Joe Thomas: Jeff Saturday hire was “most egregious thing I can ever remember happening in the NFL”

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Much has been written and said this week about the way-outside-the-box decision from Colts owner Jim Irsay to make former Colts center Jeff Saturday the interim head coach, despite Saturday having only three years of coaching experience, all at the high-school level.

Former Browns left tackle Joe Thomas shared his thoughts on the situation earlier today, on NFL Network. Thomas did not mince words.

“When I saw this, I thought it was a joke,” Thomas said. “It was the most egregious thing I can ever remember happening in the NFL, and I went 1-31 my last two years in the NFL.”

That comment came near the end of the three-minute rant. Here’s how it started.

“When you hire your drinking buddy to be the head coach of an NFL football team, it is one of the most disrespectful things I’ve ever seen in my entire life to the commitment, the lifestyle, and the experience that it takes to be an NFL coach — any coach — much less the head coach of the Indianapolis Football Colts,” Thomas said. “You have got to be kidding me that this is something that Jim Irsay and Jeff Saturday, who’s not blameless for accepting the job, could have talked and decided that this was the best thing for the Indianapolis Colts at this juncture of the season.”

Saturday definitely isn’t blameless. As pointed out earlier this week, the Colts twice tried to hire Saturday as an assistant coach. If he’d taken the job, it would have been much easier to sell the notion of putting him in charge.

So why didn’t Saturday pounce on the opportunity to become a position coach? Did he not want the hours and stress unless he was the head coach? Regardless, he’ll be getting all the hours and stress he can handle, and then some.

“The commitment that it takes to be a head coach is beyond what people can even comprehend, unless you’ve been in that locker room,” Thomas said, pointing to the example created by one-and-done Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski. “He saw his children one time every week. . . . If it was a home game, he would get to see his kids two times every week. . . . That’s a lifestyle. That’s who you are. That’s not something that you can just show up for. It’s not something you sign up for. This is something that changes your life when you decide to be a coach. It’s one of the reasons I don’t want to coach. Because I want to see my children. I want to have a life outside of football.

“When you’re a coach in the NFL, you do not have a life outside of football. Why do you think coaches never retire? What are they going to do? They’ve never developed any other parts of their life.”

And so, instead of entrusting the job to someone who already has made that commitment, Irsay plucked a former player from a much easier lifestyle as an ESPN analyst. It was an affront to all of the people who have put in the time, demonstrated the effort, and honed their skills through work and work and work.

“The disrespect that NFL coaches have to feel when they saw that this hire was made is higher than almost anything I can ever possibly remember in the NFL,” Thomas said. “And then to defend the decision by saying, ‘I’m happy that he doesn’t have any experience because he’s not scared.’ Like, if you didn’t already insult every person that’s worked their entire life to be a coach in the NFL then to go up there and say, ‘I like that he has no experience because all of y’all NFL coaches are scared because you use logic and analytics to make decisions’?”

Thomas is right, and not just because he’s saying things we’ve already said. (But it helps.) No self-respecting coach should agree to interview for the Colts’ head-coaching job after the season, especially since it already feels as if Irsay will find a way to justify giving the job to Saturday, even if he goes 0-8.

58 responses to “Joe Thomas: Jeff Saturday hire was “most egregious thing I can ever remember happening in the NFL”

  1. Talk about shortsighted, jealous, and good way to ruin your reputation.. Jeff Saturday will prove to be good hire who opens doors for players to fast track to coaching.

  2. hey news flash, this is america and irsay is the boss, he can hire who he wants, its his team to ruin. also, this is america, people get jobs, positions, chances that they dont deserve all the time in every walk of life so lets just stop whining and see how this plays out.

  3. I don’t understand this hire at all. It’s almost as if Irsay is just checked out and has decided to let his buddy play head coach, whatever may or may not happen. Most IDGAF moment in NFL history if true.

  4. Get over it. Seems like Joe and media feel there is an entitlement and rigid rule set to follow for coaching. It’s a private business, one you don’t understand or have experience to be involved in. The owner can choose any direction to hire. Stop with the butt hurt “he don’t pay his dues” nonsense.

  5. Regardless what anyone thinks, at the end of the day Irsay is THE property owner which makes him THE decider of HIS property. This doesn’t make him immune to criticism, but it is vitally important to understand that THE property owner is THE decider of that property.

  6. Coaching hires are commonly nepotism. This one is to the extreme because of the lack of experience but we have seen nepotism in the NFL in all front office hires.

