why there are traditions in the NFL, and that includes “having a head coach who knows how to coach.” Re-inventing the wheel just isn’t something that happens overnight in pro football, especially when it comes to something like basic coaching principles.
We needed this stupid experiment to explode for the good of football, not because it’s fun to laugh at the Colts — but because it would have given a blank check to every NFL owner who would much rather give their friend a job than provide an opportunity to an up-and-coming coordinator, who are increasingly people of color. Every vacancy would have included at least one random friend or hanger on, under the auspices of “it worked with Jeff Saturday in Indy,” subjecting fans to mediocrity and suffering unqualified coaches until this trend petered out like every team developing a wildcat package after it worked for the Dolphins in 2008.
Irsay will get to waltz away from this. He’ll hire a real head coach in the offseason and return Saturday to being his off-field buddy. The Colts’ owner will tweet some classic rock lyrics as a metaphor for his bad decision making, and the world will keep on spinning. Meanwhile Saturday will become the final frame in a “worst NFL coaches of all time” slideshow, where we’ll forever remember the time an owner made a mockery of the game in service of his hubris.