Indianapolis Colts interim head coach Jeff Saturday passionately defended his hiring during a press conference with the media on Wednesday, saying while he “appreciates” the concern surrounding his lack of experience as a coach — he’s been around enough “greatness” to take on the challenge.
Colts’ owner Jim Isray has faced criticism over Saturday’s hiring, mainly because he has no experience in the collegiate or professional world of coaching, but also because of the Rooney Rule, which aims to “increase the number of minorities hired” for coaching and executive positions.
Unprovoked, Saturday addressed those concerns and vowed that the team would do its due diligence when looking to permanently fill that position.
“My role here is for eight games. When this is over, they will do an exhaustive search and pick whoever their best candidate is to be the head coach of the Colts. If I’m considered, I’d be honored. I have no idea where this thing is gonna go. Not even a little bit,” he told reporters.
“I’m completely comfortable with who I am as a man. I know I can lead men. I know I know the game of football, and I’m passionate about it. I have no fear of ‘Are you as qualified as someone else?’ I spent 14 years in a locker room. I went to the playoffs 12 times. I’ve got five dudes in the Hall of Fame that played with me. You don’t think I’ve seen greatness? You don’t think I’ve seen how people prepare? How they coach? How they GM? How they work? I won a Super Bowl, been to two.”
Saturday continued: “Here’s the deal man. None of us are promised a good job. I may be terrible at this and after eight games I’ll say ‘God Bless you, I am no good.’ I may be really good at it. I have no idea but I dang sure ain’t gonna back down. I can tell you that.”
An NFL spokesperson told the Indianapolis Star that the Rooney Rule does not apply to interim head coaching positions but must be addressed at the conclusion of the season and before the position is filled.
The Rooney Rule was adopted in 2003. According to the NFL, “clubs must interview at least two diverse candidates … or a diverse candidate not currently employed by the club.”
Isray said Monday that he was “glad” that Saturday didn’t have any NFL experience as a coach.
“I’m glad he hasn’t learned the fear that’s in this league because it’s tough for all our coaches,” Irsay said. “They’re afraid, they go to analytics, and it gets difficult. … He doesn’t have that fear.”
Saturday also announced that Parks Frazier, the Colts’ assistant quarterbacks coach, would be taking over play calling duties.