According to ESPN’s Dan Graziano (subscription), Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard will make the final decision on the franchise’s next head coach:
“Interim coach Jeff Saturday still hasn’t been eliminated, per sources, though team owner Jim Irsay (who’s believed to be Saturday’s biggest backer in the building) has let it be known that GM Chris Ballard is the one making the final decision on a head coach,” writes Graziano.
To date, Ballard has led the Colts ongoing head coaching search, which has included a lengthy list of candidates who were initially interviewed virtually that was further narrowed down to second round, in-person interviews—which team owner Jim Irsay participated in.
Other members of the Colts front office and ownership such as Carlie Irsay-Gordon, director of team development Brian Decker, and assistant general manager Ed Dodds have also reportedly participated in these interviews as well.
While the process has been very prolonged—and is arguably unprecedented in the league, the Colts are clearly doing their due diligence and wanting to get this hire right.
Among the top finalists appear to be the Philadelphia Eagles Shane Steichen, the Kansas City Chiefs Eric Bienemy, and the Los Angeles Rams Raheem Morris, but dark horse candidates such as Aaron Glenn and Rich Bisaccia haven’t reportedly been eliminated yet—and interim head coach Jeff Saturday continues to remain in the mix.
Even though Irsay clearly put his fingers on things by shockingly firing former head coach Frank Reich and replacing him with Jeff Saturday in the interim near midseason, it appears that he’s taking a back seat on this one.
He’s letting the man who has so far led the search, Ballard, ultimately make the pick—although not without assuredly his input and collectively among the organization’s top leadership.