  7. For such a non essential occupation it sounds perfectly legit to me … not like they are out there saving lives .

  8. Saturday will not be under stress. He was hired to tank the team and doing that takes no effort or stress at all.

    Nepotism isn’t a problem when the hire is qualified. In fact, growing up as the son of a coach prepares them for eventually being a coach. They understand the effort required and they get to see what works and what doesn’t work.

    THis isn’t nepotism. It’s cronyism.

  9. It would be even more interesting if Saturday succeeds. I could totally see itchy Jimmy Haslam decide to blow it all up, and want to bring in Joe to coach the Browns. Would Joe just turn him down? It would be the most Browns thing ever!

  10. u4iadman says:
    November 11, 2022 at 11:26 am
    Get over it. Seems like Joe and media feel there is an entitlement and rigid rule set to follow for coaching. It’s a private business, one you don’t understand or have experience to be involved in. The owner can choose any direction to hire. Stop with the butt hurt “he don’t pay his dues”


    Two things can be true. As a private business owner it’s true you can hire whoever you choose to. It still makes no sense to make a moronic decision which is the whole point of the discussion.

  11. naturallawandselfownership says:
    November 11, 2022 at 11:28 am
    Regardless what anyone thinks, at the end of the day Irsay is THE property owner which makes him THE decider of HIS property. This doesn’t make him immune to criticism, but it is vitally important to understand that THE property owner is THE decider of that property.
    It appears that HE is tired of playing Monopoly and wants to flip the board.

  12. Joe Thomas is absolutely right. There are many guys who have been working their butts off for years in hopes that they will land a head coaching job. To be passed over for a guy with practically zero experience is a slap in the face. Jeff Saturday was a great center in his NFL career. Does that mean that he will be a good head coach? I doubt it. Irsay is a clown.

  13. And I wonder how Joe felt when he took somebody’s spot without paying his dues? He was handed a starting job. Ahhh how the memory chooses to select what’s right and wrong.

  14. I’d like to see this play out. Hopefully Saturday does a good job. Better than promoting other coaches already on the staff. Why promote someone who’s part of the reason why the team is losing? Go a different route.

  15. Is football more strenuous or needs more commitment than any other sport? Dozens of people have been hired as baseball managers and basketball coaches sho had no experience as duch. Some did well and some did not. Some football coaches spent years as coaches before being HCs & some didn’t. And whether you’ve been a long-time coach or not, yhe success rate for HCs is small. The HC in Detroit is not an x & o guy, but a rah rah guy. People praised his hiring. No bigger paid his dues guy than McDaniel in Denver and they want to fire him after 8 games. In short, there’s no formula for success fir HCs and we’ll just have to wait & see.

  16. naturallawandselfownership says:
    November 11, 2022 at 11:28 am

    Regardless what anyone thinks, at the end of the day Irsay is THE property owner which makes him THE decider of HIS property. This doesn’t make him immune to criticism, but it is vitally important to understand that THE property owner is THE decider of that property.

    Remember, like with free speech it does not mean free of consequences.

    Meaning, Irsay can hire whomever he wants, in accordance with NFL hiring bylaws, but that does not mean that his players won’t quit on the team, his coaches won’t quit on the team, and the team become a laughing stock. The laughing stock part has already begun.

    I’ll LMAO if the Colts go draft a top level QB but they pull a Elway/Manning “I’m not playing for your crap organization” because of this.

    Maybe it works out and Irsay looks like a genius in the end. Everyone poo-pooed Sirianni last year and now he has the #1 team in football with an 8-0 record.

  17. And if Saturday goes 5-3 the rest of the year with Sam Elhinger as his QB, will you apologize and admit you were wrong?

  18. True, Irsay is the owner of HIS property, but the taxpayers also take a significant hit whenever any NFL team operates in their locale. So, yes, he can do what he wants with HIS property, but it’s on the backs of the citizens as well, football fans or not, to foot part of the bill.

  19. Now we know why Irsay was the loudest voice in the room when it came to Snyder. It’s always those who accuse others of being corrupt who are the ones planning to do something shady.

  20. Now you know why he was hand picked to go after Snyder. What dirt could anyone have on this guy that he doesn’t already lay out for everyone to see? It’s time for new ownership in Indy.

