Frankly Speaking, Reich is the Right Guy
The best day of 2018, so far, was the day the Indianapolis Colts announced Frank Reich as the new head coach, though the day Josh McDaniels climbed back into the shadow of Bill Belichick gives it a run for it's money.
When Chuck Pagano was let go after a disappointing and underachieving tenure, Colts GM Chris Ballard went for the "big splash" with the pursuit and near signing of McDaniels only to wind up all wet, all the while Frank Reich quietly and efficiently went about his business in Philadelphia. His business, of course, was leading the world champion Eagle's offense to a win in Super Bowl LII.
While Ballard and Colts owner Jim Irsay played the waiting game for McDaniels after the Super Bowl, they didn't know they were also playing the fool. Now, just a week after the Super Bowl and being publicly humiliated by McDaniels, Ballard and Irsay look like geniuses for signing Reich.
Here's why they are.
Reich is a great fit for Andrew Luck. Make no mistake about it, football is a team game as the Colts new head coach said at his introductory press conference, but every team must have a leader worth following, and Luck needs to be that leader. With Reich's experience as an NFL quarterback, having led one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history (The Comeback), and having backed up some of the best quarterbacks of his era (he was the back-up to 1988 NFL MVP Boomer Esiason at the University of Maryland and was the back-up to NFL Hall of Famer Jim Kelly), he understands what it takes to be the winning face of a franchise. He also understands the pressures associated with the quarterback position. He has played in big games with the Buffalo Bills like the win against the then undefeated L.A. Rams in 1989, he has secured playoff victories like the 1992 Wild Card and Divisional games, starting and winning against the Houston Oilers and the Pittsburgh Steelers respectively, and he has played in the Super Bowl, finishing the second half of Super Bowl XXVII after Jim Kelly was injured. Oh yeah, and he's coached guys named Carson Wentz, Phillip Rivers, and some dude named Peyton Manning. Reich can do more than coach Luck, he can mentor him.
Reich is a great fit for the Colts organization. Having been a part of the Colts coaching staff before, he understands the Colts culture and, just as important, he is no stranger to the eccentricities of outspoken owner, Jim Irsay. Reich was there during the times of winning under Tony Dungy and enduring the difficulties of losing under Jim Caldwell. Through those experiences he knows what the Colts are all about through the good and the bad. It also shouldn't be overlooked that this is Chris Ballard's team to build. If Josh McDaniels had signed the contract, how long would it have taken for him to want control over personnel decisions? How long until he wanted to run the show on this own, trying to redeem himself after the mess he made as the head coach in Denver? With this being Reich's first head coaching role, he is more likely to not overreach and simply be a great coach instead of trying to prove to the world that he is better than Bill Belichick.
Reich is a great fit for the city of Indianapolis. This cannot be overstated. Former Colts coach Tony Dungy is revered in Indianapolis, as much for who he is and what he stood for. He is a Hall of Fame coach, but he is much more than that to the city and people of Indianapolis. While Chuck Pagano was not a good coach for the Colts, he was a good man for the city. His character was impeccable and his story was inspiring. Frank Reich is cut out of the same cloth. He is highly regarded by all who have worked along side of him, he is respected by those he has coached, and he has lived in and succeeded in the midwest. The man is a sought after motivational speaker with a Master's Degree in Divinity ... and he's pastored a church in his spare time! What else could scream "midwest leader" louder than that!
For all the reasons McDaniels is the wrong guy for the Colts, frankly, Reich is the right guy. On second thought, maybe the day McDaniels said "no" was the best day of 2018.