The Colts are in an awkward situation, to say the least. Their head coach crawled back to his former employer in New England only hours before his introductory press conference, leaving the organization high and dry. Don’t fret Indy fans, it looks like they dodged a bullet with Josh McDaniels since any man with a shred of dignity would never pull a stunt like this, and you don’t want a man that like that leading your young franchise.
What’s next? Colts GM Chris Ballard seems as calm as collected as ever, speaking about getting a head coach who wants to be here and is all in on building something special here. Who could that be? As of late Wednesday night, the Colts have requested to interview former Saints assistant head coach Dan Campbell and Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich. Here we will look a bit more into the later, Super Bowl Champion and former Colt Frank Reich.
Frank Reich is a football lifer, as his he spent his entire career in football and was the son of Frank senior, a linebacker at Penn State and draftee of the Eagles (although he would never play).
Reich played collegiate football at Maryland where he served as a backup to Boomer Esiason until his senior year, where he ended up losing his starting job to Stan Gelbaugh after separating his shoulder earlier in the season. However, Reich would show his football chops, coming in relief of a 31-0 deficit in the third quarter against powerhouse Miami. Reich would lead an improbable comeback, winning the game 42-40, the largest comeback in NCAA history at the time.
His NFL career began that spring when Hall of Famer Bill Polian, GM of the Bills, drafted Reich in the third round of the 1985 draft. Once again, Reich found himself behind another star, Jim Kelly, but once again Reich would prove his worth. Kelly would damage his ligaments in the last game of the 1992 season, leaving Reich to face the Tennessee Titans in the wild-card game, stop me if you heard this one before. Down 35-3 early in the third quarter, Reich would orchestrate another record-breaking comeback, outscoring the Titans 38-3 in the second half to shock the world once again. Reich would lead the team to a Super Bowl berth against the Dallas Cowboys, and once again fill in for an injured Kelly late in the game, but could not pull out the win for the Bills. After another impressive 1993 season, Reich was selected by the Panthers in the expansion draft, throwing the franchises first touchdown pass. After Kerry Collins took over the starting job, Reich would bounce around the league, retiring in 1998. Polian called Reich the greatest backup in the history of the NFL.
For the next ten years, Reich pursued another passion of his, his faith, obtaining his masters in Divinity in the early 2000s, and serving as the president of RTS’ Charlotte campus from 2003-2006 and a pastor at Ballantyne Presbyterian until he returned the game he loved.
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In 2008, Bill Polian once again called on the services of an old friend, this time as an offensive assistant in Indianapolis under Tony Dungy. In 2009, Jim Caldwell took over as head coach and promoted Reich to quarterbacks coach to coach some guy named Peyton, and switched to wide receiver coach in 2011. After Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano cleared house after the abysmal 2011 season, Reich went to Arizona as Ken Whisenhunt’s quarterback coach, where served for one season, moving on to San Diego in the same role. After a year, Reich was promoted to offensive coordinator until 2016, when once again he was fired but was quickly scooped up by Doug Pederson in Philadelphia as their offensive coordinator.
This stint is where Reich’s coaching career starts to take off. Reich was instrumental in the development of MVP candidate Carson Wentz, who was viewed as a project coming out of FBS powerhouse South Dakota State. When Wentz tore his ACL and LCL late in 2017, Reich, the career backup, helped build a plan for backup Nick Foles to succeed. If you followed the postseason, you saw how great Foles was, culminating in a 41 point bludgeoning of the Patriots defense, winning Super Bowl MVP.
What makes Reich a good fit for Indy? First, he played a role in developing and working with great quarterbacks, Peyton Manning won MVP in Reich’s first year as QB coach. If you think that was more Peyton than Reich, once again look at his work in Philly, where Reich was able to help make both quarterbacks incredibly successful in a short period. He is a down to earth man who spent years as a motivational speaker, but don’t mistake him for a cheerleader-like-coach, he is another forward-thinking offensive guru that is coveted in today’s NFL. The Colts are looking for a younger offensive mind to coach their star quarterback, Andrew Luck, and Reich fits the bill there. Reich has worked with Jim Schwartz, who runs a similar scheme to new Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, hopefully increasing Reich’s likelihood of accepting a coordinator he didn’t choose.
There are reports Ballard is pushing for former Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell to take the same post with the Colts, either would be fine as it will be Reich’s offensive and play calling in Indy. Reich may be a first-time play caller, but so was his head coach Doug Pederson, as was Rams coach Sean McVay, which should put to rest a lot of the worries some may have with Reich’s ability to run an offense.
In the end, Reich could be the perfect blend of motivator and football acumen that could turn around a franchise, and with his familiarity to the organization in Indy, he may be more likely to agree to jump on board.
It remains to be seen who will end up interviewing for the Colts head coach position, and some worry that most of the good hires are gone, but there is plenty of talent left for the Colts to bring in. Chris Ballard is as calm, collected, intelligent, and calculated as they come, so it is very likely he will bring in someone who can turn this franchise around.
Article by Maxx Hotton
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