There have been lots of rumors out there regarding the list of candidates being considered as the next Head Coach of the Colts: Tressel, Carmichael, Zimmer, Childress. But a tweet from Jim Irsay late Sunday night made me think that ultimately the new head coach will be someone that hasn't been mentioned as a candidate for the Colts job. In fact he hasn't been mentioned for any of the open NFL head coaching vacancies. So why wouldn't anyone have heard about this candidate's interview? And is there anything we currently know that would help narrow down who this candidate might be?
The answer to the first question is obvious: the interview is being kept extremely quiet because the candidate is a college coach, and right now is the time when the most highly-rated high school players commit to a college program. The answer to the second question requires a look at the current Colts coaching staff. That's right, not everyone has been "relieved of their duties". Clyde Christensen still remains at this point as offensive coordinator. This fact suggests to me that the next head coach will be a defensive guru. Who had the best defense in college football this year? Nick Saban.
Nick Saban is obviously the best coach in college football right now. He has won 3 national titles at 2 schools -- 2 in the last 3 years. What more does he have to prove as a college coach? He has a great recruiting class coming in this year, so would be leaving Alabama on great terms for a shot at redemption in the NFL. He tried it once with the Dolphins, but Miami's problem then was the same as Miami's problem now: no quarterback. I think he would be willing to come back to the NFL knowing he would be set up with a franchise QB in Manning and/or Luck plus a few years leeway to build a winning team.
It only makes sense that Grigson's short list would include college coaches, considering he has spent the vast majority of his NFL career as a college scout. Surely he would have gained a great deal of admiration for a coach that won multiple championships during that time. I don't think Saban's tenure in Miami would deter Grigson and Irsay considering what Colts arch-rival Bill Belichick has done after a similarly unsuccessful start with Cleveland.
At this point it is clear that the Colts might be willing to consider Saban and he might be willing to consider the Colts. They might be willing to talk, but the question is, have they talked? After reviewing the flight activity of Jim Irsay's private plane, I would say yes, the two sides have talked. Someone was picked up in Alabama this morning, flown to Indianapolis for the day, and dropped off this afternoon in Georgia. Nick Saban does indeed live in Alabama and have a vacation home in Northern Georgia -- surprise, surprise.