  21. naturallawandselfownership says:
    November 11, 2022 at 11:28 am
    Regardless what anyone thinks, at the end of the day Irsay is THE property owner which makes him THE decider of HIS property. This doesn’t make him immune to criticism, but it is vitally important to understand that THE property owner is THE decider of that property.

    The fallacy of your opinion that Irsay is the “property owner” is that, it’s not a totally private hiring situation. Here’s why: Despite the fact it was a transparently moronic hire for purely business sake, you ignore the very public interest involved. NEVER forget the citizen contribution to NFL teams. In most cases, we contribute a large portion of team revenue, through tax beaks, tax credits and referendum that builds and maintains stadiums. That hardly sounds like Irsay should not consider his ‘business-based decisions’ completely his & his alone. It affects way too many people in his city and state. That makes it of public concern what personnel moves he makes. WHO IS THE REAL OWNER? Irsay reaps the profit & the city pays the bills.

  22. I see the outrage Olympics are in full swing since bashing Jeff Saturday for being hired is an approved opinion.

  23. I can’t say if Saturday will be a good coach or a bad coach all I can say is the line is a long one for coaches waiting to get their shot with tons and tons of experience and he just jumped evra single one of em! Which doesn’t bode well for the organization as far as Karma is concerned. Because no matter what happens ol boy at the top has GOT to keep him going into next year right? ……


  24. All I got to say is its about as strange as Jone’s hiring Switzer after parting ways with Johnson

  25. Thomas, no doubt, speaks from experience and from the heart. I’m not sure the pressure being off the whole organization might not result in some wins but certainly not long-term success. Look what hiring Mayock did to the Raiders.

    To those of you espousing the “this is America, owners can do whatever they want” philosophy; actually, no they can’t. We have a long history of labor law, environmental protection, and public and private norms that limit excess. That philosophy is for egomaniac narcissists, not for prudent business owners that act to protect their assets, create wealth, and garner goodwill with employees, customers, vendors and local, state and federal officials.

  26. I wasn’t sure what I thought about this for a while until I heard how Richard Sherman, Andrew Whitworth & Ryan Fitzpatrick thoughts. They pointed out how the assistant coaches would essentially react like “what the f” to a new guy coming in that didn’t put in all the hours in OTAs, training camp; also time spent away from family, etc…to take orders from someone that was on TV a couple days ago. Saturday said he was capable of leading men & I don’t doubt that but even if he’s the best leader in the world, as they say, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. They might go through the motions for the rest of the year but if there’s no belief due to credibility, they’re not going to do the little things winning teams need to execute in order to be successful.

    I had a similar situation in my profession. I trained this guy, knew his background & it was definitely not a background i would believe in to follow. I eventually left to coach for a big time academy & directed a start up. Eventually, I was lead back to the original place & this guy I trained was in charge. I figured since I had such a strong reputation in the community, I could help but about a month in, it was clear how clueless this guy was. All his ideas basically came from magazines (I’m not even close to joking) and that, amongst many other things, was a big fat f’ing nope.

    Also, maybe more relevant, the guy who ran the pro shop, who hadn’t coached in over 10 years was now the first idiot’s boss. Between the 2 of them, it didn’t matter how they went about their jobs, they had no clout and coincidentally, the program was a shell of itself.

    So for those of you who think it doesn’t matter about Saturday not paying his dues, leading people is not just about X’s & O’s. He has to start with proving he’s not a joke aka winning games IMMEDIATELY & I don’t know how he does that with this team.

  27. At the end of the day Irsay was going to hire EXACTLY who he wanted to hire regardless of the FPA or Rooney Rule or whatever hoops they try to make owner’s hurdle to hire someone. Is this hire a slap in the face to qualified candidates REGARDLESS of their color – YES. But Irsay obviously likes the attention & Indianapolis certainly can’t get any worse!

  28. Pat McAfee was actually arguing that the Saturday hire will reduce racism in the NFL. LOL. The spin cycle is in full effect from some. I’m glad it’s not for others, like Thomas.

    I also think Saturday is getting a major pass, as this has been sold as something Irsay offered him, and he merely accepted. As he’s declined these assistant roles, he’s been angling to go straight to the top the whole time. He’s probably been undermining Reich to Irsay all season.

  29. “Disrespecting, disrespecting…disrespectful” that’s all what he said, like if your feelings are someone’s else responsibility, the owner hired who he wanted, is his freaking prerogative.

  30. Thomas drives me nuts, but he’s 100% right on this. It’s a total insult to all the coaches who have worked their asses off. Saturday is lucky and took the easy way out. He didn’t want the grind at a lower pay. Screw him.

