I like to say that we over here at Deadspin started the unofficial petition to prevent Jeff Saturday from becoming the next full-time head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. The backlash to Saturday getting the nod over many qualified candidates who have —get this — coached football before, was so large that Twitter did the thing where they tried to make people feel bad for being upset. However, the anger is persisting, and it’s grown into an actual petition after Saturday made the cut.
There have been multiple tweets about owner Jim Irsay’s desire to hire essentially a yes man for head coach despite people in his (apparently useless) circle voicing concerns. Those concerns amount to what exactly did Saturday do during his 1-7 tenure as interim to merit a head coaching job? In its story about the petition, the Indianapolis Star had some stats for the anti-Saturday camp, and even for the internet, they were shocking. A -87 point differential in those eight games chief among them.
According to the story, there have been more than 1,500 verified signatures on the petition, which went live Wednesday. I’m just imagining some guy in a Reggie Wayne jersey standing outside the Kroger asking people to support the societal ill that is Jeff Saturday coaching the local football team. It’s also one of the few things that I’d actually stop to put my Herbie Hancock on, and I have no opinion about the Colts other than Saturday shouldn’t be the head coach.
Hopefully, those pledging their support are doing so because it’s a bad hire but also because it’s further evidence of the NFL’s alleged hiring practices. The Colts have reportedly shown interest in several Black coaches, but they have to do that to fulfill the Rooney Rule. If Saturday is brought on to be the next coach, the league might as well just Venmo Brian Flores and the rest of the defendants that day.
General manager Chris Ballard said of the upcoming future-altering decision: “Ultimately, Mr. Irsay makes the final call.”
I wouldn’t exactly call that a harbinger of hope, and it makes me wish that removing an owner was as easy as signing a petition. It sounds like whoever directed Frank Reich to switch to Sam Ehlinger (because he’s more mobile) is in charge, and that’s scarier than Saturday calling the shots.
Shared in the Indy Star article was a Twitter survey regarding how fans felt about the possibility of Saturday getting the nod, and the overwhelming response was “Hate it.” I’m not a proponent of fan service in my sports or my IP because I’d like to genuinely believe in trusting that people who were hired to do the job are more capable than Andy from Pawnee.
That said, I’d trust Chris Pratt to pick the next Colts coach over Irsay.