The Indianapolis Colts rebounded nicely from last week’s Josh McDaniels fiasco. They announced the hiring Sunday of Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich as their next head coach.
The Colts could not get the offensive coordinator of the Super Bowl loser. They emerged with the offensive coordinator of the Super Bowl winner instead.
“Frank has all the ingredients of a successful head coach: intelligence, innovation, character, organizational and leadership skills, and a commanding presence,” Colts owner Jim Irsay said in a written statement. “He also has a stellar reputation, and his myriad of life experiences and the people he has worked with make him the perfect fit for us and our fans. I feel extremely fortunate and could not be more excited for Colts Nation and the future of our franchise.”
Reich will be formally introduced at a news conference Tuesday, the Colts said. Reich signed his contract Sunday.
“We are excited to have Frank Reich as our new head coach,” General Manager Chris Ballard said in a written statement. “Frank is a leader of men who will demand excellence from our players on and off the field. I look forward to working with Frank to deliver a championship-caliber team to the city of Indianapolis.”
The deal with Reich came after the Colts were snubbed last week by McDaniels, the offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots. The Colts interviewed McDaniels twice before the Super Bowl for the head coaching vacancy created when they fired Chuck Pagano after a season in which they went 4-12.
Under league rules, the Colts could not make the hiring of McDaniels official until after the Super Bowl. McDaniels agreed to a deal with the Colts. The Colts announced the agreement Tuesday and scheduled McDaniels’s introductory news conference for Wednesday. But McDaniels informed Ballard on Tuesday evening that he had changed his mind and was staying in New England.
Ballard vowed that the Colts would emerge with a qualified coach who was committed to being in Indianapolis, and they turned to a second-time-around list of candidates that included Reich, New Orleans Saints tight ends coach Dan Campbell and Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. Things moved quickly, and Reich emerged Sunday as the choice.
“There’s a lot of good coaches out there,” Ballard said at a news conference Wednesday. “There’s a lot of good assistant coaches out there. Everybody gets in panic mode and just starts hiring. I don’t believe in that. … We will get the right leader for this organization. We will get good assistant coaches. And we’re going to win.”
But in Reich, the Colts are getting the coordinator of an offense that sparkled in a 41-33 triumph over the Patriots in the Super Bowl. It’s not clear exactly how to divide the credit among Reich, a former NFL quarterback, and the other masterminds of the Philadelphia offense, Coach Doug Pederson and quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo. But it does appear there is enough credit to go around, with DeFilippo off to Minnesota as the Vikings’ offensive coordinator and now Reich on his way to Indianapolis as a first-time NFL head coach.
Much will depend, of course, on the return of Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, who missed all of the just-completed season when his recovery from shoulder surgery did not go as expected. But the Colts, at least for now, appear to have steadied themselves after the jolt delivered to them last week by McDaniels’s abrupt change of heart.
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