  31. Football fans are so sensitive, they should play flag football since your feelings get hurt so much

  32. But Joe and any other player can retire and go straight into tv or radio and second guess coaches immediately. They don’t seem to be respecting the coaches and “the process” when they tell us what to do from the booth. A bit hypocritical.

  33. The part I still don’t get is Saturday’s motives. I assume he wants the job full-time but taking over with Reich’s staff midseason with basically no time to make major adjustments is not an easy path to success. Maybe he’s just crazy enough to think he can pull it off but that’s just not a good team no matter who is coaching them.

  34. He was a lifelong Cleveland Brown which means he knows all about egregious. Start with the QB your beloved team can’t wait to get on the field. Please. Entitled millionaire

  35. The most egregious NFL thing ever? Joe, didn’t you head up the players union and this is the most shocking appaling horrific thing you have ever seen in the NFL?
    I am going to go out on a limb here and say there are probably a few female employees with a Washington DC address that would disagree with you.
    Most egregiously.

  36. Mike, on your pod you said Rosenbloom and B Irsay traded Colts-Rams even up. Not true. Rosenbloom had Irsay add an extra $1 million! Rosenbloom was getting a glamour team in the second largest TV market, and HE conned Irsay into kicking in an extra mill. And the NFL owners thought Irsay was worthy to be in their group! For most accurate telling of that move and the move of the Browns to Bmore, get Jon Morgan’s book, Glory for Sale.

  37. That’s OK. If this doesn’t work out, Jeff can become the CEO of Johnson & Johnson. He’s got decades of experience of one of putting baby powder into his cleets so he’ll do fine as their CEO.

    Someone with no coaching experience at any level has no business as a HC of a team…especially a professional football team. It’s disrespectful to anyone who has worked their ass off to do this job. The players know it. He knows it.

  38. Hiring Saturday as interim coach is a good move. Someone who knows and cares about the organization to finish up the season and assess the roster and organization. Assistants around the league don’t want this interim position, they’ll want the real interview in the off season. Hiring someone you know and trust to run your business for toy while you look for your “Coach of the Future” is wise. The Colts have no need or desire to win games now. They’re on to the 2023/24 season. Assess the roster, how be head coach, draft as high as possible, return to prominence. That’s the plan. Stop bashing a wise move

  39. Do I see some jealousy here? Nobody offered Joe Thomas a head coaching job. There are a lot of ex-players like Richard Sherman and Joe Thomas who are all competing for media jobs. They’re trying to get something printed. I don’t blame these guys for doing their job. But I also don’t pay too much attention to what they say. Does anyone remember when Jed York fired Jim Harbaugh and hired Jim Tomsula in his place? Now that was about as bad as it gets. Jim Irsay has made a lot of questionable moves. A few years ago, he fired GM Ryan Grigson who had never had a losing season, and probably had a better winning percentage than 90% of all the GM’s in the history of the NFL. So if you were expecting Jim Irsay to do something that made sense, that’s your mistake.

  40. Irsay seems like an idiot with a lot of money, so I do not expect most of his decisions to make a ton of sense, but he may have a legitimate reason for this move…

    This was a purposeful 180-degree opposite way to hire and maybe he did it precisely for that reason. His last couple of coaching hires were well-respected “football guys” who had put in the time; built a resume; made the sacrifices and all that stuff. Where did that get the Colts? 3 playoff teams in the last 10 years, and some of those years included Luck at QB and a dominant O-line.
    Why keeping doing the same thing?

    It is ironic he fired Caldwell who made playoffs in 2 of his 3 years, and reached a Superbowl, but that’s an entirely different story.

  41. …and he’s saying that in the wake of Urban’s disaster in Jacksonville, the whole Mayock/Gruden shipwreck, Snyder’s BS…just incredible how the NFL continually tries to function.

  42. don’t disagree…but they also went out and won a game on Sunday. So…who knows? They’re 4-5-1…which is a helluva lot better than the Raiders. 1 game out of wildcard somehow. Probably only 2 games left on a hard schedule that they’ll win. Ultimately, it’s Irsay’s team. And I’m not a fan of the team. So do whatever you want. Just don’t be surprised next season when new coaches don’t want to coach for you, and potential new players are leery of playing for you.

  43. This is another example why you should never interview athletes or ex-athletes…they never have anything useful to say. If the Colts were supposed to tank, why did they win the first game?

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