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On Monday afternoon, it was announced that Jeff Saturday, an ESPN analyst, would become the Indianapolis Colts new interim head coach, effective immediately. This comes after Colts owner, Jim Irsay fired Frank Reich, who had coached there for nearly five seasons.
By Monday night, Irsay was already defended his stunning decision to hire former Colts all-pro center as his team’s interim head coach, claiming the first-time NFL coach is “fully experienced enough” and “fully capable.”
As reported by ESPN, it is Saturday’s first coaching experience above the high school level. At the time of the hiring, many pointed out that fellow Colts legend, Reggie Wayne, is currently on the team’s staff as a wide receiver coach. Prior to that, he volunteered with the team as a coach as well.
Reggie Wayne played for 14 years, is also in the Colts ring of honor and is actually an assistant coach on the Colts right now.
Why didn’t Jim Irsay just hire him? https://t.co/TAuiP9Qyuy
— Colb (@___Colb___) November 7, 2022
Though not as bad as we’ve seen in the NBA, white men are routinely given opportunities they flatly do not deserve and have not earned. Two years ago, former NBA great, Steve Nash, was handed the Brooklyn Nets head coaching job with zero experience and has since flamed out, losing his job only days into this year’s season.
“Shock would be an understatement,” says Saturday.
Equally confused by his own hiring, Saturday says he asked Irsay what makes him a qualified candidate, Irsay responded complimenting his “leadership.” Irsay added, “I’m glad he doesn’t have NFL experience, I’m glad he hasn’t learned the fear of being in this league. It’s tough for our coaches. They’re afraid. They go to analytics and it gets difficult. He doesn’t have all that.”
As Brian Flores sues the NFL and its teams for racial discrimination throughout the hiring process, owners like Jim Irsay continue to illustrate why such lawsuits are filed in the first place. Jeff Saturday was plucked from ESPN because Irsay — like the overwhelming majority of NFL owners —wants someone in the room they’re comfortable with, and preferably without Black skin.
Irsay saying the inexperienced Saturday is the right man for the job because he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know rings hollow and thinly veils the actual truth. When Black coaching candidates are interviewed for a head coaching position, it is because they are highly qualified to do so and they wouldn’t be invited in the room without that experience . However, an owner — NBA or NFL — hiring someone in their good ol’ boy network without any on-the-job experience is a slap in the face to the Black assistant coaches on their teams who are continually overlooked and undervalued.
Quarterback coaches like Eric Bieniemy and Byron Leftwich have worked with two of the greatest QB’s of all time in Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady, leading both to Super Bowl victories. Yet, both Leftwich and Bieniemy continually starve for an NFL head coaching position; meanwhile a man with no proven expertise, player relationships, “leadership,” or organizational know-how is overfed with a silver spoon.
At the press conference, Saturday expressed his mediocre expectations. “I have no preconceived notion that I’m going to be some ‘spectacular anything,’ I know I have to work hard and I’m auditioning for not only this one, but 31 others just like everybody else in this game,” said Saturday.
As a few folks have pointed out in the mentions, Reggie Wayne is on Indy's coaching staff.
He's in the Colts ring of honor, and more qualified for this job than Jeff Saturday. pic.twitter.com/iRBIfDG8th
— Richard🇬🇾Johnson (@RJ_Writes) November 7, 2022