Colts News & Rumors: Did Jim Irsay hire Jeff Saturday despite GM Chris Ballard & COO Pete Ward’s warning?
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay shocked the NFL world this week by firing Frank Reich and subsequently hiring Jeff Saturday as his new head coach. Of course, Saturday has zero coaching experience at the college or NFL level.
This was clearly a decision driven by ownership and no one else. The move has led to endless debates about this being a true slap in the face to coaches who have spent years grinding in the profession.
As it turns out, this move was fought back against internally. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero dropped a report explaining how both GM Chris Ballard and Team President Pete Ward tried to sway Irsay from his wishes.
Jim Irsay flexed his power as Colts owner
Irsay, as with any NFL owner, has the final say in any personnel decision regarding his Colts. In this case, he decided he wanted to forgo a traditional hiring process and go with a team legend in Saturday.
The fallout from this has been heavy, which explains why both Ballard and Ward fought against it. Traditionally, the GM and other executives will decide on who to hire as head coach. In this case, there was no search involved at all, other than the owner deciding on who to pick.
This move will have a direct impact not only on the players but on the assistant coaches and the front office as well. If Saturday comes in and fails, everyone could have their job at risk. And if he does end up succeeding, that gives him more power even after a small sample size as head coach.
Irsay opened himself up to a lot of criticism with the hiring of his new head coach. However, there is no risk of an owner being fired for a bad decision. So even if Ballard and Ward disagree, they either have to accept the decision or resign.
Saturday and the Colts got off to a nice start against the Las Vegas Raiders and took the lead into halftime. A pro debut win for Saturday will certainly aid the Colts owner’s argument for hiring a former player to lead his team.
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