Peyton Manning Reacts to Colts Hiring Jeff Saturday

by Dustin Schutte
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Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

When it comes to the Indianapolis Colts hiring Jeff Saturday as the interim head coach, Peyton Manning was just like the rest of us: confused. That’s right, even a Pro Football Hall of Famer, NFL legend and longtime member of the Colts organization couldn’t really figure it out.

Monday, the Colts announced the termination of head coach Frank Reich after a disappointing 3-5-1 start to the season. That part wasn’t overly shocking. The decision to bring in Saturday — with no college or professional coaching experience — is a different story.

Manning talked about the team’s decision during the ManningCast on Monday Night Football.

“I was surprised, I didn’t know anything about it,” Manning said. “I talked to Jeff. It’s a big challenge. Jeff’s made of the right stuff; he was the ultimate teammate. My locker was right next to him. He’s a high-character guy. He’s a great leader.”

Manning and Saturday were teammates for over a decade in Indianapolis. The two won Super Bowl XLI together and earned numerous Pro Bowl selections during their careers for their offensive prowess.

So, Manning was surprised by the Colts’ decision, he does believe Saturday has what it takes to be successful. But that doesn’t mean it will come easy. Especially for a guy who’s been working as an analyst for ESPN recently.

Colts Owner Jim Irsay Speaks on Jeff Saturday’s Hiring

Jim Irsay probably knew his decision to bring in Jeff Saturday would spark conversation. But it sounds like the former Colts center was always the top choice to replace Frank Reich.

“He’s the best man for the job,” Irsay said. “And there’s no question about it in my mind. I’ve been around (football) a long time. He’s extremely tough and he’s a leader. You have to be a great thinker, work with people, be open-minded, create a culture where people trust you. You have to have experience, draw on experience in your life. (And) you know it when you see it.”

One of the reasons Irsay loved Saturday? That he had no NFL coaching experience. Yes, that’s right, he liked that the former center hadn’t been exposed to the “analytics” of the game, potentially altering his thinking.

“Now, I’m glad he doesn’t have NFL experience,” Irsay told reporters. “And that he hasn’t learned the fear that’s in this league.”

There’s only one way to know if Saturday can turn things around in Indianapolis. We’re about to find out pretty darn quick, too.