According to Fox 59 Mike Chappell, former Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich was fired over the phone Monday morning by team owner Jim Irsay:
“That changed – his immediate future was turned upside down – with a Monday morning phone call from Jim Irsay,” Chappell writes.
“Around 10:45 a.m.,” Reich told Chappell, when he received the news from Irsay.
“They talked – Reich mostly listened – and Irsay informed his head coach that he was fired after more than four seasons,” Chappell noted in his recent chat with Reich. “The news came less than 24 hours after the Reich Colts were passed by the New England Patriots 26-3. Irsay was unavailable for a one-on-one, so the two are expected to meet in the coming weeks.
It’s not necessarily a big public eye for the Colts franchise that Reich wasn’t told about his dismissal face-to-face by the team’s senior management.
He wasn’t bad Urban Meyer of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Or even Bobby Petrino of the Atlanta Falcons for that matter.
It was Frank Reich, a former member of the Colts coaching staff (even as Peyton Manning’s quarterbacks coach from 2009-2010) long before he became head coach in 2018 for Indianapolis.
By all accounts, Reich was a stand-up individual and a well-respected leader of men, who even though he eventually lost the dressing room this season, was still well regarded by his players as a person and a coach respectively.
He’s the same guy who had a winning record (40-33-1) despite five different starting quarterbacks in as many seasons. He had been with the Colts for five years, never having made negative headlines for his personal conduct or his behavior on the sidelines or outside of them.
However, he couldn’t even get a man-to-man meeting with Irsay?
For what it’s worth, Reich has only hit the high road since being relieved of his head coaching duties with the Colts:
“But I understand the business side of things,” Reich said via Chappell. “I have enormous respect for Mr. Irsay and have come to trust his instincts and his knowledge of the game. I just know he is doing what he thinks is best for the team.
And everything indicates that he would still be the active head coach of the Colts if former great center Jeff Saturday had not accepted the interim position earlier Monday morning:
Irsay says if Saturday hadn’t taken the job, “we wouldn’t be here today.” #Colts
—George Bremer (@gmbremer) November 8, 2022
However, to me, it seems entirely logical that Irsay’s conversations with Saturday about his assumption of the Colts head coaching reins began long before Monday morning – if Reich’s team (and his attack) had to keep fighting.
For what it’s worth too, I believe a change of head coach was ultimately necessary – although perhaps not necessarily mid-season (as on-field product projects have to be roughly the same with lousy results and more losses accumulate). It’s surprising that Irsay ended a first-time head coach overseeing the Colts franchise in his 25-year run. (And that’s probably talking about how he feels about Jeff Saturday and finally landing him as a coach).
Simply put, Reich is an attack-minded coach, whose offense has been abysmal this season. It didn’t matter who was the offensive coordinator or not, whether it was Reich or the earlier-sacked Marcus Brady. (And to be fair, no one will be very successful if the offensive line continues to play collectively at such a mediocre level).
Not only had Reich arguably lost the locker room, as the team was unresponsive to him and his underperforming players weren’t held accountable, his team has consistently gotten off to bad starts this season, indicating a lack of preparation and game planning.
That being said, looking at Reich’s overall work, especially in his previous four seasons as head coach, he deserved better than what he ultimately received from the Colts franchise at the end of his coaching tenure.
Their actions here spoke much louder than their words.
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