The Indianapolis Colts’ hiring of Jeff Saturday as their interim head coach has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, and you can count Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Fame head coach Bill Cowher in that group.
Saturday was an All-Pro center for the Colts and is a legend in Indianapolis, but he wasn’t even on the Colts’ coaching staff. Heck, he’s never been an assistant coach at the college or NFL level. Saturday just served as a consultant for the Colts and talked to them weekly from his home in Atlanta.
The decision by Colts owner Jim Irsay to hire Saturday reeks of cronyism, and Cowher is livid about it.
“What about the assistants on this staff right now?” Cowher said on the CBS pregame show. “The guys that were there in training camp. The guys that were there early in the morning and late at night. The guys that gone through the first (nine) weeks in that building. Guys like Gus Bradley, Scottie Montgomery, John Fox. Don’t they deserve the opportunity?”
Cowher finds it to be a “disgrace to the coaching profession” for Irsay to hire Saturday.
“For an owner to hire a coach who’s never been an assistant at the college level or the pro level, and to oversee a lot of candidates that are qualified for that job, as we see in (Carolina Panthers interim head coach)Steve Wilks, an opportunity to build a resume … It’s a disgrace to the coaching profession,” Cowher said passionately. “And regardless (of) how this thing plays out, what happened in Indianapolis is a travesty.”
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) November 13, 2022
The hiring of Saturday is personal for Cowher, as he worked his way up the coaching ranks after he retired from the NFL as a player. He just wasn’t handed a head coaching job with no experience.
“I played in the National Football League for five years, I went on to become an assistant coach right from playing to coaching. I was an assistant coach for seven years,” Cowher said. “Blessed to be able to go to Pittsburgh and be a head coach at the age of 34 for 15 years. I’m speaking on behalf of the coaching profession. I know for a fact that Jeff Saturday was offered an opportunity to become an assistant coach with the Indianapolis Colts multiple times in the last four years. 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 it’s about sacrifice. It’s not just a job, it’s a lifestyle.”
Cowher finds it ironic that Saturday is now overseeing a staff that he chose not to join because of a lifestyle. Saturday led the Colts to a 25-20 win over the Las Vegas Raiders in his coaching debut on Sunday.