“Quite a whirlwind. I still think it’s tough for me to catch my breath. I have enjoyed it thoroughly.” – Saturday on accepting the Colts’ interim head coach job
“My life was changed because of the Indianapolis Colts, and so to repay that in any way…that was the final decision-maker.” – Saturday
“That is my job — to create and cast vision, direction, and then hold the guys accountable…” – Saturday on his role
Coverage of Colts-Cowboys Begins with Football Night in America at 7 p.m. ET; Followed by 8:20 p.m. ET Kickoff on NBC, Peacock and Universo
STAMFORD, Conn. – Dec. 4, 2022 – In advance of tonight’s matchup against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football, Indianapolis Colts interim head coach Jeff Saturday spoke to Hall of Fame head coach Tony Dungy, who was the Colts’ head coach for seven seasons and won Super Bowl XLI, for Football Night in America, which begins at 7 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock.
Saturday, who played for Dungy in Indianapolis at center, discussed his whirlwind hiring in Indianapolis, the response to him taking the job, what he has learned so far, and more. Click here to watch the full interview, portions of which will air in tonight’s FNIA. Following are highlights of the FULL interview:
On taking the Colts’ interim head coach job
“Quite a whirlwind. I still think it’s tough for me to catch my breath. I have enjoyed it thoroughly, it’s been a ton of fun, but again, just unexpected, and so trying to catch up and figure it out on the fly. It’s had challenges, some of them I have thoroughly enjoyed and some of them have been a little different than I expected.”
On discussing the job offer with his wife, Karen, and ultimately accepting it
“She said, ‘Are you crazy? (laughs) Are you sure, are you crazy?’ … I think this is what it ultimately boiled down to (for) me was I just care about this organization. I don’t think people can grasp how much you care about something that you’ve been in. You know, my adulthood was forged here in this building…It was our family away from our family for so long and so knowing everybody and just the conviction I felt that if I can go help in any way, that’s what I felt strongly about. I told the guys when I got here, it’s because I care…My life was changed because of the Indianapolis Colts, and so to repay that in any way…that was the final decision-maker.”
On what he thought he could bring to the team
“Accountability. Because I was consulting with them…I kind of knew what was going on. And I just knew my personality, from an energy perspective, from an accountability perspective. Probably my greatest concern was the coaches and how would they respond to this? So, I felt pretty strongly I could get the players to buy in because I’ve lived that life and I know how important it is. What I didn’t know was the side that you (Dungy) lived on, from your (coaching) life.”
On what he told the coaches in his first meeting
“I hope you all understand, I’m here to empower you…I am in no way the smartest coach, I don’t pretend to know things I don’t know. I will ask you for help, I will ask you for your opinion and I have no problem if you look at me and go, ‘Hey, this is not right or I see this a different way.’ And I take this from you, that doesn’t mean I’m going to change my opinion (laughs), right? Because I learned that from you (Dungy), we had a lot of discussions where you would listen to me and you’d shake your head and go, ‘I understand, I respect your thoughts. I’m not going to do it that way.’”
On his leadership with the players and coaches
“I made sure that everybody felt comfortable that we’re in this together and that this is a team. I wholeheartedly believe that my job is to support them from a day-to-day perspective, from an organizational perspective, that is my job — to create and cast vision, direction, and then hold the guys accountable as much as I can to make sure they’re doing what the coaches are asking them to do.”
On evaluating players and his expectations for this team
“You and I both know, when you get competition going, enthusiasm and energy follow quickly. I’m not a guy who is all about scripted looks. I want to put people in the most uncomfortable positions they can be in. Whether it was you or Jim Caldwell, I’ve watched those processes work, and my conversation to all of them, to coaches and players, is this process matters. It’s not magical, it’s not going to happen tomorrow, right? From an expectations perspective, I have very realistic expectations. There is a lot of work to be done, but the process matters…It’s simple, but it ain’t easy. That’s really the conviction that I have for what I’m doing.”
On his biggest surprise since taking the job
“Distractions. And when I say that, I say that as kindly as possible, but these things (laughs), right? It’s all of this, it’s all of the extra that you’re asked to do that take you out of meetings. And then probably the biggest thing that I’ve had to learn – and I was told this by (Colts GM Chris) Ballard, Mike Tannenbaum said this to me, a lot of guys, Bill Polian – they said the expectations that you have from your players, being able to breathe that into your players because that’s not the norm. So, if you have expectations that these guys are going to do it this way, you have to teach them and train them because it’s not second nature.”
Football Night in America is hosted by Maria Taylor and features Hall of Fame head coach Tony Dungy, two-time Super Bowl champion Rodney Harrison, former NFL head coach Jason Garrett, former NFL quarterback Chris Simms, NFL Insider Mike Florio, and fantasy sports industry pioneer Matthew Berry. This week’s show is also co-hosted by Jac Collinsworth.
Football Night, the most-watched studio show in sports since its debut in 2006, begins every Sunday at 7 p.m. ET. The coordinating producer of FNIA is Matt Casey. FNIA is directed by Kaare Numme.
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