Bill Cowher calls Jeff Saturday a ‘disgrace to the profession’ amid reports that Colts executives tried to talk Jim Irsay out of it



The Indianapolis Colts‘ hiring of a former ESPN player and analyst Jeff Saturday will replace Frank Reich as head coach was shocking and the reviews keep pouring in.

Former NFL player and coach Bill Cowher called it a “travesty” in an emotional statement Sunday morning, and we learned that senior Colts employees weren’t supportive of the move.

According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport, several top Colts executives, including Pete Ward and general manager Chris Ballard tried to dissuade owner Jim Irsay from hiring on Saturdaybut were unable to convince him to hire someone with coaching experience above a Catholic high school in Georgia.

Irsay was described as “hellish” when he was hired on Saturday, but he may have done so without considering the ramifications – not only among the players, but also among the coaching staff. Without Reich, who handled the game calls, and offensive coordinator Marcus Bradywho was dismissed several weeks ago, there was no one to call offensive plays.

The Colts finally opted for a 30-year-old player passes play specialist/assistant quarterbacks coach Parks Frazier as point guard, even though he never called any games in the NFL.

Apparently Frazier wasn’t their first choice. According to Pelissero and Rapoport, quarterbacks coach Scott Milanovich was the first choice for the position, but Milanovich turned him down after they offered him without reviewing his current contract.

So why would Irsay hire Saturday if it was going to cause so much upheaval (and probably grumbling from many Colts coaches with far more experience who were passed over for this job)? The real reason is only known to Irsay, but Saturday’s “leadership” qualities were apparently a big factor. Saturday stressed that he “knows (s) how to lead men” during Wednesday’s introductory press conference. And those leadership qualities are already useful, according to Pelissero and Rapoport.

[Saturday] has natural leadership traits, which sources say have already manifested as Saturday navigated an unprecedented situation with coaches and players to prepare the team for today’s game against the Raiders in Las Vegas.

Saturday rental continues to draw criticism

Although it’s reported that the Colts’ top executives have reportedly expressed reservations about Saturday’s hiring, NFL analysts and former players have continued to hammer the move. CBS NFL analyst Bill Cowher, who spent more than 20 years as an assistant and head coach in the NFL, was outraged when he spoke about it Sunday morning. He unleashed a blistering rant on the Colts, criticizing Saturday’s hiring as a real embarrassment to the coaching profession.

“I speak on behalf of the coaching profession: I know full well that Jeff Saturday has been offered the opportunity to become an assistant coach for the Indianapolis Colts several times over the past four years,” said Cowher. “He declined, citing that he had a TV job and wanted to spend more time with his family. I get it. Coaching is about commitment and sacrifice. It’s not just a Work is a lifestyle.That being said, Jeff Saturday took the position this year as a consultant for the Colts, and he spoke to them weekly from his home in Atlanta.

“Now, to find out in a short period of time that he’s the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts overseeing a staff that he chose not to pick because of a lifestyle – Jeff Saturday spoke in a press conference about the fact that he’s going to use this as a chance to build his resume and see if he can coach in the future I say to that, what about the assistants staff right now? The guys that were there at training camp and there early in the morning and late at night?… Don’t they deserve this opportunity? For an owner to hire a trainer who never been an assistant at the college or professional level and who oversees a large number of qualified candidates to build a resume, it is a disgrace to the coaching profession As far as how it went, what happened happened in Indianapolis is a travesty.”

Saturday will make his NFL coaching debut (and Frazier will make his playing debut) against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday.

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay reportedly hired Jeff on Saturday as interim head coach on his senior staff’s reserves. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

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