NFL Coordinator Surprisingly Interviews for Colts Head Coach Opening: Report

Jim Irsay

Getty The Indianapolis Colts and owner Jim Irsay surprisingly interview a coordinator for their head coach opening on January 11.

The Indianapolis Colts weren’t interested in promoting special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone to interim head coach after the team fired Frank Reich on November 7. But now this offseason, they are apparently interested in Ventrone as a candidate for the role.

NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported on January 11 that the Colts plan to interview Ventrone for the franchise’s head coach opening.

A Pittsburgh native, Ventrone has served as Indianapolis’ special teams coordinator since Reich’s first season in 2018. During that five-year stretch, the Colts’ special teams units have been regarded as one of the best in the NFL.

Under his tutelage, four undrafted players on his special teams units have earned Pro Bowl selections.

The Athletic’s Zak Keefer tweeted on January 11 after seeing Pelissero’s report that “most” in the Colts organization “initially wanted” Ventrone, and not Jeff Saturday, to be interim head coach starting in November.

Colts’ Skipped Over Ventrone to Hire Saturday

Given the high regard Ventrone holds in NFL circles, it’s not surprising that the Colts would want to interview him. But it’s interesting he’s considered a candidate now when he wasn’t in November despite already being on the Indianapolis staff while Saturday wasn’t.

Colts owner Jim Irsay made it pretty clear in Saturday’s introductory press conference that the former ESPN analyst was the only option considered when replacing Reich during the season.

Regardless, Ventrone is a quality candidate for the position.

The Colts had to make a change at punter during the preseason after losing Rigoberto Sanchez to a season-ending injury. Yet, the Colts still finished seventh in fewest yards allowed per punt return in 2022.

Indianapolis also made a change at kicker following Week 1. But under Ventrone’s direction, Colts kickers still made more than 82% of their kicks this past season.

As a player, Ventrone spent eight years in the league as a special teams ace. He played his first two seasons for Bill Belichick and was part of the undefeated regular season New England Patriots in 2007.

He also spent four seasons with the Cleveland Browns and two with the San Francisco 49ers.

Ventrone’s Road to Potentially Becoming a NFL Head Coach

Baltimore Ravens‘ John Harbaugh is the best example of a special teams coordinator becoming a successful head coach. But despite Harbaugh’s success with the Ravens, special teams coordinators aren’t typically candidates for head coaching roles like offensive and defensive coordinators are.

Ventrone addressed that a few weeks ago, arguing that he should be viewed as having an advantage as a special teams coach.

“We’re involved with the entire roster. So, I would say me specifically, I feel like I’m in tune with both the offense, defense, because I coach the field goal and field goal block units, so I know all the personnel,” Ventrone told the media in December. “I know all the players pretty well. They are all in my meeting every week. I have pretty good relationships with all those players.

“So, I feel like relative to the offensive coordinator or the defensive coordinator, I actually have those guys in my meetings with installs and as the season goes along and training camp and all that.”

Ventrone also made it clear that it’s his goal to become an NFL head coach one day.

“I do aspire to be a head coach at some point, whenever the time is right, in the right situation, wherever that may be,” said Ventrone.

In November, Pelissero made a list of potential head coaching candidates for this offseason. It was a very long list, but Ventrone made the cut.

Even if it’s not for Indianapolis, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Ventrone land a head coaching opportunity somewhere in the near future.

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