The Indianapolis Colts coaching search in 2018 is somewhat unique. Teams typically go into the coaching search with the same amount of certainty as they enter free agency. There will be interviews, a large group will be reduced to a smaller group for second interviews, and there is a bit of uncertainty about how the process will turn out.
Don’t get me wrong, shortly after it was announced that the Colts had parted ways with Chuck Pagano, it felt just like it did on previous occasions. What makes this time different is that the wait for a formal announcement will be as long as it possibly could be under the circumstances. As some of Indy’s candidates started to sign with other teams and the playoffs continued to roll on, it became clear that the field was narrowing to coaches who were still playing football.
The very first candidate to interview for the position was Josh McDaniels. It can be argued that he was the biggest name on the circuit — similar to how Chris Ballard may have been the biggest potential general manager a year ago — and that he is the type of guy that it seemed plausible Ballard would target as his first coaching hire. The first interview? January 4, 2018. It won’t be until at least February 5 that McDaniels will be officially named as the head coach.
This has left Colts fans to have a pretty healthy discussion about whether they support the decision to hire the former Patriots offensive coordinator or think that it is a bad idea. There are numerous reasons for both sides to feel strongly about their opinions.
It is clear that his first experience in Denver did not go according to plan and that his personality played a huge role in the wheels falling off. It is also clear that he has been one of the most consistent offensive play-callers of the last decade and has done an amazing job of adjusting his offense for injuries to star players like Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, and numerous others to help lead the Patriots back to the Super Bowl almost annually.
One person whose opinion is highly respected in Indianapolis is Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy. He not only led the Colts to their first Super Bowl in Indianapolis, he also sat down with McDaniels following his rough first shot as a head coach to mentor him. Anthony Calhoun of WISH TV recently posted some of Dungy’s comments and if his impressions are accurate, it seems Indianapolis might be putting themselves in a great situation.
While the fans will have to continue waiting before anything can be official, things are speeding toward finality. The second interview Indianapolis requested this week likely set into motion formalizing the contract terms and even potentially giving the front office the opportunity to contact the coaches that McDaniels wants to fill out his staff so they can get into the building and allow him to hit the ground running when he is able to join the team in February.